Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

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Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald reads the manuscript of Kalevipoeg. Painting by Johann Köler
Statue of F.R. Kreutzwald in Kadriorg park, Tallinn

Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (26 December [O.S. 14 December] 1803 – 25 August [O.S. 13 August] 1882) was an Estonian writer who is considered to be the father of the national literature for the country.

Life[edit]

Friedrich's parents were serfs at the Jõepere estate, Virumaa (in present-day Kadrina Parish, Lääne-Viru County). His father worked as a granary keeper and his mother was a chambermaid. After liberation from serfdom in 1815, the family was able to send their son to school at the Rakvere district school. In 1820, he graduated from secondary school in Tallinn and worked as an elementary school teacher. In 1833, Kreutzwald graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the Imperial University of Tartu. He married Marie Elisabeth Saedler on August 18 the same year. From 1833 to 1877, he worked as the town physician in Võru. He was the member of numerous scientific societies in Europe and received honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

Writings[edit]

Kreutzwald is the author of several moralistic folk books, most of them translated into German: Plague of Wine 1840, The World and Some Things One Can Find in It 1848–49, Reynard the Fox 1850, and Wise Men of Gotham 1857. In addition to these works, he wrote the national epic Kalevipoeg (Kalev's Son) and many other works based on Estonian folklore, such as Old Estonian Fairy-Tales (1866), collections of verses, and the poem Lembitu (1885), published after his death.

Kreutzwald is considered to be the author of the first original Estonian book. He was one of the leaders of the national awakening, as well as a paragon and encourager of young Estonian-speaking intellectuals.