14 May 2003, 02:26

Nalbandyan, Mikael

Armenian writer, philosopher, revolutionary democrat, utopian socialist.

Born November 2 (14), 1829, in the city of New Nakhichevan (now Rostov-on-Don area) in a family of a handicraftsman. In 1855-1858, studied at the Medicine Department of Moscow University. IN 1858-1860, cooperated with Moscow Armenian magazine Yusisapayl (Aurora Borealis).

In the years of revolutionary situation in Russia 1859-1861, Nalbandyan was one of the first of the Armenian writers to take the positions of revolutionary democracy under the influence of propaganda by Kolokol (Bell) and Sovremennik (Contemporary) magazines. In 1860-1862, took a journey of Turkey, India, and Western European countries. In Constantinople, created a secret revolutionary society Party of the Young around an Armenian magazine Megu (Bee). In London, became close with A.I. Gertsen, N.P. Ogarev, and M.A. Bakunin, as well as with N.A. Serno-Solovyevich and others, participated in discussing the project of an appeal article What the People Need (a program of the soon-to-be Land and Freedom organization). In a pamphlet Two Lines (1861), announced his political credo - to dedicate his life to the idea of people's liberation. In his main journalistic work Agriculture as the Right Way (1862), Nalbandyan criticized harshly the peasantry reform of 1861, even though did it from the positions of community socialism. He saw a peasant revolution as the only solution for post-reform Russia.

Upon return to Russia, was arrested and imprisoned in Alexeyevsky ravelin of Petropavlovskaya fortress (July 1862); tried at court in the "process of the 32". In November 1865, being sick with tuberculosis, was exiled to Kamyshin.

Mikael Nalbandyan deceased in Kamyshin on March 31 (April 12), 1866.

Mikael Nalbandyan was encyclopedically educated. He dealt with the issues of philosophy, economics, linguistics, and pedagogy. Was a follower of anthropologic materialism of L. Feuerbach and N.G. Chernyshevsky and tireless propagator of natural sciences. Nalbandyan's philosophy is an important state in the history of Armenian social thought. In his practical revolutionary activities, tried to tie democratic powers of the Armenian people in Russian and abroad with the Russian liberation movement.

Mikael Nalbandyan is the initiator of the critical realism in Armenian literature, author of the novels A Word to One and a Bride to the Other (1858), Questioning the Dead (1859, unfinished), and Diary (1858-1860). While in the fortress, created an anti-religious epic Adventures of the Forefather (1864, published in 1903). Civil lyrics by Nalbandyan penetrated with the pathos of liberation struggle, were widely popular. Nalbandyan laid the foundation of Armenian realistic critics and aesthetics. His literature views are expressed in the works Letter on Armenian Writing (1854-1855, published in 1895), Critics (1858), National Theater in Constantinople (1861), and others. Built his aesthetic theory on the principles of anthropologic materialism. Struggled for the introduction of the new Armenian literary language Ashkharabar instead of the dead bookish language Grabar, for which was ostracized by clericals and reactionaries. Translated poems of A.S. Pushkin, M.Y. Lermontov, H. Heine, and other poets.


Selected Compositions. Yerevan, 1941.

Selected Philosophic and Socio-political Works. Moscow, 1954.

Poems. Moscow, 1967.

Compositions. Volumes 1 & 2. Yerevan, 1968-1970.

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