Sophene Books and the Dawn of a New Era for Classical and Medieval Armenian Literature

A wonderful new publishing initiative by Sophene Books now makes classical and medieval Armenian texts available in dual language editions, with Classical Armenian and English on facing pages. Some of the texts available include Yeghishe’s History of Vardan and the Armenian War, Matthew of Edessa’s Chronicle, Sebeos’ History, and many others.

The Zohrab Information Center’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Director, Dr. Jesse S. Arlen, wrote an article for the Armenian Mirror-Spectator on the importance of this new series for all interested in Classical Armenian and its literary treasure: Sophene Books and the Dawn of a New Era for Classical and Medieval Armenian Literature

“The (im)possibility of Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation, the Toll of Sacrifice and the Tremors of Trauma and Love.” A Lecture by Jennifer Manoukian. Tuesday, June 13.

The Candidate coverJennifer Manoukian will present a lecture entitled Zareh Vorpouni and the Metamorphosis of Western Armenian Literature at the Zohrab Center on Tuesday, June 13 at 7PM. The presentation comes on the heels of Manoukian’s new English translation of the French-Armenian author’s 1967 novel, The Candidate.

Zareh Vorpouni was the least known, but the most prolific in a coterie of young writers who turned Paris of the 1920’s and 1930’s into the epicenter of Western Armenian literature. These writers deliberately broke with their Ottoman Armenian predecessors in theme and form, staging an outright rebellion against them. Their invention of new literary standards and their impulse to represent the new realities of the diaspora challenged the conservatism of the Armenian community and created a fleeting period in which interrogations of nationalism, clericalism and sexuality became the norm in literature.

Manoukian-Photo
Jennifer Manoukian has published works by Zabel Yessayan and Zareh Vorpouni.

Vorpouni spent the second half of the twentieth century at the height of his creativity. “He embodies the new, the experimental, and the transgressive in Western Armenian fiction,” writes Manoukian.

Jennifer Manoukian is a translator of Western Armenian literature. She will begin her doctoral studies at U.C.L.A. in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in the fall. She received her Master’s degree from the Department of Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University and her Bachelor’s degree in French and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutger’s University. She recently presented her 2014 English translation of Zabel Yessayan’s The Gardens of Silihdar at the Zohrab Center.

Vorpouni 1967
Zareh Vorpouni was one of the most prolific Armenian authors in mid-twentieth century Paris.

Vorpouni’s novel, The Candidate, follows the trials and travails of two Armenian refugees in 1920s Paris. At its core, Manoukian reveals “a commentary on the (im)possibility of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, the toll of sacrifice and the tremors of trauma and love, which mirror the wandering, introspective and hybridized life of its author,” she writes.
Manoukian will speak about The Candidate, which she co-translated with Ishkhan Jinbashian. CLICK HERE to download a flyer.2017-06 ManoukianVorpouni.001
Manoukian’s presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York on Tuesday, June 13 at 7PM. The event is free and open to the public. Copies of The Candidate will be available for sale. A reception and conversation will follow.
For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.
 

20th Century Armenian Literature in France. Book Presentation by Christopher Atamian. Tuesday, May 23 7PM.

Beledian50YearsCoverA critically-acclaimed survey of Armenian literature in twentieth-century France will be presented at the Zohrab Center on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 7PM by Christopher Atamian, translator of the newly-published English edition.

Fifty Year of Armenian Literature in France, by Krikor Beledian, examines Armenian literature as it emerged in France between 1922 and the beginning of the 1970’s. Its goals are several; first of all, to retrace the literary history of the period starting with Armenian immigration until the passing away of the movement’s main representatives. Then by examining the most significant works, to study the issues raised by a literature of exile, one born after an event that was experienced and interpreted as a “national catastrophe”: the identity crisis (the Same), brought about by a violent confrontation with a new environment (the Other), the emergence of a new identity and the long process to integrate exile and the foreign space.2017-05 AtamianBeledian.001

CLICK HERE to download a flyer.

French-Armenian writer and critic Krikor Beledian was born in Beirut, Lebanon where he attended the renowned Armenian “Jemaran” Preparatory School before moving to Paris in 1967.  He holds PhDs in Philosophy and in Comparative Literature from the University of Paris V.

Entitled Cinquante ans de littérature arménienne en France: Du même à l’autre in its original French edition, the work was published in Paris in 2001 and met with wide critical acclaim.

AtamianChristopher
Christopher Atamian will present his newly-published English edition of Krikor Beledian’s Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France on May 23 at the Zohrab Center.

Christopher Atamian is a frequent visitor to the Zohrab Center, where he has spoken many times, most recently as coordinator of the popular ZIC Film Series. A native New Yorker, Atamian is an internationally known writer, translator, journalist, critic and filmmaker. He writes for publications such as the New York Times Book Review, The Huffington Post, The Beirut Daily Star, the New Criterion, Dance Magazine and is the former dance critic for The New York Press. He produced the OBIE Award-winning play Trouble in Paradise and was included in the 2009 Venice Biennale for his video Sarafian’s Desire. He has translated five books and written one novel and is currently at work on several book projects, one translation, a book of Bedros Keljik stories as editor, and a second novel, as well as producing and directing television, film and theater and his first anthology of poetry, which follows on his being included in An Anthology of Armenian Poets. Atamian is the recipient of numerous grants, awards and fellowships including the Tololyan Literary Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, a John Harvard Fellowship, the Bronfman Fellowship in Democratic Enterprise at Columbia University, Gulbenkian and AGBU grants, an AFFMA film making grant, and a 2015 Ellis Island Award. His lectures at the Zohrab Information Center on film are part of his work, “Deconstructing Ararat,” a volume on Armenian Cinema which is forthcoming. He is fluent in ten languages and is an alumnus of Harvard University, Columbia Business School and USC Film School.

The book presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York at 7PM. Books will be available for sale. All are welcome and a reception will follow.

For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

Learn! Grow! Inspire! 2015 Spring Lecture Series

ZZohrab.001The Zohrab Center presents a rich and varied program of lectures, book presentations, and other stimulating opportunities for enrichment and edification this Winter and Spring. Armenians and anyone interested in Armenian civilization, arts, letters, and faith will find many options to learn, to grow and to inspire others.

A new study on Armenian music, a guide to the Armenian Church’s Holy Week ceremonies, a photographic album of the old Armenian community of Bourj-Hammoud, a Genocide-era novel, and a new travelogue of historic western Armenia will all be showcased by their authors. In addition, noted scholars will hold forth on various facets of Armenian Studies, including Vartan Matossian, Helen Evans and Roberta Ervine. A movie night and other events are also planned.

The Zohrab Center is collaborating with several sister organizations and parishes to co-sponsor some events.

All events are open to the public and most are free of charge. Unless otherwise noted, all presentations take place at the Zohrab Center (Armenian Diocese, New York). Check back frequently for updates and additions. For further information contact ZIC at info@zohrabcenter.org or (212) 686-0710.

ZIC Schedule of Events Spring 2015

Thursday, February 5 (7PM)
“Code Name Haiko: Discovering the Last Unknown Participant in Talaat Pasha’s Liquidation” Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Armenian National Education Committee

Thursday, February 12
Commemoration of St. Vartan and His Companions. Divine Liturgy and Dinner followed by Lecture. Co-sponsored with St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral
“An Anthropologist Considers St. Vartan: Faith, Nation and Memory” Lecture by Christopher Sheklian, University of Chicago

Thursday, February 19 (7PM)
St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, NJ

The Life and Work of 19th-Century Armenian Composer Kristapor Gara-Murza. Book Presentation by Krikor Pidejian with Şahan Arzruni.

Thursday, March 5 (7PM)
Co-sponsored with Eastern Diocese Department of Armenian Studies
Portraits of Survival: The Armenians of Bourj Hammoud. Book Presentation by Ariane Ateshian Delacampagne.

Thursday, March 12 (7PM)
A.G.B.U. Center, New York

Historic Armenia after 100 Years. Book Presentation by Matthew Karamian

Thursday, March 19 (7PM)
“A Guided Tour of Holy Week in the Armenian Church” Lecture and Book Presentation by Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Zohrab Information Center/St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

Wednesday, April 8 (7PM)
“Picking Up the Pieces: Three Bishops and Their Vision for the Armenian Church circa 1920” Lecture by Dr. Roberta Ervine, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

Thursday, April 16 (7PM)
Co-sponsored with the Eastern Diocese Department of Armenian Studies
The Martyred Armenian Writers 1915-1922. Book presentation by Herand Markarian

Thursday, April 30 (7PM)
“Armenian Art: Voice of a People” Dr. Helen Evans, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, June 2 (7PM)
The Survivor. Book Presentation: Rosemary Hartounian Cohen.

A Poetry Evening at ZIC. Thursday, October 23

The Zohrab Information Center will host an evening of original poetry on Thursday, October 23 at 7:00PM.

Nancy Agabian
Nancy Agabian

Featured will be three American-Armenian poets: Nancy Agabian, Lola Koundakjian, and Alan Semerdjian. They have chosen to read works that have been inspired by the Zohrab Center’s rich book collection.

Award-winning author Nancy Agabian is a part-time faculty member of the NYU Gallatin School. She was a Fulbright scholar to Armenia in 2006-7.

Alan Semerdjian
Alan Semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a poet, teacher, musician and artist, whose acclaimed collection of poems, In the Architecture of Bone, explorees issues of Genocide and survival.

Lola Koundakjian
Lola Koundakjian

Making her second visit to the Zohrab Center to read her work, Lola Koundakjian is an internationally acclaimed and published poet whose work has been translated into Spanish and Ukrainian. She is curator of the online Armenian Poetry Project.

The Evening of Poetry will place at the Zohrab Center of the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York.

2014-10 PoetryEvening.001CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FLYER.

All are welcome to attend. Suggested donation is $5. Students with ID will be admitted free. A reception and refreshments will follow.

For further information, contact us at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710. #ZICPoetry

 

The Gardens of Silihadar. Book Presentation by Jennifer Manoukian on Tuesday, May 6

2014-04 SilihdarThe Zohrab Center will host a book presentation by Jennifer Manoukian, whose new, English translation of the autobiography of Zabel Yessayan entitled, The Gardens of Silihdar, has just been published. The event is being co-sponsored by the Armenian Network of America Greater New York Region.

The presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 6 at 2014 at 7PM at the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York.

Author, educator and social activist Zabel Yessayan (1878-1943) is today recognized as one of the greatest writers in Western Armenian literature. Her poignant 1935 autobiography displays the fierce determination of an Ottoman era Armenian intellectual who refused to accept the restrictions placed on women in Ottoman Turkey, and affords a vivid account of Armenian community life in Constantinople at the end of the nineteenth century.

Jennifer Manoukian, an authority on the writings of Zabel Yessayan, will present her newly-published English translation of Yessayan's autobiography at the ZIC
Jennifer Manoukian, an authority on the writings of Zabel Yessayan, will present her newly-published English translation of Yessayan’s autobiography at the ZIC

Jennifer Manoukian, is a graduate of Rutger’s University and a former Zohrab Center intern. She is an accomplished translator and an authority on the writings of Yessayan. She recently published a translation of an essay by the 19th-century novelist Srpouhi Dussap (née Vahanian) entitled, Women’s Inactivitywhich addresses social struggles particular to Armenian women.

At her Zohrab presentation Manoukian will present The Gardens of Silihdar, and introduce the life and work of Zabel Yessayan, a bold, one-of-a-kind figure in Western Armenian literature. The presentation is free and open to the public. A wine and cheese reception will follow, during which attendees may purchase the book.

CLICK HERE to download a flyer. #ZICZabel

In her long and eventful life, Zabel Yessayan never strayed from her beliefs, despite often facing both governmental and social pressures. Continue reading “The Gardens of Silihadar. Book Presentation by Jennifer Manoukian on Tuesday, May 6”

Treasures from ZIC: Zvartnots Literary and Art Review

photo 1The Zohrab Center recently received a dozen early issues of the Armenian periodical Zvartnots. The journal of literature and art was published intermittently in Paris from 1929 to 1964. The precious issues were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hagop and Sylvia of Boyajian of Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

The Zohrab Center is the only library in the United States to hold these issues.

Zvartnots contains original poems, short stories, essays, literary criticism and articles on aspects of Armenian arts and music by Armenian authors. As well, the reader will discover Armenian translations of noted non-Armenian authors of the day. Among the contributors were some of the giants of twentieth century Armenian literature and art including Vahan Tekeyan, Arshag Chobanyan, Hagop Oshagan, Yeghishe Charents, Shahan Shanhur, Shavarsh Nartuni, Nvart Kalpakian, Nigoghos Sarafian, Gurgen Mahari,and a host of mysterious pen-names.

Alongside marvelous poems and short literary pieces, the inaugural issue features an Armenian translation of an essay by the Austrian philosopher and novelist Stefan Zweig; an article on pre-Christian Armenian architecture by the great historian of architecture Toros Toromanian; and  a tribute to Franz Schubert on the hundredth anniversary of his death by a very young Ara Bartevian, who would later become a well-known musician, composer and choral conductor.

Indeed, in the preface to the first issue of Zvartnots, the editor, Hrant Paluian, stresses that the new journal would be “the refuge for those young people who have been held captive to the aged caretakers of our literature.” True to the secularism of the moment, he  continues sardonically:

The residents of Zvartnots, with angelic innocence, have been purified of political passions, partisan enmities and ridiculous heresies. They have been purged of religious and moral prejudices. They believe only in Armenian literature and art.

The word Zvartnots derives from the Armenian zvartunk, literally, “vigilant ones,” the angels who serve God joyfully and tirelessly, and who serve as models of the Christian life. The name was given to the famous seventh-century round church in Etchmiadzin, the ruins of which can be seen today.

The Zohrab Center’s new issues of this marvelous testament to Armenian intellectual vitality between the World Wars in Europe have been added to the ZIC online catalogue. Anyone interested in perusing them is welcome to visit the Center or to contact the staff for questions and further assistance.

MDF