This Week in Armenian History

BIRTH OF SUREN AGHABABIAN (JANUARY 22, 1922)

Suren Aghababian was one of the influential names in Soviet Armenian literary scholarship and criticism from the 1950s to the 1980s with scores of articles and books.

He was born in Gharakilise (now Vanadzor) on January 22, 1922. He graduated from the department of European languages and literature of the School of Philology of Yerevan State University in 1944. After completing his graduate studies at the Institute of Literature Manuk Abeghian of the Academy of Sciences in 1945-1948, in 1950 he defended his first doctoral dissertation on the subject “The Village in the Creation of Nayiri Zarian.” Simultaneously, he worked in 1945-1951 in the editorial offices of the newspaper “Avangard” as head of section, deputy editor, and editorial secretary, and headed the section of literary criticism in the monthly “Sovedakan Grakanutiun” (now “Nork”) in 1950-1951.

Aghababian headed the section of Soviet literature in the Manuk Abeghian Institute from 1954-1986. He defended his second doctoral dissertation, devoted to Axel Bakunts, one of the victims of the Stalinist purges of 1936-1938, in 1963. He earned the title of professor in 1969.

In the 1950s, Aghababian had started a prolific career in literary scholarship, publishing four monographs about writers Nayiri Zarian (1954), Stepan Zorian (1955), Axel Bakunts (1959), and Gurgen Mahari (1959). In the 1960s, he wrote fourteen chapters of the two-volume “History of Soviet Armenian Literature” (1961, 1967) and compiled and edited “History of Armenian Soviet Literature” in Russian (1966).

His scholarly articles and criticism have been collected in seven volumes published in 1963, 1965, 1974, 1979, 1982, and 1983-1984. He also published a collection of literary criticism in Russian (1980).

Aghababian published two more monographs dedicated to Axel Bakunts in 1963 and 1971, as well as a two-volume monograph about Yeghishe Charents (1973, 1977), which earned him the State Prize of Armenia in 1979. He also published monographs about Nairi Zarian, Stepan Zorian, and Axel Bakunts in Russian.

He wrote the textbook “Armenian Soviet Literature” for tenth grader, which had many editions between 1969 and 1986, and also the textbook “Armenian Literature” in Russian for university students, with literary scholars Vache Nalbandian and Sergei Sarinian as coauthors.

Suren Aghababian, who was decorated in 1972 and 1982, earned the title of Emeritus Worker of Science in 1974. He passed away on March 19, 1986, in Yerevan.

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