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The Literature of Georgia: A History

The Literature of Georgia: A History by Donald Rayfield, professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London, is the first and the most comprehensive study of the literature of Georgia that has ever appeared in English. The work deals with Georgia's diverse 1,500-year literary tradition from the 5th-century hagiographic writings down to the 20th-century eclectic poetry and prose. The book researches into the diverse influences which have affected the Georgian literature - from Greek and Persian to Russian and modern European, and the folklore of the Caucasus, and also includes translations of several pieces of the Georgian poetry.

Part V, dealing with the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, is of particular interest. Rayfield, one of the first researchers to have gained access to recently-declassified Soviet archives on the 1937 show trials of Georgian writers organized by Lavrentiy Beria, gives a profound analysis of the tragedy suffered by the Georgian intellectual élite in Stalin's Great Purge which is classified by the author as a "holocaust".

The book was first published in 1994 and earned appraisal from several literary authorities. The second revised edition appeared in 2000.

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