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Eduard Bornhöhe

Born 17 February 1862(1862-02-17)
Kullaaru, Rakvere Parish, Viru County, Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire
Died 17 November 1923 (aged 61)
Tallinn, Estonia
Nationality Estonian

Eduard Bornhöhe (pen name), born Eduard Brunberg (17 February 1862 [O.S. 5 February 1862] in Kullaaru, Rakvere Parish, Lääne-Viru County — 17 November 1923 in Tallinn), was an Estonian writer.

Bornhöhe is generally considered a pioneer of the genre of Estonian historical novel, as a lion's share of his creations consist of romanticism-influenced historical adventure stories.



A historical story, set during the time of St. George's Night Uprising. Widely considered the best story of Bornhöhe.
  • 1890 Villu võitlused (Estonian for Battles of Villu)
Another historical story set during the time of St. George's Night Uprising. More realistic and less naïve than Tasuja, with more sophisticated characters.
A satirical series of contemporary cranks.
This historical story, best known through the movie adaptation Viimne reliikvia (Estonian for The last relic), is set during a peasant uprising in the era of Livonian War. Due to Czarist censorship, this remained Bornhöhe's last historical story.
  • 1899 Usurändajate radadel (Estonian for On the trail of faith travellers)
A travel diary.
A realist short novelle.

Withdrawal from publication

In 1893, the Russian Empire's censor prohibited publication of historical stories. This led to eventual withdrawal of Bornhöhe from writing. Notably, he didn't publish any books within the last twenty years of his life.

Soviet views

Since Bornhöhe's preferred topic was Estonia's ancient fight for freedom rather than more complex or more polemical subjects, Soviets generally found his writings useful, and presented them as examples of pre-Soviet patriotism. Vürst Gabriel ehk Pirita kloostri viimased päevad was made into a movie, the first part of Tallinna narrid ja narrikesed was repeatedly published and adapted for TV under Soviet occupation, and Bornhöhe's historical novelles were constantly in lists of mandatory reading in Soviet Estonian schools.


  • Eduard Bornhöhe. Kirjanik ja inimene, a short monograph (1961) from the series of Eesti kirjamehi by Endel Nirk


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