Georgian Literature

Georgian literature is very old date of its origin is impressive: "Martyrdom of Shushaniki", Georgian hagiographic work of the 5th century is extant as a XI century manuscript. However, the history of a queen tortured by her husband for her belief and the family is narrated with such experience and taste that it is regarded that the first Georgian writer Iakob Khutsesi really had predecessors.

Assembly of impressive hagiographic works of early middle ages, perfectly-shaped historical chronicles, hymns and mystic poems are topped off by "The Knight in the Panther’s Skin", a crown of the 12th century secular literature, a poem which took an important place in the life and culture of Georgia and for centuries defined taste of literature and even the ideals of Georgia which was involved in eternal wars, was sometimes fallen to pieces and united again. Poetic form of the poem written with brilliant poetry and a strange mixture of European knighthood with Eastern life led to the fact that poets of Middle Ages not only imitated Rustaveli in their works but also wrote their lines directly in his text.

Georgia of middle ages, in its tragic epoch had Poet-Kings and poet chroniclers who were committed to the form of Rustaveli. Generally, Georgia was always a country of poetry rather than prose. Diversity and wealth of its folk poetry prove it. Far from folk poetry Besik Gabashvili, poet of the 18th century with amazing biography was undoubtedly distinguished among numerous authors entangled between the Eastern poetic methods and delights. Besik’s era was the time when nearly everything was written as verses in Georgia: verses were written everywhere and on everything; sometimes it even leaked through state papers.

The history of Georgia of middle ages was the fight against great empires of the East, vassalage towards them and escaping them. It is not surprising that Georgian literature has absorbed a lot from the East, especially from Persia. Despite its efforts, Georgia which had been ignored by Europe for centuries became a part of the Soviet Empire early in the 19th century, leading to a new wave in literature.

Nikoloz Baratashvili, the greatest romantic poet of Georgia, a prince, died at an early age. His poetry became known for the wide public several decades later.

Afterwards, new poetry came to Georgia which proved to be a turning point in many aspects of social life. The novels by Daniel Chonkadze and Lavrenti Ardaziani marked the start of a new style in literature. Ilia Chavchavadze’s all consuming activities and Akaki Tsereteli’s poetry laid foundation not only to new Georgian language but also to new Georgian literature. Trends of Georgian literature had long been defined by their creative works. At the same time Vazha Pshavela, a unique figure made his appearance. The writer living in the mountains created infinite and deep world. This world was similar to nothing and was close to perfection.

Georgian literature of the 20th century was interesting and diverse but on the other hand, it was created during the Soviet era. Great novelist Mikheil Javakhishvili and popular poets Titsian Tabidze and Paolo Iashvili, who had greatly defined the taste of Georgian literature of that time, were among those creators that sacrificed their lives during Stalinism. Galaktion Tabidze, the greatest poet of Georgia of the 20th century, who also lived in the Soviet era, committed a suicide.

Short-term warming during the Khrushchov period led to the arrival of a new generation in literature, outstanding representative of which was Otar Chiladze, a poet and a novelist. The stories by Guram Rcheulishvili and Vova Sikharulidze and their lifestyle had nothing in common with the Soviet system like perfect grotesque stories of Guram Dochanashvili. "Data Tutashkhia", a novel by Chabua Amirejibi, turned out to be one of the most popular books of the Stagnation Era.