Born in Constantinople (Istanbul), Heranush lost her father at the age of three, which was a great tragedy for her. She attended the French School of the Bakirkoy Sisters (French) in Constantinople beginning at the age of 10, then the Armenian Makruhyats School in the Beshiktas district. As a student she showed remarkable abilities, amazing the teachers with her essays. At the age of 15 Heranush became ill with tuberculosis and had to move to a nearby farm. She spent two years in peaceful surroundings, but was unable to defeat the terrible illness. She died at the age of 17.
While living in the country, Heranush began to write lyrical poems, novels, and short stories which were published posthumously in Hayganush Mark’s Tsaghig (Flower) newspaper. Deeply moved by reading a poem called “Kuyr me” (“A Sister”) by Hrant Nazaryan, she replied to the poet, telling him that she was lonely as well and willing to be a sister to him. Nazaryan published posthumously in 1910 in Constantinople the first collection of poetry by Arshagyan in a book titled Vehanush Arshakyan: Her Life and Poetry. Later Arshagyan’s poetry, sad but full of the love of life, attracted the attention of literary societies and professionals, who admired her work and assessed it highly. She was compared to Bedros Turyan.
Prepared by the Central State Archives, Republic of Armenia
- Arshakyan, Hoginerun artsunke, Yerevan, 1956.
Central State Archive of the Republic of Armenia, fond 420, ts. 16, g. 1.
- Hakobyan, H. Arshakyan, Vienna, 1922.
- Gabrielyan, Western Armenian Poets, Yerevan, 1974. (In Armenian)
Encyclopedia of the Republic of Armenia, v. 1, Yerevan, 1990.