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The lost home in Estonian literature

The article presents a hypothesis,with a considerable generalizing ambition, according to which Estonian literature tends to speak of home mainly as a missing or lost home. The author believes that there is a cleavage between the national ideological myth depicting Estonians as a people persistently staying at home for thousands of years and the home experience actually revealed in Estonian literature.

The first part of the article explains, based on the phenomenological method, the basic concepts used in the study. Homeness is defined as an experiential horizon with a spatial and an intersubjective aspect, versus homelessness as a consistent disturbance of that horizon. Based on Martin Heidegger, the poetic designation practised in literature is also interpreted as a special disturbance of the everyday homeness horizon.

The second part outlines a tentative 7-point typology of how a lost home is depicted in Estonian literature.  One of the points is exemplified by an interpretation of a wistful remembrance of home.

The last part presents four explanatory options for the homelessness dominating in Estonian literature, namely, a sociocentric explanation, a psychological explanation, one of external influences, and one of self-colonization.