dots. Dr. Liina Lukas, Tartu Ülikool
Dr. Heinrich Bosse, Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Prof. Dr. Achim Aurnhammer, Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Having proceeded from a real-life story, binding literature with social reality and handed down by A. von Mellin, that appeared in an issue of A. W. Hupel's publication Neue Nordische Miscellaneen in 1798, I have followed two aims in my dissertation: first, by focusing on occasional poetry as a part of early modern age gift economy (Bourdieu, Droste) and on the first collections of poems, to chart down a primary and basic overview of the poetry of Northern Baltic women (of the provinces of Estland, Livland and Kurland) before the year 1800; second, on the basis of those poems to raise a few hypotheses about women's self-image and liberty of action in this region, by interpreting the poems and their being connected with female names as an indicator of women's "right of expression" or their opportunities of autonomy and self-determination. In other words, my aims were to find answers to three primal questions: what kind of journey was to be travelled historically, what factors were needed for the possibility of presenting oneself as a woman, with one's actual name and full confidence and publicity on the title page of a poetry collection? What does the abundance of female names under the occasional poems of the 1790s indicate and why is it not reflected in literary lexicons? And what, in this context, is to be thought about Mellin's heroine who stepped up as a man? The first part of the dissertation is concentrated on women's occasional poems. In the first chapter, I am observing their evolution from the beginnings till the 1770s, a period known as occasional exemplary texts. Chapter Two focuses on the developments of the 1780s and 1790s, the time when occasional poems signed by women evolved into a separate phenomenon. In the second part of the dissertation, I am studying women's poetry collections from the times before the year 1800. Which are the characteristic traits of each collection of poetry? How different or similar are those collections by poetic forms or topics? What kind of models did the authors proceed from? What are the connections of those collections with previous and contemporaneous occasional poetry of women? The results of different parts have been summed up in intermediate conclusions and in the final Conclusion, in which I am attempting to provide answers to the three primal questions. For the sake of a better overview, the dissertation has two appendices ( a list of women's occasional poems till the year 1800; and a survey of the female addressers of the occasional poems) and a thorough Résumé in Estonian.