On 4 June at 15:15 Rebekka Lotman will defend her doctoral thesis "Estonian Sonnet".
Professor Jüri Talvet, University of Tartu
Doctor Satu Grünthal, Associate Professor of Finnish Literature at the University of Helsinki
The aim of this dissertation is to to analyse the Estonian sonnet from multiple perspectives. The first sonnets in the Estonian language were published at the end of 19th century, in 1881, and since then this traditional form of poetry has been the most popular fixed verse form in Estonian poetry. As Estonian poetry is relatively young and its language quite small, there is a great opportunity to study not only the highlights of this form of poetry but the intention of this thesis is to examine all the Estonian sonnets ever published, 4551 sonnets altogether. From the short history of the Estonian sonnet we can see that this poetic form starts to flourish every time poetry as a discourse is undergoing major changes, even if these changes are oriented towards the liberation from formal boundaries, rhyme and meter, which by definition constitute the sonnet – the new discourse also tries to establish itself in the most popular fixed verse form in Estonian poetry, the sonnet. The sonnet in Estonian poetry has constantly fought against automatism – it is essentially playful, always reinventing itself, and is characterized by a tendency towards self-reflection, or so-called autometapoetical function. The sonnet, as the most widely used canonical form in Estonian poetry, has become an important medium through which revolutions in poetical discourse are manifested.