SHIRVANZADE Alexander (Movsisyan Alexander) was born on April 7, 1858 in Shamakhi. Armenian novelist and playwright. His works are based on national and universal values , in 1930 he was awarded the title of People’s writer of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Shirvanzade was an honored cultural figure of Transcaucasia. He studied at Shamakhi  diocesan and Russian provincial schools and later moved to Baku to work in order to help his family. In 1883 he moved to Tiflis.

Shirvanzade worked for newspapers “Mshak” and “Ardzagank” in which his stories  “Fire in oil factory” (1883) ,  “From Secretary’s Notes” (1893),, novellas  “Fatman and Asad” (1888), “Fifteen years later” and the novels «Namus» (meaning “Honor”) (1885), “Arambin” (1888), “Blank Hopes” were published. In the article “To my critics” Shirvanzade gave the characteristic features of realism, criticized photographic method of visualization of reality and highlighted the importance of generalization and typification of phenomena. 

Most of the best works of Shirvanzade were created in the late XIX and early XX centuries during social-political events, such as: novel “Arsen Dimaksean” 1893, novellas “Tsavagar” (“The Evil Spirit”), 1894, “Melania” 1899, “The Artist” 1901, dramas “The Destroyed”, 1909, "Days of disaster", 1917. 

His novel “Chaos” was published in 1898 and is considered to be the most significant phenomenon in the Armenian critical realism from both artistic and ideological point of view. He depicted the modern city, establishment of free business relationships, decline of moral values, as well as created acute social and psychological conflict scenes.

In 1898 he was exiled to Odessa for two years. He wrote in literary language, rejected dialects and created his characters through psychological analysis.

In 1905 he left for Paris. Shirvanzade played a significant role in the history of Armenian drama and theatre. He created social-physiological dramas and comedies (“Duchess”, 1891, "Eugine", 1903, “For the Sake of Honor”, 1905, “Charlatan”, 1912, "Morgan Khnamy" ("Morgan's Father in Law"), 1930. In 1926 he returned to Armenia. He was also the author of numerous articles and memoirs (“In the Crucible of Life”, 1926-32). 

Films “Namus” (1925), “Evil Spirit” (1927), “For the Sake of Honor” (1956), “Chaos” (1972) were based on his novels. 

Shirvanzade died in Kislovodsk on August 8, 1935 and is buried in the Pantheon of the Komitas Park, in Yerevan.

A school in Yerevan and theatre in Kapan were named after Shirvanzade.


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