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19th Century Playwrights >> Aleksandr Shirvanzade
Aleksandr Shirvanzade, Armenian Playwright (1858-1935) Aleksandr Movsesian was born on April 18, 1858, into a tailor's family in the province of Shirvan, in what is now Azerbaijan, and later adopted the pen-name Shirvanzade (son of Shirvan). He brought to fruition the social realist school of Armenian drama promoted by Gabriel Sundukian a generation earlier. At the age of 17, Shirvanzade went to work in the Caspian city of Baku whose fortunes were beginning to rise with the boom in oil production. He immersed himself in Armenian and Russian literature as well as reading Stendahl, Balzac, Flaubert, Zola and Shakespeare, his greatest love. Working first as a clerk and then as an accountant for oil companies, Shirvanzade saw first-hand the social impact of industrialized oil production. He turned his shock and anger into a literature of protest, writing in many genres: novels, plays, short stories, and newspaper articles. His later protests against the massacres perpetrated during 1894-96 against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdulhamid II resulted in his imprisonment in Tiflis, an experience which led to his masterpiece, Chaos (1896-97). Returning to Baku, he became increasingly interested in women's issues, as shown in his play Evgine about women's suffrage, and Did She Have the Right? Shirvanzade's concerns with capitalism and feminism fuse in his drama, For the Sake of Honor (1904). In 1916, Maxim Gorki wrote that Shirvanzade's works "were known and read not only in the Caucasus but also in England, in the Scandinavian Peninsula, and Italy." In his later years, Shirvanzade lived abroad, finally returning permanently to Yerevan in 1926. He died in Kislovodsk in 1935, and was buried in Yerevan.
PLAYS

THE PRINCESS (Ishkhanouhi) - 1891
 
YEVGINE - 1901
 
DID SHE HAVE THE RIGHT? (Ouner Iravounk?) - 1902
 
FOR THE SAKE OF HONOR (Patevi Hamar) - 1904
 
ARMENOUHI - 1909
 
HONOR (Namous) - 1911
 
EVIL SPIRIT (Char Voki) - 1912
 
MORGAN'S IN-LAW (Morgani Khnamin) - 1926
 
FILMS (based on his plays)

NAMUS - 1925, Haykino (in association with Goskinprom, Georgia), drama - 62min. (1723m), b/w, silent. Scr./Dir. H. Beknazaryan. The film is the first Armenian feature film.
 
EVIL SPIRIT / Char Voki - 1927, Haykino, drama- 62min. (1720m), b/w, silent. Scr. H. Beknazaryan.
 
FOR HONOR / Patvi Hamar - 1956, Yerevan Film Studio, drama based on A.Shirvanzade?s drama 80min. Screenplay L.Gharagyozyan
 
MORGAN'S RELATIVE BY MARRIAGE (Morgani Khnamin) - 1970, Yerevan Studio, comedy based on A.Shirvanzade?s play 82min. Scr./Dir. A.Manaryan
 
CHAOS / Kaos - 1973, Hayfilm Studio, drama based on A.Shirvanzade?s novel 97min. Scr. V.Meliksetyan


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