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A hero of the Enlightenment and a national myth in „Rakvere romaan” (A Rakvere novel) by Jaan Kross



The focus of the article is an analysis of the main character of „Rakvere romaan“ (A Rakvere novel) (1982) by Jaan Kross. Although literary scholars have not yet captured the structure and detail of Berend Falck’s inner world, a little has been achieved by critics upon the appearance of the book. J. Kross has has turned serious attention to the books read by this Enlightenment character. Although we get no direct access to Falck’s interpretation of his reading, its influence can be guessed from his way of thinking and acting. Berend Falck, who is fluent in German and French, mainly relies on the ideas of German Enlightenment. He reads, for example, C. M. Wieland’s educational novel „Geschichte des Agathon”, which was first published in 1768. On the other hand, Falck’s system of ethical values bears strong traces of Rousseau’s ideas, as he has read the pedagogical treatise „Émile, ou De l’éducation” (1762). As a counterbalance to Enlightenment rationalism the novel offers a polemic interpretation of the idea of suffering and self-sacrifice artistically represented by Feodor Dostoevski in his novels „Crime and Punishment” (1866) and „The Brothers Karamazov” (1878–1880).