Alan Shaw sent me a link to this interview by Rebecca Gould with descendants of Titsian Tabidze, the great Georgian poet who fell victim to Stalin’s purges when he was only 42. That Wikipedia article and Gould’s introduction will give you a basic idea of the man’s life and fate; for a look at him in his prime, I’ll quote from Chukovsky’s Diary, 1901-1969, the entry for 27 August, 1933 (Chukovsky is visiting Yalta):
Tabidze, the tamada [toastmaster], sat at the head of the table; corpulent and lethargic, he was a born tamada. He immediately toasted Marya Borisovna [C’s wife] and me (and even mentioned my Shevchenko article and my book From Chekhov to Our Times).[…]
The tamada‘s toasts were very lofty in style: “Beauty has its obligations.” “Beauty will save the world.” “The holy family of Boris Pasternak, Boris Pilnyak, and Boris Bugaev” [the real name of Andrey Bely] (three writers who had visited Georgia).[…] Tabidze drank continually, and the toasts went on for three and a half hours. [. . .] Tabidze recited Blok, and the poems seemed to gain in beauty from his Georgian accent. Tabidze is a former symbolist in the Russo-Gallic vein, a vestige of that great poetic period, and his drunken poetic wails evoked the spirit of 1908-10. His face resembles Oscar Wilde’s when swollen with absinthe. For ten years now he’s been collecting material for a novel about Shamil.
My niggling linguistic question: why is his name ტიციან [titsian] in Georgian, and not ტიციანი [titsiani]? I thought final -i was pretty much de rigueur; the painter Titian is ტიციანი [titsiani], for example.