Levon Mkrtchyan

Levon Mkrtchyan

Armenian writer, literary critic, literary scholar, literary translation theorist.
Date of Birth: 02.03.1933
Country: Armenia

  1. Biography of Levon Mkrtchyan
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career
  4. Contributions
  5. Awards and Recognition

Biography of Levon Mkrtchyan

Levon Mkrtchyan, born on March 2, 1933, in Akhaltsikhe, was an Armenian writer, literary critic, literary historian, and theorist of literary translation. He earned a doctorate in philology in 1971 and became a professor in 1973. Mkrtchyan was also the founder and first rector of the Russian-Armenian (Slavic) State University from 1998 to 2001.

Early Life and Education

Mkrtchyan attended the Batumi Maritime School from 1952 to 1954 but was expelled for disciplinary reasons. He then passed his final exams externally and received a high school diploma. In 1954, he enrolled in the Russian Literature Department of the Yerevan Pedagogical Institute named after Zhdanov, which became part of Yerevan State University in 1958. He graduated from Yerevan State University in 1958 and started working at the university as a laboratory assistant in the Russian Literature Department. He eventually became the dean of the Faculty of Russian Philology and the head of the Russian Literature Department.


Throughout his career, Mkrtchyan held various positions, including secretary of the board of the Union of Soviet Writers of Armenia, lecturer, professor, and dean of the Faculty of Russian Philology at Yerevan State University. In 1998, he was appointed the rector of the Russian-Armenian (Slavic) State University by joint decree of the prime ministers of Russia and Armenia. Mkrtchyan was known for his joyful personality and unique sense of humor, which captivated those around him.


Mkrtchyan authored 35 books, including autobiographical prose, travel notes, memoirs, literary essays, and collections of scientific and literary articles. He also compiled, wrote introductions and annotations, and sometimes co-authored 82 books. He wrote primarily in Russian, and his works published in Armenian were translations of his Russian originals. Mkrtchyan collaborated extensively with Arshak Madoyan, a specialist in ancient Armenian language and literature, on translations of medieval Armenian lyricists.

Mkrtchyan initiated and organized the publication of translations into Russian and foreign languages of many medieval Armenian poets, including the Russian translations of the "Book of Lamentations" (1977, 1998) by the great 10th-century Armenian poet Grigor Narekatsi. He also compiled anthologies of medieval Armenian poets, such as "Armenian Medieval Poetry" (Leningrad, 1972), "Armenian Classical Poetry" (2 volumes, Yerevan, 1977), and "From 'The Birth of Vahagn' to Paruyr Sevak" (Yerevan, 1983). He was also the initiator of colorful bilingual editions of medieval Armenian poets, which included the original Armenian text, the Russian interlinear translation, and artistic translation.

Awards and Recognition

Mkrtchyan received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the State Prize of the Armenian SSR in 1983, the title of Merited Scientist of Armenia, the Union of Writers of the USSR Prize, and the Mikael Nalbandian Prize established by the Union of Writers of Armenia. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and the Hovhannes Abelian Medal. In 2001, he posthumously received the Fridtjof Nansen Medal. He was also awarded the Golden Medal of the Union of Armenians of Russia for his contribution to the development of Armenian-Russian literary and cultural ties.