WATERTOWN, Mass.—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. The tour will focus on the memoirs of painter and political activist Panos Terlemezian of Van, edited and annotated by Ter-Khachatryan.
He will speak in New Jersey on Aug. 4, Watertown on Aug. 6, and Glendale, Calif., on Aug. 16, hosted by local Tekeyan chapters. The Watertown event is cosponsored by St. James Armenian Church.
Terlemezian’s newly published memoirs constitute a treasure-trove. 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 manuscript, Ter-Khachatryan has conducted pioneering work in discovering, re-evaluating, and publishing masterpieces of Western Armenian literature that are not very well known in the Republic of Armenia. There are few literary scholars knowledgeable in this field in which he is breathing new life, despite 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 Paruyr 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 Paruyr Sevak, Kostan Zarian, Hrant Nazariants, Indra (Diran Chrakian), Garbis Surenian, Albert Kostanian, and Abraham Alikian, and he assembled, edited, and published 10 books and anthologies of their works. He has published many articles and studies in the press dedicated to Armenian literature and various issues related to 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 foreword and 100 pages of extensive annotations.
After Indra’s death, only two collections of his works were 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 is ready but has 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 forewords. He prepared and published the collection Kevork Kandaharian: Amenun usutsiche (Kevork Kandaharian: 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 lengthy 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 Aug. 4, at 8 p.m. at the TCA Center, 560 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Original paintings will be displayed at the Center. RSVP Helen Misk at 347-368-6993.
The lecture in Watertown will take place on Aug. 6 ,at 12:30 p.m., after the Divine Liturgy at St. James Armenian Church, in Watertown. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617 924-4455.
The lecture in Glendale, hosted by the Los Angeles TCA chapter, will take place at 7:30 p.m., 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.
All events include receptions, and admission is complimentary.