Happy 140th Birthday, Mr. Toumanian
One of the most reveled Armenian writers, Hovhannes Toumanian was born on Feb. 19, 1869 in the Province of Lori in Armenia. His work centered on the lives of villagers and was in fact, quite tragic, however any reader will find that his work has universal appeal. Toumanian was involved in many activities including the Caucasian Society of Armenian Writers which he sponsored in 1912. He was also involved with a number of societies, including the Society for Help to Warm Victims, Society for Help to Orphans and Refugees and the Union of Eastern Peoples.
He is responsible for great works such as “Kaj Nazar” (Nazar the Brave) and “Kikosi Mahuh” (The Death of Kikos) and the critically acclaimed poem, “Akhtamar.”
Toumanian saw the supreme goal of art to be the bringing together of men, peoples and nations, wrote writer Levon Hakhverdian. “He considered Shakespeare to have succeeded best in this and wrote of him: “He brings all peoples closer together, both to the English nation and to one another. And herein, indeed, lies the magic power of poetry and art in general: safeguarding the fragrance and charm of each in uniting them all, and from the many create a harmonious whole.”
A sample of Toumanian’s contribution to the world of literature can be found below:
When Some Day – 1894
Sweet comrade, when you come some day
To gaze upon my tomb,
And scattered all around it see
Bright flowers in freshest bloom,
Think not that those are common flowers
Which at your feet are born,
Or that the Spring has brought them there
My new home to adorn.
They are my songs unsung, which used
Within my heart to hide;
They are the words of love I left
Unuttered when I died.
They are my ardent kisses, dear,
Sent from that world unknown,
The path to which before you lies
Blocked by the tomb alone!