Armenian National Library Hosts Levon Shant Commemoration

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An exhibition dedicated to the 130th birthday anniversary of the great Armenian writer–teacher and public figure Levon Shant opened at the exhibition hall of the National Library of Armenia on January 25. The exhibition presents books related to the life and creative activities of the writer. Shant’s efforts in drama–poetry–and translations are presented in separate pavilions.

Those attending the event described Levon Shant as a writer whose works still need studying; in the Soviet period the study of his works was banned. It was suggested that a full collection of Shant’s works be published. Actors of the Sundukian Theater–Lorents Arushanian and Varduhi Varderesian gave speeches. They invited those present to a play "Old Gods" to be staged by the Sundukian Theater this spring.

Levon Shant was born in 1869–in Constantinople–now Istanbul–into a carpet seller’s family. He studied first at the Gevorgian Theological Seminary in Etchmiadzin and later at the German universities of Leipzig–Jena and Munich. He specialized in teaching and psychology. As a student–Shant made his first efforts as a writer in 1892 by presenting his poem "The Girl of the Mountain" and short story "Blissful Days."

In 1909–Shant wrote his masterpiece–the symbolic drama "Old Gods" that marks the commencement of Shant as a playwright. "Old Gods" with its problems and solutions is a typical symbolic drama–it is unclear where the reality ends and illusions begin. Literary critic David Gasparian says struggle of reason and sense–love and duty–emotions and logic are native to the characters of the play–which is typical for a symbolic drama. This play was followed by others–such as "The Emperor,"In Shackles,"The Princess of the Fallen Fortress" and "Oshin Pail."

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