Herbert Salu

Novels Herbert Salu

About Herbert Salu

Herbert Salu (Herbert Akatsius Salu, until 1936 Sallo, 15./2. XI 1911 – 1. X 1988) was a literary scholar and novelist.

He was born in Viru-Jaagupi parish in northeast Estonia, attending schools in Varudi, Pikaristi, Sämi and Kohala, as well as the Rakvere teachers’ seminary. He worked in several places as a teacher, studying in the faculty of philosophy of the University of Tartu, from 1935, with an interval, completing his master’s degree in 1943 (his dissertation was on “Folklore in the work of A.H. Tammsaare”). In 1944 he fled to Finland, and the next year went on to Sweden. From 1947 to 1952 he studied at Lund, and from 1962 to 1964 at the University of Turku (with a doctorate on “The historical novels of Eduard Vilde” in 1964). Herbert Salu was, among other positions, lecturer in Estonian at the University of Turku and reader in Estonian literature at the universities of Lund and Tampere. He died in Lund, and was buried at the Northern Cemetery there.

Salu published poetry in the early thirties, and articles about literary history from the late thirties. There are also five biographical novels with a historical and cultural background. The novel Õnneraha ('Lucky Money', 1953) deals with the influence of the Swedish era on Estonian education, concentrating on one pupil of the famous Forselius seminary, Ignati Jaak. The fictional diary of Käsu Hans, author of the lament for the town of Tartu, destroyed in the Great Northern War, Oh! Ma waene Tardo liin ('Ah Me! Poor Tartu Town!'), is presented in Surmatrummid ja pajupill ('Death-drums and Wwillow-whistle', 1954). Talvepaleest Lubjasaarele ('From the Winter Palace to Lubjasaare', 1966) focuses on the first professional Estonian artist, Johann Köler; incidents in the life of Reiner Brockmann, the author of the first known poem in Estonian, are portrayed on the novels Lasnamäe lamburid ('The Shepherds of Lasnamäe', 1978) and Siiditee serval ('Alongside the Silk Road', 1986). Sembardia (1996), which appeared posthumously, collects memories of Herbert Salu's youth and travelogues.

Studies of literature, largely of an essay-like nature, make up the collections Tuul üle mere ('Wind Over the Sea', 1965), Kauged rannad ja oma saar ('Distant Shores and the Native Island', 1970), Posthobusel Jõhvist Rooma ('By Post-horse from Jõhvi to Rome', 1974; H. Visnapuu Foundation prize 1975), Porkuni preili ('The Young Lady of Porkuni', 1978), Must lagi on meie toal ('Our Room has a Black Ceiling', 1980), Utoopia ja futuroloogia ('Utopia and Futurology', 1972), Kihutav troika ('The Speedy Troika', 1984). Earlier Estonian literature is surveyed in Eesti vanem kirjandus ('The Older Literature of Estonia', 1953). Social problems in the works of Eduard Vilde are discussed in Kuhu päikene ei paista (Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine', 1981). His brief monograph Albert Kivikas (1971) appeared in the ‘Our authors’ series.

A. K. (Translated by C. M.)


Books in Estonian

Õnneraha: romaan Rootsi ajast. Toronto: Orto, 1953, 270 lk.
Surmatrummid ja pajupill: ülestähendusi Tartust Issanda Aastal 1704. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1954, 302 lk. [2. trükk: 1993.]
Talvepaleest Lubjasaarele. Toronto: Orto, 1966, 287 lk. [2. trükk: 1995.]
Lasnamäe lamburid. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1978, 240 lk. [2. trükk: 2000.]
Siiditee serval. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1986, 203 lk. [2. trükk: 2000.]
Lasnamäe lamburid. Siiditee serval. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 2000, 405 lk.

Literary studies
Eesti vanem kirjandus. Stockholm: Tõrvik, 1953, 86 lk. [2. trükk: 1974.]
Tuul üle mere ja muid lühiuurimusi eesti kirjandusest. Stockholm: Vaba Eesti, 1965, 363 lk.
Kauged rannad ja oma saar: esseid eesti kirjandusest. Stockholm: Eesti Raamat, 1970, 375 lk.
Albert Kivikas: lühimonograafia. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1971, 63 lk.
Utoopia ja futuroloogia: lühiuurimusi kirjandusest. Lund, 1972, 128 lk.
Posthobusel Jõhvist Rooma: esseid kirjandusest. Lund, 1974, 280 lk.
Porkuni preili: esseid eesti kirjandusest. Stockholm, 1978, 201 lk.
Must lagi on meie toal: esseid kirjandusest. Lund, 1980, 256 lk.
Kuhu päike ei paista: ühiskondlikke probleeme Eduard Vilde loomingus. Stockholm: Välis-Eesti & EMP, 1981, 155 lk
Kihutav troika: esseid kirjandusest. Stockholm: Välis-Eesti & EMP, 1984, 204 lk.

Sembardia: noorpõlve- ja reisimeenutusi. Tartu: B. G. Forseliuse Selts, 1996, 136 lk.