In this volume are three stories by Vazha-Pshavela, a giant of modern Georgian literature, along with one of the epic poems for which he became renowned, All have been translated into English here for the first time. In The Death of Bagrat Zakharych, a highly sardonic account of the sudden demise of a chancellery official, Vazha-Pshavela’s ironic sense reaches its fullest pitch. The story invites comparison to classic works such as Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Memories: A Christmas Tale tells of a boy who returns from boarding school to his village for the winter holiday. As he reconnects with his family, an anxiety-filled hunting expedition with his uncle changes his perspective on life. Batura’s Sword features an enchanted weapon that haunts the people of Pshavi following the death of its owner. This transfixing story of honor on the battlefield evokes the magic of the Caucasus mountains. Finally, Gogotur and Apshina, one of Vazha-Pshavela’s many legendary epic poems, is a moving rumination on the themes of military glory and courage. It was singled out for translation into Russian three times by three great poets (Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Nikolay Zabolotsky).
Vazha Pshavela was born Luka Razikashvili, and took his pen name (‘Son of Pshavians’) after his birthplace in Georgia’s mountainous Pshavi province. He became a teacher of Georgian, and a prominent figure in the movement to liberate Georgia from the Russian Empire. His numerous epics, poems, stories. and plays take as their starting points the lives of Georgian highlanders, which he observed with passionate precision. The themes that recur in the work of this most revered writer include nature, myth, honor, the struggle of individual and nation alike.
ISBN 9781911475392 – Paperback – 110mm x 140 mm – 64 pages – £2.99