Aino Kallas


Aino Julia Maria Kallas (née Krohn) (1878 – 1956) was a Finnish author. Her works include poems, short stories, novels and plays, and they have been translated into English, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, French, Swedish, German, Hungarian and Estonian.

In 1900 Kallas married folklore scholar, linguist and diplomat Dr Oskar Philip Kallas (1868-1946), and relocated to Tartu, Estonia.

The short story collection Lähtevien laivojen kaupunki (1913) was influenced by symbolism. It denotes a turning point in Kallas’ work and a shift from societal issues towards more common, mythical topics. This period of literary transition also reflects a period of personal transition within the author’s own life; the most notable is perhaps her love affair with poet Eino Leino.

In the 1920’s Oskar Kallas held the position of Ambassador of Estonia in London, which became the couple’s home for over a decade.

The Surmaava Eros -trilogy, which consists of Barbara von Tisenhusen (1923), Reigin pappi (1926) and Sudenmorsian (1928), is considered Aino Kallas’ best work. The ballad-style novels depict a passionate love impervious to conformity that brings with it happiness and fulfilment but ultimately leads to death.

The couple returned to Estonia from London in 1934. As Estonia lost its independence, the Kallas couple faced personal losses too. Aino Kallas published the works of poetry Kuoleman joutsen, Kuun silta and Polttoroviolla.

In her later years, Kallas wrote plays such as Mare ja hänen poikansa and Bathsheba Saarenmaalla, which Tauno Pylkkänen composed into operas. When the Nazis occupied Estonia, the Kallas couple fled to Sweden, where Oskar Kallas died in 1946. Aino Kallas moved permanently back to Finland in 1953 and spent her last years in Helsinki, where she died in 1956.



  • Lauluja ja ballaadeja, 1897
  • Kuloa ja kevättä, 1899
  • Kirsti, 1902
  • Ants Raudjalg, 1907
  • Lähtevien laivojen kaupunki, 1913
  • Seitsemän: Titanic-novelleja, 1914
  • Suljettu puutarha, 1915
  • Musta raita, 1919
  • Katinka Rabe, 1920
  • Barbara von Tisenhusen, 1923
  • Reigin pappi, 1926
  • Sudenmorsian, 1928
  • Novelleja, 1928
  • Pyhän joen kosto, 1930
  • Bathseba Saarenmaalla, 1932
  • Mare ja hänen poikansa, 1935
  • Talonpojan kunnia, 1936
  • Kuoleman joutsen, 1942
  • Kuun silta, 1943
  • Polttoroviolla, 1945
  • Seitsemän neitsyttä, 1948
  • Virvatulia, 1949
  • Rakkauden vangit, 1951


Published books