Aleksandr Garsevanovich Chavchavadze

Chavchavadze, Aleksandr Garsevanovich

 

Born 1786 in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 6 (18), 1846, in Tbilisi. Georgian poet and public figure; prince.

The son of a prominent political figure, Chavchavadze studied at a private boarding school in St. Petersburg from 1795 to 1799. In 1809 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Corps of Pages. He fought in the foreign campaigns of 1813–14.

Beginning in 1814, Chavchavadze held important military and administrative posts in Georgia. His house was a meeting place for members of progressive society; A. S. Griboedov, a frequent visitor, married Chavchavadze’s daughter Nina. In 1832, Chavchavadze took part in a gentry conspiracy that aimed to separate Georgia from Russia and to promulgate a number of social reforms. Chavchavadze was exiled to Tambov and returned to Georgia in 1834. In 1841 he received the rank of lieutenant general, and beginning in 1845 he devoted himself to literary and civic activity.

Chavchavadze was the founder of Georgian romanticism. His choice of images and his poetic system, which is marked by lyric sensitivity, were influenced by the eastern poetic tradition. Tbilisi’s urban folklore also left a marked imprint on Chavchavadze’s poetry. Chavchavadze saw the portents of a forthcoming new era and responded with sensitivity to the people’s sufferings and despair. He contrasted the joyless present era with his native land’s splendid past and its bright future. Chavchavadze’s works largely determined the course taken by Georgian poetry, especially before the 1860’s.

Chavchavadze’s poetry has been translated into many foreign languages. He also translated Russian and Western European literary classics. The Chavchavadze House-Museum was founded in the village of Tsinandali in 1947.

WORKS

Chavchavaze, A. T‘xzulebani, i. grishashvilisgamoc‘. Tbilisi, 1940.
Lek‘smbi. Tbilisi, 1959.
In Russian translation:
Gruzinskie romantiki: A. Chavchavadze, N. Baratashvili, G. Orbeliani, V. Orbeliani. Leningrad, 1940.

REFERENCES

Baramidze, A., Sh. Radiani, and B. Zhgenti. Istoriia gruz. lit-ry. Tbilisi, 1958.
Kenchoshvili, A. Alek‘sandre Chavchavaze. Tbilisi, 1953.
Diasamize, E. Alek‘sandre Chavchavaze: Bibliograp‘ia, 1830–1947. Tbilisi, 1947.

G. N. ABZIANIDZE