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(pen name of Hakob Meliq-Hakobian). Born 1835 in Phayajuk, Iran; died Apr. 24 (May 6), 1888, in Tbilisi. Armenian writer.

Raffi worked as a schoolteacher. His world view was influenced by Armenian enlightenment leaders of the 1850’s and 1860’s. In the 1870’s he was an enthusiastic follower of the Utopian social theories of Saint-Simon and E. Cabet, but he gradually overcame their influence.

Raffi began publishing in 1860. His early works, the novel Salbi (1867; published 1911) and the novella Harem (1869; published 1874), denounced national and social oppression from the viewpoint of enlightenment. In the first half of the 1870’s, his works sharply criticized the trading and moneylend-ing strata of Armenian society; examples are the novels Zahrowmar (1871; published 1895) and The Golden Cockerel (1879; Russian translation, 1959).

Raffi’s publicist writings and such novels of the late 1870’s and the 1880’s as Dzhalaleddin (1878; Russian translation, 1915), Khent (1880), and Sparks (vols. 1–2, 1883–87; Russian translation, 1949) revealed the horrors of national oppression and summoned the Armenian people to revolution and liberation. The ideas of the national liberation movement are also affirmed in the historical novels David-Bek (1881–82) and Samvel (1886). Raffi’s works have been translated into many languages.


Erkeri tsoghovatsu, vols. 1–10. Yerevan, 1962–64.
In Russian translation:
Garem i drugie rasskazy. Yerevan, 1966.


Shaumian, S. “O romane Raffi Iskry.” In his book Literaturnokriticheskie stat’i, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1955.
Yetrosian, E. Raffi: Kyank’ě ev steghtsagortsut’yuni. Yerevan, 1959.


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