August Alle

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August Alle
Born (1890-08-31)31 August 1890
Viljandi, Estonia, Russian Empire
Died 8 July 1952(1952-07-08) (aged 61)
Tallinn, Estonian SSR, Soviet Union
Occupation Writer, poet
Years active 1915-1952

August Alle (31 August [O.S. 19 August] 1890 in Viljandi – 8 July 1952 in Tallinn) was an Estonian writer.[1]

Early life[edit]

August Alle was the son of a stonemason. He attended the parish school in Viljandi, then the evening school in Narva. In 1915, he enrolled as an external student in Oryol and began studying pharmacy, but he soon abandoned those studies. From 1915 to 1918 he studied medicine at the University of Saratov. From August 1922 Alle studied law at the University of Tartu. He postponed his final law exams until 1937. He subsequently practiced as a freelance lawyer.

Literary career[edit]

After studying medicine August Alle worked in Estonia as a journalist and lecturer, before he is completely devoted himself to writing. From 1919 he was one of the figures association with the Siuru movement. August Alle was also known as a columnist and literary critic. His literary breakthrough came with his 1921 poem collection Carmina Barbata. His writing was deliberately outrageous, ironic, sarcastic and satirical. He was a master of the epigram and sketches. His pen was sharp and feared in Estonia. He turned particularly against the emerging middle class of the inter-war period. In his works he drew on his experiences in the revolutionary Petrograd and Tartu in Estonia after the Estonian War of Independence. August Alle's poetry turned strongly against the fascist tendencies in Europe of that time.

August Alle's grave marker at Metsakalmistu cemetery in Tallinn

Soviet collaboration[edit]

After the Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940, Alle became the chairman of a Soviet Commission that drew up lists of books to be banned and removed from libraries. Among the books banned were works of Sigmund Freud, Rudolf Steiner, Artur Adson, Gustav Suits and Marie Under. In all, 1552 titles were banned. August Alle belonged to the Board of the Estonian Writers Association. In addition, he was editor at various literary journals. From 1946 until his death he was chief editor of the prestigious, though after 1944 Soviet controlled literary magazine Looming (Estonian for "creation").


  • Üksinduse saartele (1918)
  • Carmina Barbata (1921)
  • Laul kleidist helesinisest ja roosast seelikust (1925)
  • Ummiklained (1930)
  • Karmid rütmid (1934)
  • Lilla elevant (1923)
  • Epigrams (1944).


  1. ^ Endel Nirk, Arthur Robert Hone, Oleg Mutt, Estonian Literature: Historical Survey with Biobibliographical Appendix, Published by Perioodika, 1987, p215