A.H. Tammsaare (I Loved a German, Truth and Justice pentalogy) was born in 1878 into a poor farming family in a small Estonian village. Due in part perhaps to his family’s unusual intellectual curiosity, Tammsaare raised money for an education and studied law at the University of Tartu until he was hospitalised with tuberculosis in 1911. After a year in hospital he spent six years recovering on his brother’s farm. When Estonia became independent, he moved to Tallinn. His greatest influences were Russian realists such as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Gogol, but his work also shows the influence of Oscar Wilde, Knut Hamsun and André Gide.