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. 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. 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.
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