Mait Metsanurk

19 Nov 1879
21 Aug 1957
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Mait Metsanurk (Born Eduard Hubel, November 19, 1879 – 21 August 1957), was an Estonian writer who led the neo-realist school of Estonian literature.

Mait Metsanurk was born as the youngest of eight children in a peasant family in Saare farmstead, Metsanuka, Tartu County. He attended elementary school in Orge and a Russian-speaking city school in Tartu.

He then worked in various position, first as an office clerk, then as a schoolteacher and from 1906 as a journalist.

He is buried at the Metsakalmistu cemetery in Tallinn.

Mait Metsanurk reached his literary breakthrough in 1908 with realistic portrayal of Estonian town and country living at the time. In particular, the social contradictions and tensions were used in his work.

Mait Metsanurk became one of the most prolific and popular writer and playwright of his era. Together with Anton Hansen Tammsaare (1878–1940), he is considered one of the most outstanding representatives of Estonian neo-realism of the interwar period.

His main work, the historical novel Ümera jõel (On the Ümera River) (1934), depicts the struggle of the pagan Estonians against the Danish and German conquest in the thirteenth century.

In addition, he worked as a literary critic and translator.

In 1924/25 and from 1930 to 1936 Mait Metsanurk was chairman of the Estonian Writers’ Union. With the Soviet occupation of Estonia Mait Metsanurk was sidelined politically and expelled from the Writers’ Union.

Mait Metsanurk was rehabilitated in 1956, after the death of Stalin.

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