Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

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. He is the author of Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg.

Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald
Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald.jpg
Born26 December [O.S. 14 December] 1803
Died25 August [O.S. 13 August] 1882 (aged 78)
Resting placeRaadi cemetery
MovementEstonian national awakening


Kreutzwald reading a manuscript of Kalevipoeg by Johann Köler (1864).
Kreuzwald Memorial in Võru by Amandus Adamson (1926).

Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald's parents were serfs[1] at the Jömper estate, Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire (in present-day Jõepere, Lääne-Viru County). His father Juhan worked as a shoemaker and granary keeper and his mother Anne was a chambermaid. After liberation from serfdom in 1815, the family was able to send their son to school at the Wesenberg (present-day Rakvere) district school.

In 1820, he graduated from secondary school in Dorpat (present-day Tartu, Tartu County, Estonia) and worked as an elementary school teacher. In 1833, Kreutzwald graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the Imperial University of Dorpat.

Kreutzwald married Marie Elisabeth Saedler on 18 August the same year. From 1833 to 1877, he worked as the municipal physician in Werro (present-day Võru).[2] He was the member of numerous scientific societies in Europe and received honorary doctorates from a number of universities.


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 composed the national epic Kalevipoeg (Kalev's Son),[3] using material initially gathered by his friend Friedrich Robert Faehlmann;[4] and wrote 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A. Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States (2011) p. 210
  2. ^ F-Reinhold Kreutzwald
  3. ^ J. D. Rateliff, The History of the Hobbit (2007) p. 181
  4. ^ T. Miljan ed., Historical Dictionary of Estonia (2004) p. 236

External linksEdit