Culture
90th anniversary of Georgian-German writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize twice
26 December, 2017
December 14 marked the 90th anniversary of renowned writer and philosopher Givi Margvelashivili. In relation to this date, while leading German publications and newspapers dedicated lengthy articles congratulating this giant mind on his birthday, only a very small circle of Georgians had even heard of him.

The story of Givi Margvelashivili is a rarity, since the author experienced both Fascist and Communist regimes and managed
to survive. He was born to a Georgian emigrant family in Berlin and then expelled to Georgia by the KGB, where he spent most of his years. Because of his vague past, in Germany he is perceived as a Georgian, and in Georgia as a German author.
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Givi Margvelashivili

On December 18, Goethe Institute in Tbilisi hosted the celebration of the distinguished writer’s anniversary, gathering his close friends, professors, colleagues and, most importantly, the hero of the evening himself.

The jubilee event was led by Professor Aleksandre Kartozia, who spoke about the author’s writings and life. Among the special guests were literature expert and translator Sergo Okropiridze, publicist Eke Maas and distinguished Georgian writer and German language expert Naira Gelashvili. Important excerpts from the writer’s works were read aloud and brought to life by the celebrated Georgian actress Nino Burduli.
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Several of his books have been translated and published in Georgian

In 1945, the writer and his father Tite, who had fled to Germany after the Red Army occupied Georgia in 1921, were captured by Soviet KGB agents and taken to East Berlin by force. In 1946, his father was shot, while the son was first sent to a concentration camp by the Soviets and later deported to Georgia at the age of 19.

“When Givi arrived in Tbilisi, his homeland, he did not know even a word of Georgian, so the stranger in his country found shelter in his novels,” Naira Gelashvili, distinguished Georgian writer, said. “All his writings are in German and of various genre; he is the author of a number of novels, tales, plays, and rhymes, as well as philosophical works. Margvelashvili is simultaneously a writer, poet, philosopher and a linguist, who does not have an analogue in today’s world, being equally successful in all these fields. Yet, since no one country stood firmly behind him, he has been somehow put in the shadow. He is the type of writer who should have received the Nobel Prize a long time ago.”
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And the philosopher was nominated for the Nobel Prize twice. His works are not simply realistic, but rather philosophical, conveying deep meanings and offering new dimensions. His prose is not purely German in style; it represents a combination of rationalism, with Georgian temperament and passion that eventually makes up an incredible phenomenon. Givi’s works are becoming ever more popular among the modern generation with contemporary taste, which shows how progressive his writings were for the time, that they are as relevant to people today.

Several of his books have been translated and published in Georgian, such as Mutsal, inspired by the poem of Vazha-Pshavela (a great Georgian writer), ‘Captain Vakush,’ ‘I Am Hero of the Book,’ as well as a number of rhymes and plays. Margvelashvili has also been hailed as an acclaimed specialist of German existentialism.
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The philosopher was nominated for the Nobel Prize twice

“His books should be translated and promoted in the proper way, so that wider society can get to know him,” Gelashvili said. “His works are reflectional prose mixed with fantasy that require imagination and considerable knowledge of European literature to be understood and perceived as they should.”

Margvelashvili was chosen as an honorable Doctor of Tbilisi State University and was awarded the Goethe Medal. Goethe Institute and DVV International established a prestigious award in his name for special contribution to Georgian-German cultural relations.

“His works were first published in the 1990s in Germany,” Professor Aleksandre Kartozia said. “The playwright is the winner of many prestigious awards, including the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy Award, Berlin Art Prize, Gustav Regler Prize as well as being the owner of the Federal Cross of Merit of Germany and Italo-Svevo-Preis, a literary prize of Germany. Besides being a great writer, he is one of the leading figures in modern philosophy, who has made an immense contribution to the science of language. Now the time has come for his works to be spotlighted, revived and studied thoroughly again. If his novels had been published at the time when they were written in the 1960s, then today he would be one of the chief representatives of world’s post-modern literature. At Frankfurt Book Fair 2018, where Georgia will be one of the honorable guests, Givi Margvelashvili will be one of the central figures of discussion.”
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At the end of the celebratory event, the hero of the hour, Givi Margvelashvili himself, gave a small speech.

“I have been an emigrant from inside my entire life, but with the support of my friends both in Georgia and Germany, I overcame many obstacles. I have devoted my life to literature and my scientific works. Once an emigrant, always an emigrant,” he said.

Despite his age, the author still actively writes and is planning to complete his scientific work in language studies.

Author: Lika Chigladze

Source: Georgia Today

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