Tel. +374 10 555570, +374 60 710222
The history of the Publishing House of Yerevan State University is closely linked to the activities that the Main University has been carrying out for the past 90 years of its existence. Throughout the past nine decades, YSU Publishing House has published more than 5,500 books.
The First Republic of Armenia had just been established. In October 1918, Tbilisi hosted a special consultation to establish a school in Armenia that would serve as a type of university. Among the participants of the discussion were the future university’s first rector Yuri Ghambaryan, who had studied and taught law in Saint Petersburg, Paris and Brussels, Deputy Minister for Public Education of the Republic of Armenia, graduate of the Universities of Paris and Saint Petersburg David Zavryan and creator of the first book for the university, longstanding educator of the Gevorgyan Lyceum Sirakan Tigranyan. The decision read as follows: “To create a school or courses that will help train experts, with the ultimate goal to turn the school into a university.”
On January 31, 1920, the University opened its doors with a grand ceremony held in Alexandropol with the participation of Prime Minister Al. Khatisyan, other leaders of the Republic, as well as the Ambassadors of Great Britain, France, Iran and other countries.
On that same day, the University issued its first newspaper called “University of Armenia”, laying the foundation for the establishment of the University’s publishing house.
The first book of the University was released in Alexandropol as well, and that first book was the methodological manual entitled “Psychology” by remarkable American philosopher William James. The publication was followed by the printing of a lecture devoted to the subject.
It is interesting to know who the authors of the first books of the University were and how YSU started publishing.
Hovhannes Navakatikyan was the author of the textbook entitled “Determinators” and had received his education in physics in Germany. Vahan Artsruni was the author of the textbook entitled “Human Anatomy” and had received his education in biology in Paris. Author of the book entitled “Dairy Economics” Sargis Abovyan graduated from the Universities of Laipzig and Halle. Chemist, graduate of the Universities of Berlin and Saint Petersburg, Sargis Akunyan was the author of the textbook entitled “Manual for Quantitative Analysis”. Among the first authors were agro-chemist, bacteriologist Papa Kalantaryan, who had studied at universities across Europe; doctor G. Areshyan; chemist Levon Rotinyan and physicist H. Anjur. If we add the names of remarkable Armenologists like Hrachya Atcharyan, Manuk Abeghyan, Hakob Manandyan, Leo and Arsen Terteryan, we can see the level of quality of the first books of the University printed in the 1920's.
Interestingly, since its establishment, the YSU Publishing House has been constantly publishing books and even published highly valuable books during the years of WWII.
From the 1920s to the 1940s, Armenia’s scientific thought was centered at the University prior to the establishment of the Academy of Sciences.
The greatest achievement of the YSU Publishing House is the publication of dictionaries, which is of scientific and educational significance.
The publication of Hrachya Atcharyan’s book entitled “Dictionary of Root Words in Armenian”, which is one of the cornerstones in Armenian linguistics, began in 1927 in glass form since it was impossible to combine the letters of dozens of languages in those years. Renowned linguist E. Aghayan considers this dictionary as an exceptional phenomenon. “It is a real encyclopedia of dictionary studies. It presents a complete list of roots and root words in the Armenian language with explanations, grammatical information and etymology…
It is hard to believe that one person can create such a book, especially since he has also published several other large-scale scientific studies.”
The “Dictionary of Root Words in Armenian” has also been praised by foreign Armenologists such as Antoine Meyer, Heinrich Hübschmann and others.
The dictionary was released in fonts in five volumes by YSU Publishing House in the 1970's.
During the difficult years of WWII, YSU Publishing House started publishing another monumental work by Atcharyan entitled “Dictionary of Armenian Names”. Atcharyan has studied all the names used in the Armenian language, starting from ancient times and leading up to the 15th century. After the 15th century, Atcharyan only studied the names of remarkable individuals in Armenian literature and history. This book was also in five volumes.
Atcharyan’s publications of dictionaries at YSU Publishing House did not stop there. There are extensive dictionaries in the studies devoted to Armenian dialects, including the dialects of Nor Nakhichevan, Maraga, Van, Musa Ler, Nor Hatchn, Svedia and the dialect of the Armenians of Constantinople.
The release of the five-volume “Dictionary of Toponyms of Armenia and Adjacent Regions” by T. Hakobyan, St. Melik Bakhshyan and H. Barseghyan is also a significant achievement in the publication of Armenian dictionaries. In 2002, the book received the RA Presidential Award “For Achievements Made in the Development of Mankind and in the Development of Humanistic Values, Including the Development of the Humanities”.
The first etymological study of Armenia’s toponyms was conducted by 5th century historian, father of history Movses Khorenatsi, followed by the studies by many remarkable 19th century Armenian figures such as Ghevond Alishan (poet, historian, geographer, translator and member of the Mekhitarist Congregation in Venice), Nshan Tchivanyan, Hambardzum Arakelyan, Mkrtich Poturyan, Sukias Yeprpikyan and others. Even foreign Armenologists such as German Joz. Markvart and Heinrich Hübschmann have studied the etymology of certain toponyms and compiled dictionaries, but none of them were able to finish what they started. With his phenomenal knowledge and mystical diligence, Hrachya Atcharyan refused to create a dictionary because in order to do that, “he would have to add several dozens of years to his ordinary life”, Atcharyan wrote.
Another dictionary, that is, the “Explanatory Dictionary of Synonyms in the Armenian Language” by honorable professor of Yerevan State University, linguist Ashot Sukiasyan has also won the RA Presidential Award. The book contains 130,000 words and phrases in literary Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian, and the synonyms are provided with explanations of the words.
After Hrachya Atcharyan, YSU Professor, longstanding Head of the YSU Chair of History of the Armenian Language, doctor-professor Ruben Ghazaryan is the one with the greatest merit in the field of dictionary writing in the history of Armenian linguistics. Ruben Ghazaryan was the one who compiled the new two-volume Dictionary of Grabar (Classical Armenian) with many additions 170 years after the publication of the Haykazyan Dictionary. The same author, along with H. Avetisyan, compiled the “Dictionary of Middle Armenian”, which includes the words, styles and phrases in literary Middle Armenian that have been used independently and translated in poems in the 12th-16th centuries. In terms of form and meaning, they are not characteristic of Grabar and are not seen in the bibliographies of books published in the 5th-11th centuries.
Ruben Ghazaryan was the first in the history of Armenian linguistics to create the “Dictionary of Synonyms in Grabar”, including synonyms that were used independently and in translations in Armenian literature of the 5th-11th centuries.
Ruben Ghazaryan is also author of the “Dictionary of Names of Plants in Armenian, Latin, Russian, English, French and German” (two books), the “Armenian-Russian-Latin Taxonomic Dictionary of Animal Names” (six volumes-Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians, Fish, Insects and Invertebrates), the “Turkish-Armenian Dictionary” and more.
Scientific worker of Yerevan State University, Doctor of Philological Sciences Yerjanik Gevorgyan worked on a very interesting dictionary for nearly 25 years. Although she was born visually impaired, Gevorgyan created the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Language of Actions in Armenian” (Action Dictionary), which includes 650 actions. Several nations have such dictionaries, including the British, the Russians, the Italians and the Indians, but the Armenian dictionary is the largest with 700 pages.
Armenians and Georgians have been living side-by-side for centuries, but strange as it may be, there had never been a Georgian-Armenian dictionary until YSU Publishing House released YSU graduate Ramaz Gorgadze’s voluminous, 716-page “Georgian-Armenian Dictionary”, which includes nearly 40,000 words, as well as lists of names and toponyms.
The “Dictionary of Armenian Pseudonyms” is of unique value among Armenian dictionaries. Meritorious theater critic, philologist Bakhtiar Hovakimyan created the “Dictionary of Armenian Pseudonyms” for more than 50 years and faced great difficulties as he deciphered 28,000 pseudonyms of 8,000 authors.
Another achievement in the field of dictionary writing is the “English-Armenian Dictionary” by longstanding professor of Yerevan State University Nelly Baratyan, the “Armenian-French Dictionary” by Aram Barlezizyan, the “Latin-Armenian Dictionary” by A. Hayrapetyan, the “Armenian-Indian (Hindi) Dictionary” by M. Amirbekyan and K. Zargaryan and the “Greek-Armenian Dictionary” by N. Mkrtchyan.
In addition to all this, we must also add the republications of two unsurpassed dictionaries, including the “New Dictionary of the Armenian Language”, which was first published in Venice in 1836-37 and was written by authors, members of the Mekhitarist Congregation Gabriel Avetikyan, Kh. Surmelyan and Mkrtich Avgeryan, as well as the four volumes of Stepan Malkhasyants’s “Armenian Explanatory Dictionary”. The mistakes in the latter have been fixed, and the book has been released with great quality.
In terms of academic studies, preference is given to Armenology. In the past years, the successes of YSU Publishing House in Armenology can be linked to the Armenian Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which has published nearly 800 books, of which more than 150 have been published by the YSU Publishing House.
YSU Publishing House has also finished publishing Atcharyan’s greatest linguistic study entitled “Full Grammar of the Armenian Language Compared with 562 Languages”. The great Armenologist was not able to finish the ninth, final volume, which was a draft manuscript. YSU Publishing House managed to decipher the manuscript and publish the ninth, final volume, which includes three very important sections, including Philosophy, Examination of Words and Syntax. The YSU Publishing House received support from YSU professors, as well as doctor-professors S. Galstyan and Kh. Badikyan.
Prominent historian, Armenologist Nikoghayos Adonts’s seven volumes of “Poems” is of tremendous value for Armenologists. The book includes historiographical, as well as linguistic and philological studies and many new translations from French and Russian.
The original studies of foreign Armenologists were released in the “Series of Armenian Books of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation”. With his two books, including “Armenological Studies” (translated by M. N. Harutyunyan) and “Armenian Grammar”, notable German linguist Heinrich Hübschmann was the first to prove that even though the Armenian language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, it is represented as an independent branch. Hübschmann had also planned to write a book devoted to Armenian grammar in three volumes, but only managed to finish the volume devoted to the “Etymology of the Armenian Language” since he died at the age of 59.
Another remarkable German Armenologist by the name of Josef Karst wrote the “Historical Grammar of the Armenian Language in Cilicia” and published it in Strasbourg in 1901. YSU scientific worker of Jewish descent, Dmitri Slivnyak translated the book from German into Armenian, and the book had remained in the drawers of the YSU Publishing House for nearly 15 years. This significant book was edited and prepared for publication by R. Ghazaryan and was released in 2002.
The translation and release of studies by foreign authors, particularly the translations of works related to the Armenian Genocide has been one of the key objectives of the YSU Publishing House.
The book “Deceived People” by notable scientist, philanthropist, great friend of the Armenian people Fritdjof Nansen was published in Norwegian, German, English, French and only in 2001 was it released in Armenian by the YSU Publishing House (the book was translated from German by Makaryan). Afterwards, the books by V. Baum, J. Kuntzler and Fribucher were also translated from German and released by the YSU Publishing House.
Out of all historiographical studies we must set aside the voluminous book “On the Paths of the Liberation Struggle” by notable historian, academician H. Simonyan. The book presents a precise description and analysis of all the significant events that took place in Armenian reality (both Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian) and received the RA State Award in 2013.
The three-volume book “History of the Armenian Genocide” by St. Poghosyan presents the tragic events that took place in Western Armenia between the second half of the 19th century and in 1915-20 when the Ottoman Empire perpetrated its monstrous plan, that is, the Armenian Genocide. The book contains a large amount of facts.
Corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Aram Simonyan’s monograph “Battle of Zangezur: 1920-21” is also devoted to the liberation struggle. With the active participation of Garegin Nzhdeh, the people of Syunik sacrificed their lives and managed to have the Syunik province remain as a part of Armenia, leading all the attempts to make it a part of Azerbaijan to failure. These intricate events are presented through an in-depth historiographical analysis.
Whereas Armenology and the humanities prevail in scientific research, the natural sciences prevail in academic literature. The first book, on the cover page of which we read “People’s University of Yerevan, 1st Series” is the instructional manual entitled “Determinators” by renowned physicist Hovh. Navakatikyan. Just the list of names is enough to get a picture of the valuable books that have been published in the field of exact sciences, including Victor Hambardzumyan, Har. Anjour, Vahan Artsruni and Hovakim Bedelyan. Out of foreign authors, only the textbooks by V. Mrochek, V. Gutman, V. Meshchersky and G. Fichtengolz were released in the 1920s.
The publications of series of books deserve special appreciation. Many valuable books have been released as part of the “Student Library” series and “Chrestomatias” series. The “Chrestomatias” series is linked to the curricula that included the subjects “History of the Armenian People”, “Old and Medieval Armenian Poetry”, “Old and Medieval Armenian Prose” and more.
The works of Dante, Shakespeare, Giote and Schiller, the “Poetry of the Old East”, “French Classicism” and “Foreign Dramaturgy of the 20th Century” collections, as well as the works of Abovyan, Sayat-Nova and other classic writers have been released in 20-30,000 copies as part of the “Student Library” series.
Archbishop Shaheh Atchemyan, who was the first dean of the YSU Faculty of Theology, created the “Atchemyan Series of Books”. Two dozens of books devoted to religion and history have already been released.
The publications of newspapers have a special place for the YSU Publishing House.
The journals, magazines and yearbooks published since the first years have highly contributed to the development of science.
The representatives of the YSU Publishing House have always participated in the international book fairs held in Frankfurt, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Geneva and other cities.
Most of the books published by the YSU Publishing House have won honorary awards.
The YSU Publishing House has been under the direction of well-known intellectuals of the Republic of Armenia, including Vsevolod Skabyolkin (1957), Armen Hakobyan (1957-64), Aramayis Asryan (1964-76), Garnik Ananyan (1976-85), Babken Harutyunyan (1986-88), Sargis Panosyan (1988-94), David Gasparyan (1994-98) and Pertch Stepanyan (1998-2014). All these intellectuals have made great contributions to the development of the YSU Publishing House.
Now “YSU Publishing House” is headed by Candidate of Philological Sciences Karen Grigoryan.