David of Sassoun / Critical Studies on the Armenian Epic (Armenian Series)

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9780912201450: David of Sassoun / Critical Studies on the Armenian Epic (Armenian Series)
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David of Sassoun: Critical Studies on the Armenian Epic (The Press at California State University, Fresno, 2013), 228 pages, a collection of essays by the world's foremost scholars on the great oral epic of Armenia, edited by Dickran Kouymjian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, has just been published as the newest addition to the Armenian Series of Fresno State's Armenian Studies Program. David of Sassoun is the fourth title in the Armenian Series established through The Press at California State University, Fresno.The essays, by Charles Dowsett, Dickran Kouymjian, Aram Ter-Ghevondian, Earl R. Anderson, Chaké Der Melkonian-Minassian, Frédéric Feydit, Arpiné Khatchadourian, Aram Tolegian, Chaké Der Melkonian-Minassian, Vahé Oshagan, as well as an original poem on David by Ashough Hovnani, were presented at a Symposium organized by Dr. Kouymjian the year after he was invited to the campus to establish a new Program devoted to Armenian Studies. He saw it as Fresno's contribution to the commemoration of the centennial celebration of the discovery and publication of the epic poem, which had survived until the 1970s orally, passed on, generation after generation, for more than a thousand years by anonymous village bards. Every serious scholar from Armenia, France, England, Canada, and the United States who had published on the Armenian epic was invited to participate in the International Symposium entitled “David of Sassoun: The Armenian Folk Epic after a Century.” In addition to the papers of the conference, the current volume contains an introduction outlining the history of the epic as well as a concise summary of all the episodes of the official version established by a team of scholars in Erevan in 1939. The essays are as fresh today as they were when they were written despite the decades, which have passed. Also included at the beginning of the volume is a new variant, the only known version of the epic recorded anywhere in the Diaspora. Because of the publicity generated by the Symposium, Lilyan Chooljian of Fresno, present at the conference, who had recorded a recitation of the variant some years earlier, brought it to the attention of Dr. Kouymjian.Thanks to a generous grant from the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund and the M. Victoria Karagozian Kazan and Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Fund, and the efforts of Professor Der Mugrdechian to include the volume in the Armenian Series of monographs the Program sponsors, the book is now available to the general public.The critical brilliance of many of the essays, at times challenging traditional views held on the epic and how it should be presented and understood, will provide much source material for scholars.David of Sassoun: Critical Studies on the Armenian Epic is available from The Press at California State University, Fresno through its website http://shop.thepressatcsufresno.com/, email at press@csufresno.edu, by post at The Press at California State University, Fresno, 2380 East Keats Avenue M/S MB 99, Fresno, CA 93740-8024, or by calling 559-278-3056.Table of Contents Preface The History and Enigma of the Armenian Epic Dickran KOUYMJIAN (Fresno & Paris) Sasounts'i Davit': Synopsis of the Official Version of the Armenian Epic Dickran KOUYMJIAN Sasna tsrer: The Newly Discovered Sanam Stenian California Variant Introduction-Dickran KOUYMJIAN Note by the Translator-Charles DOWSETT (Oxford) Transcription of the Armenian Text-Flora CHADERJIAN-ISTANBOULIAN (Fresno) English Translation-Flora CHADERJIAN-ISTANBOULIAN & Charles DOWSETT A Twelfth Century Arabic Version of the Armenian Folk Epic Sasna tsrer Aram TER-GHEVONDIAN (Erevan) Myth on the Way to Romance: The Sassoun Cycle Earl R. ANDERSON (Cleveland) The Historical and Geographic Setting of the Armenian Epic Chaké DER MELKONIAN-MINASSIAN (Montreal) Recherches sur la composition et la construction de l'Épopée arménienne Frédéric FEYDIT (Paris) Versificiation in the Armenian Epic Charles DOWSETT The Oath and the Curse as a Source of Action in David of Sassoun Arpiné KHATCHADOURIAN (Milwaukee) The “David Cycle” of the Armenian Epic: A Comparison of Versions Aram TOLEGIAN (Los Angeles) L'image de la femme dans l'Épopée populaire arménienne David de Sassoun Chaké DER MELKONIAN-MINASSIAN A Century of David: The Effect of the Epic on Modern Armenian Literature Vahé OSHAGAN (San Francisco) The House of Giants or David of Sassoun Ashough HOVNANI (Toronto) The House of Giants or David of Sassoun (English Translation) Arra AVAKIAN (Fresno) A Critical Bibliography for the Study of David of Sassoun Dickran KOUYMJIAN & Barlow DER MUGRDECHIAN

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From the Inside Flap:

The conjuncture of the centenary commemoration of the discovery of the Armenian folk epic and the premier of a folk opera based on it, provided the catalyst for the International Symposium on “David of Sassoun: The Armenian Folk Epic after a Century,” organized by the Armenian Studies Program of California State University, Fresno and held on the university campus on November 30, 1978. Not since the 1939 celebration in Erevan, Armenia, marking the 1,000th anniversary of its creation (a date somewhat arbitrary in its choice) has there been an academic assembly whose sole purpose was to analyze the various facets of the epic.In 1977 a new program of Armenian Studies was established at Fresno State. At the same time Earl Robinson's opera “David of Sassoun” was entering production with the University Theatre. On a visit to Fresno from his home in Santa Barbara in the early 1970's, Robinson was struck by the power of the enormous bronze sculpture of David of Sassoun in downtown Fresno. He located the artist, Varaz Samuelian (1917-1995), a close friend of William Saroyan and a native of Erevan, Armenia, who after the Second World War worked in the atelier of Fernand Léger in Paris, before finally settling in Fresno. Varaz carefully explained the history of the statue and the heroic details of the saga of Sassoun. Robinson, composer of famous songs such as “The House I Live In” and operas like “Ballad of Americans,” was intrigued. After careful research, he spent several years writing the opera “David of Sassoun.” Its premier was scheduled to be at Fresno State, while Robinson was on campus as composer in residence.As Director of the Armenian Studies Program and as one who had always been interested in the elusive nature of David of Sassoun, I decided that a scholarly symposium held in the Armenian Diaspora would both introduce the richness of the epic to a large general audience and at the same time allow specialists to assess the work a hundred years after its first publication. It would also be a way to encourage more interest and research in this still little explored literary treasure.The following collection of essays represents those papers actually read or prepared for the International Symposium, “David of Sassoun: The Armenian Folk Epic after a Century.” Some are exactly as they were presented orally; others have been slightly revised, some totally changed. After an introductory essay and a concise summary of the epic, a new variant, discovered in California because of the publicity generated by the Symposium, has been added. A Critical Bibliography of David of Sassoun will be found at the end of the volume to guide those inspired by these studies to plunge deeper into Armenian epic literature.

About the Author:

Dickran Kouymjian, Haig & Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies, Emeritus, established the current Armenian Studies Program (1977) and the Center for Armenian Studies, both of which he was the Director, until his retirement in 2008. During his long teaching career he was professor at the Columbia University, American Universities in Beirut, Cairo, and Paris, as well as Yerevan State University, and Director of the Armenian Studies Department at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO) in Paris (1988-1991). He has published widely in a large number of disciplines: history, literature, art history, paleography and codicology, and genocide studies. Professor Kouymjian is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and has been decorated by His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin and His Holiness Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia. He lives in Paris.Barlow Der Mugrdechian is the Director of the Armenian Studies Program and of the Center for Armenian Studies at California State University, Fresno. He has been teaching Armenian language, history, literature, art, church, and culture courses in the Armenian Studies Program since 1985. In 1996 Der Mugrdechian received the 1995-1996 Provost's Award for Excellence. Der Mugrdechian edited the volume Between Paris and France: Armenian Studies in Honor of Dickran Kouymjian (Mazda Press, 2008), a Festschrift in honor of Professor Kouymjian. From 2001-2004 he was President of the Society for Armenian Studies. In September of 2010, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, bestowed upon Der Mugrdechian the St. Nerses Shnorhali (the Graceful) medal and encyclical for service to the Armenian Church.

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Published by Univ California State Pr at (2013)
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