Friday, September 23, 2011

Galaktion Tabidze!

Galaktion Tabidze,was a leading Georgian poet of the twentieth century whose writings profoundly influenced all subsequent generations of Georgian poets.Galaktion Tabidze was born in the village Chqvishi near Vani, western Georgia (then part of Imperial Russia). His father, local teacher Vasil Tabidze, died two months before Galaktion was born.

From 1900 to 1910, he studied at the seminaries of Kutaisi and Tbilisi, and later worked as a teacher.. Due to his preference for solitude, he gained a moniker of "Chevalier of the Order of Loneliness" from his cousin Titsian Tabidze.

Most of his writings were impregnated with themes of isolation, lovelessness, and nightmarish presentiments, as seen in his masterpieces Without Love ,and The Wind Blows.

During the Stalinist repressions of 1937, Tabidze's wife Olga Okudzhava, from the family of Old Bolsheviks, was arrested and exiled to Siberia where she died in 1944. Galaktion’s cousin and fellow poet, Titsian Tabidze, like many of the poet’s associates, was also arrested and eventually executed.Tabidze himself was interrogated and heavily beaten by Lavrentiy Beria. This plunged Galaktion into depression and alcoholism.Severely ill and depressed, he was eventually placed in the Tbilisi psychiatric hospital where he ended his life, through jumping to his death from the hospital window, on Chavchavadze Avenue in Central Tbilisi, in 1959. He was interred at the Mtatsminda Pantheon, his funerals being attended by tens of thousands.Tabidze authored thousands of poems that established him as one of the greatest Georgian poets with an immense impact on modern Georgian literature. His archive of about 100,000 items in the Literary Museum in Tbilisi still awaits full investigation.

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