A memorial plaque was opened to the famous Estonia writer Eduard Vilde in Narva to commemorate the place where he wrote his novel "Raudsed käed" (Iron Hands).
The plaque was installed on Malmi Street 6 where Vilde wrote the novel and edited the newspaper "Virmaline" in 1897–1898. The plaque was hung during a recent conference about the author's work held by the University of Tartu Narva College.
Vilde's novel "Raudsed käed", published in 1898, depicts the life of farmers who have moved from the country to the city and work in the Narva factory district.
The Estonian Online Writer's Dictionary says about "Raudsed käed": "This novel, critical of capitalism, is not one of Vilde's most influential works, but is worth attention as the first Estonian novel about workers."
Szilard Toth, lecturer at the University of Tartu Narva College, said: "Every Estonian child knows Vilde, but his novel "Raudsed käed", about Narva, more precisely Kreenholm [textile factory], has been forgotten on the one hand and imprisoned by the Soviets on the other. The work was given the title of the first working novel during the Soviet era and has been interpreted in a socialist way. The work was last published 61 years ago, in 1960, and although it has been covered in several works and even in some scientific articles, it is necessary to reinterpret the novel clearly and present it to those interested in literature. Modern Vilde experts' articles contain factual errors in the treatment of the novel as Estonian literary scholars do not know the city of Narva well enough."
Toth said the novel does not describe workers' difficult lives but is a novel about the decline of a single person.
Vilde was one of the founders of the Estonian novel and one of its most prominent representatives.
Editor: Helen Wright