TOTOVENTS Vahan, was born on July 18, 1894 in the city of Mezre (Kharberd province). Armenian writer. He graduated from National Central Gymnasium of Kharberd in 1907, H. Tlkatintsi and R. Zardaryan were his teachers. In 1908 he moved to Constantinople, in 1909 to Paris, then to New York. In 1912 he entered Wisconsin University where he studied Literature, History and Philosophy. In 1915-16 Totovents participated in the Armenian voluntary movement, fought in the  Adranik’s detachment,  was his secretary and  wrote memoirs that were published in 1920 by the title “Andranik and his battles” by nickname Arsen Marmaryan.

In 1917-18 he edited newspaper “Hayastan” published by Andranik. He was in close relations with H. Tumanyan. Totovents is the author of poetry brochures (“Ruins”, 1908, “Pipe”, 1909), short stories (“My aunt”, 1916, “Tono”  1917), poems (“Lament on Immortality”, 1917, “East”, 1918), satirical novel (“Doctor Burbonian” 1918), of philological and literary articles where he expressed his concern on the national-political fate of the Armenian people. On May, 1920 Totovents moved to Constantinople. In 1922 he returned Armenia. Dramatic writings “In the storm” (1922), Death battalion (1923), “Steel meal” (1924), “New Byzantium” (1925, all-union prize, staged also in Paris), “Fire” (1927) and short stories “New York” (1927), “Giumri-New York” (1929, co-author `E. Chubar) etc. were also published.

Most of his well-known works were written in 1929-36: the series of short stories “America” (1929), short stories “Asatour and Cleopatra” (1929), “Pigeons” (1934), “Light Blue Flowers” [1935, [film “A Piece of Sky” 1980, Armenfilm], three-volume novel  “Baku” (1930-34) etc. 

The best works of Totvents are biographical novel “Life on the Old Roman Road” (1933, in Russian in 1963, in English in 1971), short stories “Burnt Papers” (1934), “Jonathan, Son of Jeremiah” (1934), plays “Two Swords” (1930), “Baku-London” (staged in 1932), “Mound of Ashes”  (1936). Totovents also wrote the libretto of the opera “Astghadzor”, literary researches, and journalistic works. He translated into Armenian the tragedies “Richard III” and “Anthony and Cleopatra” by William Shakespeare and historical drama “Siyavush” by Huseyn Javid. In 1936 was arbitrarily imprisoned and executed. He was posthumously acquitted (1954):


Source - "Who is Who. The Armenians" Encyclopedia, Volume I, chief-editor Hovh. Ayvazyan, Yerevan, 2007.

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