Charents, Egishe Abgarovich
(pen name of Egishe Abgarovich Sogomonian). Born Mar. 13 (25), 1897, in Kars; died Nov. 29, 1937, in Yerevan. Soviet Armenian poet. Member of the CPSU from 1918.
Charents, the son of a shopkeeper, studied at the Kars Realschule. In 1915 he went to the front as a volunteer and served in the Red Army during the years 1918–19. Estrangement from reality is characteristic of his early works, such as the collection Three Songs of a Pale and Mournful Girl (1914), the narrative poems The Blue-eyed Homeland (1915) and The Dante Legend (1916), and the lyric cycle The Rainbow (1917).
Charents’ romantic narrative poems Soma (1918) and The Furious Multitudes (1919) were the first works of Armenian literature to deal with the October Revolution of 1917. The Furious Multitudes combines features of a new revolutionary epos with forms of folk poetry. Charents developed this style further in the extensive cycle Sacrificial Fire (1918–20). In the narrative poems To All, All, All (1921), The Omnipoem (1922), and Charentsnameh (1922) he revealed his mastery of the theme of revolutionary heroism, consummately integrating revolution and the fate of Armenia. The years 1915–18, a complex period in Armenia’s history, are described in the satirical novel Land of Nairi (published separately 1926). The main theme of Memories of the Yerevan Reformatory (1927) is the birth of Soviet humanism and the socialist concept of man.
Zealous party spirit and an intense creative quest are characteristic of Charents’ cycle of verse and narrative poems devoted to Lenin: Lenin (1924), Uncle Lenin (1924), Ballad of Vladimir ll’ich, a Peasant, and a Pair of Boots (1924), Lenin and Ali (1925), The Communard Wall in Paris (1926), Funeral March (1927), and Cast-iron Man (1928).
An important landmark in Charents’ work was the collection The Epic Dawn (1930), a model of lofty political poetry in which the influence of Pushkin and Nekrasov is particularly evident. Man and nature, art and reality, poetry and work—these are the most important themes of the collection Voyage Book (1933).
Of special importance are Charents’ translation of works by A. S. Pushkin, V. V. Mayakovsky, Goethe, E. Verhaeren, W. Whitman, and M. Gorky. Charents also translated the Internationale into Armenian. He wrote articles on O. Tumanian, A. Isaakian, V. Ter’ian, and M. Gorky and on modern poetry. Charents did much to cultivate Soviet Armenian literature and was one of the organizers of Noiember, a union of proletarian writers (1925). His works have been translated into many foreign languages.
In 1974 the Charents House Museum was opened in Yerevan.
WORKSCh’arents’, E. Erkeri zhoghovatsol, vols. 1–6. Yerevan, 1962–67.
Ěntir erker. Yerevan, 1973.
Hishoiholt’yolnner eghishe Ch’arents’i masin. Yerevan, 1961.
Aghababian, S. B. Eghishe Ch’arents’, vol. 1. Yerevan, 1973.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1956.
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Leningrad, 1973.
REFERENCESSalakhian, A. Egishe Charents. Moscow, 1958.
Grigorian, Ar. Poeziia Egishe Charentsa. Yerevan, 1961.
Istoriia armianskoi sovetskoi literatury. Moscow, 1966.
Arutiunov, L. Charents: Evoliutsiia tvorchestva. Yerevan, 1967.
S. B. AGABABIAN