Villem Grünthal-Ridala

Villem Grünthal-Ridala, born Grünthal-Wilhelm (30 May 1885 in Kuivastu, Muhu, Estonia - 16 January 1942 in Helsinki, Finland) was an Estonian poet, translator, linguist and folklorist.[1]

Villem Grünthal-Ridala
Villem Grünthal–Ridala.jpg
(1885-05-30)30 May 1885
Kuivastu, Muhu, Estonia
Died16 January 1942(1942-01-16) (aged 56)
Helsinki, Finland
Literary movementYoung Estonia


Villem Grünthal-Ridala was the son of an inn keeper on the island of Muhu. He first attended Hellamaa (Pühalepa) parish school, then Eisenschmidt private school, as well as the national high school of Kuressaare. Beginning in 1905, he studied Finnish Literature at the University of Helsinki. In 1911 he completed his doctorate.

From 1910 to 1919 Grünthal-Ridala was a professor at the University of Tartu in Estonia. From 1910 until 1914 he edited Estonian Literature magazine (Eesti Kirjandus), as well as Üliõpilaste leht from 1914 to 1916.

From 1923 until his death, Grünthal-Ridala was professor of Estonian Language and Literature at the University of Helsinki. In 1941 he received a doctorate in Baltic-Finnic languages.

Lyrical poetEdit

Villem Grünthal-Ridala had become renowned for his poems in the Estonian language. His epic Toomas ja Mai (1924), as well as a collection of ballads, Sinine kari (1930), served as a model for the Estonian poetry of the time. The poems are influenced by Impressionism, with the landscapes of his island homeland and life by the sea being the primary motifs. He belonged to the Estonian literary movement Young Estonia (Noor-Eesti), founded in 1905.

Selected PoemsEdit

  • "Villem Grünthali laulud" (1908)
  • "Kauged rannad" (1914)
  • "Ungru krahv ehk Näckmansgrund" (1915)
  • "Merineitsit" (1918)
  • "Saarnak" (1918)
  • "Toomas ja Mai" (1924)
  • "Tuules ja tormis" (1927)
  • "Sinine kari" (1930)
  • "Meretäht" (1935)
  • "Laulud ja kauged rannad" (1938)
  • "Väike luuleraamat" (1969)
  • "Valitud värsid" (1986)
  • "Püha Rist" (2005; ISBN 9949-13-275-4)


  1. ^ Toivo Miljan, Historical Dictionary of Estonia, Scarecrow Press 2004