The City in Literature. Studies of Encounters with Supilinn Linn kirjanduses. Kohtumine Supilinnaga

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Elle-Mari Talivee


Supilinn is approximately as old as Käsu Hans’s lament[1]. An exhausting anthology of Supilinn literature has yet to be compiled; however, the analysis presented in the article tries, with the help of a few examples, to indicate what this district may have been like in literature to date. In addition to Leida Kibuvits’s Soomustüdrukule (1932), the article also examines Olev Remsu’s memories Supilinna poisid (2012) and Mika Keränen’s children stories, Varastatud oranž jalgratas (2008) and Peidetud hõbedane aardekirst (2009). The analysis presented in the article is inspired by the points of view of the architectural theoretician Kevin Lynch. The following concepts are examined: boundary, street, square, landmark, space.

When examining the literary texts, their differences are as perceivable as the similarities. All have been written about Supilinn, but Mika Keränen’s books are purposefully written into the space, located in it, based thereon, in order to find their solutions in the given space. In the case of Olev Remsu, views of the district, from above, predominate, as do the in-depth, extremely detailed, observations of the hothouse in retrospect and reminiscently. Leida Kibuvits’s study of Supilinn is the most fleeting, and records only one reminiscent fragment, while also criticising it. The bases for all the texts (in Kibuvits’s case a section of text) is the same Supilinn, but the perspectives, means of depiction, and perhaps also the reasons differ. And, returning, for a moment, to Käsu Hans, when reading the stories by Kibuvits, Remsu, as well as Keränen, similarly to the creator of the lament, it is perceivable how important the existence of the town (district) that is being created, is for them: it is like a leaven, the heart of everything, actually, more perceivable from between the lines, than from the lines. The literary picture of Supilinn that emerges, based on the three descriptions covered in the article, is fragmentary but powerful.  

[1] a reference to an old traditional folk song

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