Abashidze Irakli

I. Abashidze 

Irakli Abashidze (b. November 23, 1909, Khoni — d. January 14, 1992, Tbilisi) was a Georgian poet, scholar and public figure. He was an academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences (1960), the founder and the editor-in-chief of the Georgian Encyclopedia in 1966–1992, the executive secretary of the Board of the Union of Georgian Writers in 1939–1944, first secretary in 1953–1966, chairman of the board in 1966–1967, secretary of the Union of Soviet Writers in 1968–1970; vice-President of the Georgian Academy of Sciences in 1970–1976; He was the chairman of the Commission for the Establishment of the Academic Text of the Knight in the Panther's Skin at the Georgian Academy of Sciences in 1963–1985; He became the first chairman of the Rustaveli Society of Georgia in 1988; He was the winner of the Shota Rustaveli State Prize in 1965, as well as of the State Prize of Georgia in 1988, winner of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1972, Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi in 1980, various state awards.

Abashidze received his primary education in Khoni, Western Georgia. He graduated from the Philological Faculty of Tbilisi State University in 1931. He was the editor of the magazines Chveni Taoba (1938–39), Mnatobi (1946–53). Abashidze's first poems, which were printed in Georgian magazines and newspapers in 1928–1929, immediately attracted attention with the power of his poetic voice. Abashdze's first collections were Several Poems (1932), New Poems (1938), Poems (1941), the poem Tsulukidze’s Death (1940). The recognized poems of the war period in 1941–1945: Captain Bukhaidze and In Memory of Leselidze were initially published in the front-line newspapers.

Abashidze organized a scientific expedition to Jerusalem in 1960 (along with A. Shanidze, and G. Tsereteli) and the team discovered a unique fresco of Shota Rustaveli in the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem. It was during this period that the poet reached the highest creative peak, which was visibly manifested in his philosophical lyrics. The cycle under the common title Approximation (1957–1959; 1969) heralded a creative renewal. The collection of poems In the Footsteps of Rustaveli combines several cycles: In the Burning India (1959), Palestine, Palestine! (1963), On the Roads of India (1972) and including several poems — Voice at the Fence of the Monastery of the Cross, Voice in the Olive Garden, Voice at Katamon, Voice at Golgotha — belong to the ranks of poetic masterpieces. The cycle Palestine, Palestine!, which brought universal recognition to the poet both in his homeland and abroad, is dedicated to Rustaveli and is represented by the poet's inner monologues and prayer chants. This voice — confession — uttered with a great emotional power while praying and thinking is saturated with patriotic and philosophical worldview, a deep sense of modernity and historicism.

On Abashidze's initiative, Shota Rustaveli’s 800th anniversary was held in 1966, which played an important role in creating a new wave of universal recognition of Georgian literature and Georgian culture as a whole.

Several lyric cycles of Irakli Abashidze: Nights of the Hunter, How Tbilisi Survived, Flourishing Guria, Hymn to Life on Earth, Monologue with Ghosts, Winds in the Rioni Valley, children's verses and Twenty Poems to Galaktion Tabidze. He translated the works by A. Pushkin, A. Mickiewicz, V. Mayakovsky, K. Chukovsky, A. Isahakyan and others. He is the author of books: Europe at First Glance, America at First Glance (1960), The Diary of Palestine (1961) and others. In his final days, Abashidze completed his memoir — Bells from the 1930s, which was published in 1992. Abashidze combined his highly productive creative work with great state and public activities.

Abashidze's poems have been translated into Russian by Boris Pasternak, A. Tarkovsky, Y. Yevtushenko, A. Mezhirov, M. Sinelnikov and others. They have also been translated into German by H. Budenzing. He is buried in the Didube Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures in Tbilisi.

Literary works: თხზულებანი ორ ტომად, თბ., 1975-77; ერთტომეული, თბ., 1981; თუ ხარ ნამდვილი. ასი ლექსი, თბ., 1984; რჩეული, თბ., 1989; სიტყვები, გზები, სახეები, თბ., 1971; ზარები ოცდაათიანი წლებიდან (მოგონებები). «მნათობი», 1992, Nº 1; Избранное, вступ. Статья Н. Тихонова, М., 1979; Избранное, предисл. В. Кожинова, М., 1989; О поэзии. Статьи, воспоминания, очерки, М., 1985.

Literature: გამსახურდია კ., პოეტი აკადემიკოსი ირაკლი აბაშიძე, რჩეული თხზულებანი, ტ. 7, თბ., 1965; გვერდწითელი გ., მოვხუცდეთ, მაგრამ მოვკვდეთ მგოსნებად, წგ.: შორეულნი და ახლობელნი, თბ., 1984; „ზარები 1930-იანი წლებიდან“, ჟურნ. „მნათობი“, 1992; ირაკლი აბაშიძე – 90, თბ., 1999; ნატროშვილი გ., სიტყვა ირაკლი აბაშიძეზე, თბ., 1969; ნუცუბიძე შ., პოეტური სპეკალია, წგ.: შოთა რუსთაველის სახ. პრემიის პირველი ლაურეატები, თბ., 1965.


G. Gverdtsiteli

Irakli Abashidze reads from the cycle In the Footsteps of RustaveliVoice at Katamon