The summary of the NAWA Ulam fellowship of Prof. Kristi Viiding

February 4, 2022

The last Monday of the previous month, January 31, 2022, marked the end of the Ulam NAWA scholarship of Prof. Kristi Viiding.

Prof. Kristi Viiding is a senior researcher at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences whose project had been chosen for realization under the NAWA Ulam programme in the call of 2020.

In the period of June 1, 2021 and January 31, 2022, Prof. Viiding has been working on the topic of ‘Transcultural Knowledge Production in Renaissance Europe (c. 1470-c.1620): competition and cooperation between Poland and Livonia’ using the main representative of Livonian humanism, influential lawyer, Neo-Latin poet and politician, David Hilchen (1561-1610), as the case study. The main focus concerned the literary legacy, especially of the second period in Hilchen’s life, i.e. his exile in Poland (Zamość and Międzyrzecz). His letters from the years 1603-1610 had been studied by Prof. Viiding before, but their annotations and commentaries had not been profoundly examined until now, using the relevant materials in Polish archives and libraries (Warsaw, Toruń, Kraków, Gdańsk).

Besides the successful exploration of the correspondence of Hilchen, the research conducted by Prof. Viiding enabled the discovery of a generation of exiled Livonians, who after the loss of Old Livonia’s independence in 1561 stayed in Poland, including Prussia, or moved via Poland to Habsburg Empire. These findings inspire further studies which we hope will be realized in the future.

A huge advantage of the fellowship of Prof. Viiding for the HRK Centre and our project was her practical knowledge about the relevant source materials, databases, inventories and catalogues in the archives and libraries of the Baltic States, her historical, linguistic, literary and art historical background about the Renaissance period in the historical Livonia and Lithuania, which she shared with us during her seminars, her active participation in workshops (October 2021 and December 2021), and the didactic classes she conducted for PhD students.

The above description of the stay of Prof. Viiding testifies that it was indeed a very beneficial period, both for us and for her. We wish Kristi many successes, from inspirational study missions, through great findings, up to excellent publications, and hope for another future collaboration.