Yerevan: ARMGIZ, 1942. Item #1110
224 pp. 15.4x22.2 cm. In original publisher’s cardboards. Light soiling, previous owner’s ink inscription on the verso of the title-page. Otherwise near fine.
First edition. Scarce. 1 of 4,000 copies. Book design including illustrated endpapers by the noted Soviet artist Iosif Karalyan (1897-1981). This is a collection of poems, novels, short stories, and miniatures penned by a group of Armenian writers and dedicated to the Soviet struggle in the Patriotic War. The book features Russian translations of works by 26 Armenian authors, including Avetik Isahakyan (1875-1957), Arazi (1878-1964), Nairi Zarian (1900-1969), Stepan Zoryan (1889-1967), Hmayak Siras (1902-1983), Azat Vshtuni (1894-1958), Gevork Abov (1897-1965), Sogomon Tarontsi (1905-1971), etc. The edition opens with a preface written by Derenik Demirchian (1877-1956), an Armenian novelist, poet, translator, and playwright, mostly recognized as the author of the monumental patriotic novel Vardanank (1943-1946). In the preface, the author concentrates on the responsibilities of writers to the fatherland and identifies two primary ways to defend the country, either with weapons or with a pen.
The book is particularly important, as it is one of the few, if not the only, examples of Karalyan’s work in book design. Iosif studied at the School of Painting and Sculpture under the Caucasian Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in Tbilisi (1916-1917) under Oscar Shmerling and the Moscow Art Institute (1934-1940) under Vladimir Favorsky. A member of the artistic association SARMA (1929-1932), Karalyan was an active participant of the exhibitions both in Tbilisi and abroad. In the early years, Iosif was credited with genre canvases, and later with agitation posters. Most notably, the artist produced costume designs for Sergo Parajanov’s film the Color of Pomegranates (1969).
Armenia, an active participant of World War II, greatly contributed to the enhancing of the Soviet military spirit. In 1941, the Yerevan Film Studio (the future «Armenfilm») released a musical film concert with the participation of famous masters of the Armenian performing arts. In a few months, ARMGIZ printed a collection of works eulogizing Soviet morale. An estimated 300-500,000 (among which more than 50 were writers) Armenians served in the warfare, almost half of whom did not return.
No copies found in Worldcat.