WATERTOWN – Yervand Ter-Khachatryan, a prominent literary critic from Armenia, will be in the United States on a book tour sponsored by the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada. He will speak in New Jersey on August 4, Watertown on August 6, and Glendale on August 16, and will be hosted by local Tekeyan chapters. In addition, the Boston event is cosponsored by St. James Armenian Church. His talks will be on the memoirs of painter and political activist Panos Terlemezian of Van, which he has edited and annotated.
Terlemezian’s newly published memoirs constitute a treasure-trove for Armenians. They were only recently discovered in manuscript form in the archives of the State Art Museum of Armenia. Terlemezian was a prominent painter after whom the Terlemezian School of the Arts in Yerevan has been named. He was a multitalented historical figure who is also known as a freedom fighter and one of the leaders of the battles Van waged for self-defense in 1915. He was one of the founders of the Armenagan party. Van Armenians were among the few groups to survive the Armenian Genocide, thanks to their successful battles for self-defense, after which they withdrew into the territory of the present Republic of Armenia. Terlemezian was among these refugees.
At a mature age, Terlemezian developed his artistic talents, studying in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris, and attained undisputed fame. The discovery of Terlemezian’s memoirs proves that he was an equally talented prose writer. He depicts his early life in Van, its historic insurrection and his subsequent life as a refugee in Armenia.
In addition to bringing to life Terlemezian’s book manuscript, Ter-Khachatryan has conducted pioneering work in discovering, reevaluating and publishing the masterpieces of Western Armenian literature, which are not very well known in the Republic of Armenia. There are few literary scholars knowledgeable in this field, and he is breathing new life into it, despite having scanty resources.
Yervand Ter-Khachatryan (Yuri Khachatryan) was born on April 25, 1949 in the village of Karakhach in the Vedi district of Armenia (today Ararat Province). In 1971, he graduated the philological division of Yerevan State University, and finished his graduate work two years later on contemporary Armenian literature, with a thesis on the lyric poetry of Paroyr Sevak.
He worked at the Martiros Saryan Museum as a scholar from 1972 to 1979, and then as assistant research director at the State Art Museum of Armenia from 1979 to 1982. From 1979 to 2000, he taught the history of Russian literature at Yerevan State University.
He studied in detail the literary corpus of authors such as Paroyr Sevak, Kostan Zarian, Hrant Nazariants, Indra (Diran Chrakian), Karbis Surenian, Albert Kostanian and Abraham Alikian, and assembled, edited and published ten books and anthologies of their works. He has published many articles and studies in the press dedicated to Armenian literature, and various issues of art and culture. He has edited books of art criticism and albums.
The major portion of Ter-Khachatryan’s literary and philological work is dedicated to Western Armenian and diasporan Armenian literature.
He has assembled and published the only complete collection of the works of the famous Western Armenian poet and translator Hrant Nazariants (1884-1962) under the title Asteghahev menutiun [Starry-Breathed Solitude] (Yerevan, 2008) with a forward and one hundred pages of extensive annotations.
After Indra’s death, only two collections of his works have been published. The first was in 1974 in Beirut, and the second in Yerevan in 1980. There is no archive on Indra, and his writings are scattered in various Western Armenian and diasporan Armenian periodicals and publications. Ter-Khachatryan has put together two volumes of his works, called Hovin dzayne [The Sound of the Wind], with a long preface and scholarly footnotes. A third volume has been ready but could not yet be published for lack of a sponsor.
From 1999 to 2016, Ter-Khachatryan published eight volumes of Kostan Zarian’s works, together with copious introductions and notes, and Karik Pasmachian’s anthology, called Avartakhagh [Endgame], in 2005. He published two annotated volumes of Abraham Alikian’s poetry and translations called Hez irikun [Mild Evening] and Handipakats aper [Facing Shores] in 2008 and 2009 respectively, with long forwards. He prepared and published the collection Gevorg Gantaharian: Amenun usutsiche [Gevorg Gantaharian: Everyone’s Teacher] in 2011 in Yerevan, Zhirayr Tanielian’s Panasirutean pavighnerun mech [In the Labyrinths of Poetry] in 2011 in Beirut, and Bebo Simonian’s Kraganutean jampun vra [On the Path of Literature] in 2016 in Beirut, all, as always, with long introductions and annotations.
At the same time that he was teaching, he edited the literary and cultural monthly Varuzhan from 1992 to 1994, worked as part of the editorial staff of Nork monthly from 1996 to 1998, and served as chief editor of Grakan tert from 1998 to 1999.
At present, Ter-Khachatryan works as the lecturer of the Chair of Diasporan [Armenian] Literature at Yerevan State University. He is a member of the Writers Union of Armenia, the Journalists Union of Armenia, and the International Federation of Journalists.
Ter-Khachatryan will speak in New Jersey on August 4 at 8 pm at the TCA Center at 560 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Original paintings will be displayed at the Center. RSVP Helen Misk at 347-368-6993.
The lecture in Boston will take place on August 6 at 12:30 pm after the Divine Liturgy at St. James Armenian Church in Watertown. For more information, email [email protected] or call 617 924-4455.
The lecture in Glendale, California, hosted by the Los Angeles TCA chapter, will take place at 7:30 pm at St. Gregory Armenian Catholic Church, Kouyoumjian Hall (1510 E. Mountain Street, Glendale), and will include as additional speakers Lilit Keheyan and Edmond Y. Azadian.