Writing and the Pleasure of Creation

Essays

Loomise mõnu ja kiri

Writing and the Pleasure of Creation (Essays, Estonian)
Published by Kultuurileht, 2006, pp. 114

Poet and essayist Hasso Krull (1964) started his literary career at the end of the 1980s by being an introducer of and apologist for post-structuralism and an enlightener and a guide to different currents of modern thought. About ten years ago, he launched the term ‘the culture of disruption’ into the field of Estonian cultural criticism, which has now been adopted and often used by many critics. Recently, Krull has more and more often returned to simpler wording and folk tradition and has, in his own work, attempted, if not to restore, then at least to point out a primordial syncretistic and unified way of perceiving the world. An example of this venture is his poetic work titled Meeter ja Demeeter (Metre and Demeter) (2004) and classified as an epic, which was awarded the Baltic Assembly Prize for literature in 2005.

Writing and the Pleasure of Creation is an essay written in fluent and simple language about the cosmology of our ancestors; during a short period, two editions of the book have already been printed. The essay, containing 35 fragments, first proceeds from the Estonian runo song and the images of an ancient golden time typical of many nations, but with additional comparative examples from the East and the West, but it soon arrives at wider generalisations and universals. Krull discusses the substantiality which is common to the song and the world, cosmic rhythms and the temporality of creation songs, magical knots of labyrinths, and the patterns that decorate wooden beer tankards, but the key figure connecting all this is the trickster – a prankster who can be found in the pre-Christian oral history of different nations, the primordial principle and the creator and holder of chtonic mystery. Although Krull’s treatment is mainly based on oral tradition, which he, however, does not contrast to written culture, he wittily points out that tricksters and other primordial creatures have found their place in literature and feel at home in our modern world.

Hopefully, Krull’s dynamic essay will inspire the development of both modern traditional culture and its study more than a fully serious scientific research could do. The author distinguishes between three principally different trends in folkloristic research: first, an inward-directed discussion based on realistic explanations or primordial animism; second, an outward-directed ascertaining and study of the migration, loans and influences of the motif; and third, an in-depth analysis. His own essay can clearly be located in the third trend. Although containing all the dangers that stem from abstraction, this is the most poetical and philosophical and, unavoidably, also the most fragmented trend. It still most fully meets Krull’s objective, because he avoids the reconstruction of the unified world-view of ancient people, but indicates the continuity of the ancient unity in the cultural signs and mentality of the 21st century. The creed of the book could be summarised in the belief that to recognise our own mythical other we have to enter the friendly labyrinth of the oral history of our ancestors.

Krull’s discussion is both spectacular and charmingly unpretentious, emphasised by an elegant point: he identifies himself with a ‘creational error’, an orphan or a herd boy, who has thrown a stone (his essay) to disturb the work of the loom of creation.

First published in the Estonian Literary Magazine


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