During his long creative period Vilde wrote eleven novels all together. His historical trilogy (The Peasant War at Mahtra, When the Men of Anija Went to Tallinn, Prophet Maltsvet ) and The Milkman of Mäeküla stand definitely out among these eleven.
Vilde’s first play The Inscrutable Mystery (1912) deals with the problems of art and non-art, snobbery and thirst for fame. As earlier Vilde had always been pressed for time, this play was his first work he could make an initial a rough copy. In his next play The Hobgoblin (1913), Vilde continued being ironical about the unculturedness of the society and their thirst for fame. The dialogue of the play is witty and the characters exciting. The play was successfully staged at home and in Finland and made Vilde as popular again as he had been after his success with The Peasant War at Mahtra.
Vilde was a fertile author of short prose. He began his career as a short story writer and completed his creative life with short stories again in the early 1930s. The majority of his best short stories were written in exile in rather straitened circumstances (1906-1917). On the one hand, Vilde began writing short stories from the need “to make fast and short lines” as this put bread on his table but on the other hand, these were also the times of triumph for the short story and poetry in Western Europe. While living in Stuttgart, Vilde wrote ten short stories, all of which belong to his best ones, like, for example Adjustments of Foreman Kaarel, Like a Fish out of Water, Bread and others.
Best known works
To the Frozen Land, 1896
The Peasant War at Mahtra, 1902
When the Men of Anija Went to Tallinn, 1903
Prophet Maltsvet, 1905-1908
The Milkman of Mäeküla, 1916
Servants of the People, unfinished
The Inscrutable Mystery, 1912
The Hobgoblin, 1913
The Link, 1917
Foreman Kaarel, 1908
Like a Fish out of Water,
The Friend, 1912
The Casanova says farewell, 1932
Collected works I-XXXIII- 1921-1933