Vazha Pshavela

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vazha Pshavela


(pseudonym of Luka Pavlovich Razikashvili). Born July 14 (26), 1861, in the village of Chargali, Dushetskii District; died June 27 (July 10), 1915, in Tbilisi. Georgian writer.

Vazha Pshavela was born into the family of a priest. He studied at the Telavi church school and the Gori teachers’ seminary, where be became acquainted with Georgian Narodniks (populists). After graduating from the seminary in 1882, he became a village schoolteacher; he defended the peasants from oppression. He enrolled in the department of law at St. Petersburg University as an auditor in 1883, but he returned home in 1884 because of material need. He tilled the land, kept a herd, and hunted. He began to write in the mid-1880’s.

In his works Vazha Pshavela depicted the way of life and psychology of the contemporary Pshavy. He was the author of 36 narrative poems, about 400 other poems, plays, stories, and ethnological, publicistic, and critical articles. He gave virtually precise ethnological descriptions of the lives of mountaineers; at the same time, he recreated a whole world of mythological concepts. The poet looked to the heroic past of his people and summoned them to the struggle against their external and internal enemies (the poem The Wounded Snow Leopard, 1890; Letter of a Pshav Soldier to His Mother, 1915, and others).

In his best epic works Pshavela raised the problems of the interrelations of man and society and man and nature and resolved the problems of love and duty to the people. The narrative poems Aluda Ketelauri (1888; Russian translation, 1939) and The Guest and the Host (1893; Russian translation, 1935) depict the conflict between the individual and the temi (the peasant commune): the heroes oppose certain obsolete laws of the peasant commune. These people of strong spirit and their sense of their own worth and thirst for freedom are dear to the poet. He touches upon these themes in the play The Outcast (1894). Vazha Pshavela idealized the old customs of the Pshavy, their purity, and their freedom from the taint of “false civilization.” In the narrative poem Snake Eater (1901; Russian translation, 1934) the sage Min-diia dies because he cannot reconcile his ideals with the demands of his family and society. The narrative poem Bakhtrioni (1892; Russian translation, 1943) tells of the participation of the Georgian tribes in the uprising against the Iranian conquerors in Kakheti (Eastern Georgia) in 1659.

As a poet who sang of the natural setting of his native land, Vazha Pshavela has no equal in Georgian poetry. His landscape is full of movement and internal conflicts. His language is saturated with the richness of folk speech; at the same time, it is an irreproachably precise literary language. Vazha Pshavela’s popularity grew during the Soviet period. Through superb Russian translations (by N. Zabolotskii, V. Derzhavin, B. Pasternak, S. Spas skii, and others) his works became the property of all the peoples of the USSR. His poems and stories have been translated into many foreign languages. By a resolution of the World Peace Council, the 100th anniversary of Vazha Pshavela’s birth was observed by all progressive people (1961).


Thhsulebani, vols. 1-7. Tbilisi, 1930-1956.
Rtcheuli natserebi. Tbilisi, 1936.
Shvlis nukkris naambobi. Tbilisi, 1950.
Rtcheuli erthttomeuli. Tbilisi, 1954.
Rtcheuli. Tbilisi, 1957.
Rtcheuli lekhsebi. Tbilisi, 1959.
Thhsulebatha sruli kkrebuli ath ttomad, vols. 1-10. Tbilisi, 1964.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. soch. Tbilisi, 1939.
Poemy. Moscow, 1947.
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1957.
Soch., vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1958.
Izbr. proizv., vols. 1-2. Tbilisi, 1961.


Lundberg, E., and E. Gogoberidze. Vazha Pshavela, 3rd ed. Tbilisi, 1959.
Gol’tsev, V. “Gruzinskie pisateli XIX v..” In V. Gol’tsev, Stat’i i ocherki. Moscow, 1958.
Baramidze, A., Sh. Radiani, and B. Zhgenti. Istoriia gruzinskoi literatury: Kratkii ocherk. Moscow, 1958.
Dzhibladze, G. Vazha Pshavela (1861-1915). Tbilisi, 1961.
Natadze, N. Vazha Pshavela. Tbilisi, 1966.
Nattroshvili, G. Litteratturuli ettiudebi. Tbilisi, 1947.
Khutheliaa, L. Vazha-Phshavela: Moasrovne da humanistti. Tbilisi, 1947.
Sandukkeli, M. Vazha-Phshavela. Tbilisi, 1953.
Tchikhovani, M. Vazha-Phshavela da halhuri ppoesia. Tbilisi, 1956.
Kkikknadze, Gr. Vazha-Phshavelas shemokhmedeba. Tbilisi, 1957.
Akkobashvili, V. Mogonebani vazhase. Tbilisi, 1965.
Botsvadze, I. Vazha-Phshavelas da misi kkrittikkosebi. Tbilisi, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Understanding of Cosmopolitanism in Georgian Literary Thinking: From Goethe to Vazha-Pshavela." Forum for World Literature Studies 7.4 (2015): 505-513.
Gogichadze TG and Gogichadze GK * * Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Tbilisi State Medical University, 33, Vazha-Pshavela Ave., Tbilisi, 01776, Georgia, USA
Corresponding author: Gogichadze GK, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Tbilisi State Medical University, 33, Vazha-Pshavela Ave., Tbilisi, 01776, Georgia, USA, Tel: +995 599 511 160; E-mail:
uniqueness of the Georgian alphabet, the depths of Vazha-Pshavela's poetry, the amazing harmony of the Chakrulo and rimanchuli [folk]
In the works of Georgian neo-Romantics such as Rapiel Eristavi, Aleksandre Qazbegi, and vazha-Pshavela, the fierce traditions of the mountain people were glorified.
The book contains thirty-one chapters grouped into five parts, corresponding to major periods in Georgian literature: the Classical Age (fifth-eleventh centuries); the Golden Age and its aftermath (twelfth-eighteenth centuries); the Romantic period (nineteenth century); Vazha-Pshavela and folk poetry (1880-1914); the twentieth century.
Of the individual writers treated by Rayfield, I was especially pleased with the appreciation of Galaktion Tabidze, accompanied, as was that of Vazha-Pshavela, by copious and finely-done translations.
But Rayfield gives greater weight to the native Georgian tradition, as may be seen in his analysis of the work of the late-nineteenth-century poet Vazha-Pshavela, who drew heavily upon folk verse and warmly championed it among his fellow writers.
Literary heritage of Georgian classic writer Vazha-Pshavela (1861-1915) with the problems raised in it and its objectives is a valuable Georgian reflection of a late European Realism, however, due to the tradition established on different stages of the development of Georgian literature this model of reflection is as well characterised by usual corrections and references: The new trends elaborated within the frames of Georgian late Realism merged not only with the tradition that took shape in the depth of European Realism of 19th century, but also the realistic context of Georgia, highlighting a very interesting spectrum of problems, such as:
If we approach from this angle some central texts in Vazha-Pshavela's oeuvre--Aluda Ketelauri, Host and Guest, Gogotur and Apshina, Snake-Eater--we will have to admit that despite different storylines, the untameable aspiration of humans locked up in an immense universe to find their mission, the unabated desire to struggle for personal dignity, and the undeserved pain from the fatal identification with "one's own space" connects and cements those texts with each other.
As Vazha-Pshavela would say, the main thing is that the deeds of such characters (people) are as useful for humankind (world) as they are useful and reasonable for their homeland (home).