A Journey to Spain

Jaan Undusk

This is the second book by well-known Estonian writer, literature critic and translator Jaan Undusk published by Neputns; the first was a collection of essays, Boļševisms un kultūra (Bolshevism and Culture) published in 2016. Both books have been translated from Estonian by Maima Grīnberga.

In 1999, Jaan Undusk, together with a “group of pepople to whom spiritual interests were not strange” visited Spain, taking the route from Burgos to Salamanca and from there to Madrid and Toledo. Impressed by the journey, he later wrote five texts which resulted in the book “A Journey to Spain”, published in 2016. The author has said about it:

How to portray Spain? To the left are the anarchists of the Basque Country, the Catalan surrealists on the right, the Andalusian seducers down, and all the saints – Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Don Quixote – aspire to their ideals in the centre, Castile. The author of the book once went to Spain as an ordinary tourist, but came back from there with the awareness that there are spheres of life where you can come to the moment when only musk and violence are of importance.



Translator Maima Grīnberga writes about the author:

He has named himself the reason why I love, adore and admire his texts. It is “sensual terrorism” that flows from all his texts: scientific research, essays, and fiction. Explosiveness of words, sentences, thoughts, style, paradoxes, comparisons, conclusions, etc. The possibility to translate (and of course read) his texts is an opportunity to enter into dialogue with genius. His “inner Spain”, which this text is about, gives the reader an impulse to discover and try to understand “external” Castile, Catalonia, the Basque Country, etc. far more effectively than any correct tourist guide can offer.”

In 2016, Jaan Undusk’s “A Journey to Spain” was awarded the title of the best travel book of the year in Estonia among more than 20 nominated books.



Estonian writer, translator and literary theorist Jaan Undusk (b. 1958) is an author whose works should be translated into as many languages as possible. Undusk graduated from the University of Tartu, having studied the Estonian language and literature, and is since 1986 is Doctor of Philosophy (his dissertation was about Friedebert Tuglas). He is the director of the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. In 2007 Jaan Undusk was elected a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. He has published literary research in several languages; his sphere of interest covers Baltic-German literary culture, Estonian literature, philosophy of history and language.


A Journey to Spain

In Latvian
Translator from Estonian: Maima Grīnberga
Consultant: Dace Meiere
Language editor and proof-reader: Arturs Hansons
Design: Anna Aizsilniece

160 pp., paperback, ISBN 978-9934-565-62-5

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