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Hovhannes Hovhanessian

Hovhannes Hovhanessian

Biography

Hovhannes Hovhanessian (1864-1929) contributed to the Modern Armenian (Ashkharabar) literature movement. He continued the legacy of Abovian, Raffi and Nalbandian to create a language to help the masses to become literate as a means to enlighten them and bring the population out of the feudal system that was entrenched in Armenia in the early 19th century. He was born in Etchmiadzin and arose as part of the intellectual circles in the Russian Empire. He is best known as a linguist, translator and poet. He studied in Yerevan and at the Lazarian Institute in Moscow and Moscow University (1884-1888). He began his teaching career at Gevorkian Seminary and in later years, he worked in educational and cultural administration for the Soviet government.

He was a contemporary of Charents, Toumanian, Shirvanzade, Teghian and Komitas. Each of these men studied at the prestigious Gevorkian Seminary. Together with the Russian linguist and writer Valeri Brusov, he translated the first edition of ancient Armenian manuscripts into Modern Armenian. Hovhanessian also translated the first modern Armenian editions of works by Schiller, Pushkin, Goethe, Nekrasov, Ibsen and Hainze. His translation of Shakespeare is still held in the highest regard by literary critics today.

The Hovhannes Hovhanessian House Museum in Etchmiadzin was established by his daughter and can be visited Monday through Saturdays year round. The museum is in the courtyard behind the Abeghian Museum. Pictures and artifacts of his life are on display, including his study with his favorite fishing pole and a copy of Tergenov left exactly as he placed it on the day he died. Part of the intellectual circles that created the new socialist republic, Hovhanessian was among those suspected by Stalin as a counter-revolutionary, but he died before the purges of 1936/1937, which annihilated such luminaries such as Yessayan, Charents, Totovents, and Bakountz...

Ruth Bedevian

Acknowledgements:

Provided by: Ruth Bedevian

© by Ruth Bedevian. Published with the permission of the author. No copying or any sort of redistribution allowed without the prior written permission of the author.

See also:
Poems of Hovhannes Hovhannesian translated into English by Alice Stone Blackwell
Biography of Hovhannes Hovhannesian
in Armenian
Poems of Hovhannes Hovhannesian in Armenian
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