The Fool: Events from the Last Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78

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9780953519187: The Fool: Events from the Last Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78

Set at the time of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, "The Fool" provides invaluable glimpses into social conditions in western Armenia at the time. It portrays the development of an Armenian civil rights movement in Ottoman Turkey.

"The Fool" is an account of a heroic struggle to defend ordinary people from the depredations and avarice of Ottoman authorities, neighboring peoples, and a corrupt Armenian establishment. It is the story of a revolutionary struggle to establish a just and civil society in Armenia.

This historical novel has served as an "I have a dream" speech for generations of Armenians.

In the course of a romantic and hopeful novel, Raffi depicts in detail the way of life of Armenian peasants, their psychology, and the conditions under which they survived. He also portrays the central ideas that fuelled Armenian radical intellectuals of the day.

"The Fool" is arguably the single most important work of literature dealing with the Armenian Question in Ottoman Turkey. Raffi depicts many of the actual figures and settings involved in the events of the time. The classical clarity and drama of its dialogue, the Armenian aphorisms that play such an important role throughout the story, the philosophical depth and moral passion embodied in it all make this novel a remarkable encounter with one of the greatest creative minds in modern Armenian history.

Donald Abcarian's new translation includes extensive notes and a glossary.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Back Cover:

"In 'Khente' (The Fool) [Raffi's] hero dreamed of Armenia's future in two hundred years--a peaceful land of happy, industrious, educated people who no longer lived under persecution, domination, and fear; a united Armenia with a representative government and socialization of important industries." --Louise Nalbandian, author of "The Armenian Revolutionary Movement" (1963)

This historical novel has served as an "I have a dream" speech for generations of Armenians.

Raffi introduced the Russian-Armenian reader of the 1880s to the plight of Turkish Armenians and juxtaposed that plight and an optimistic vision for the future. "The Fool"'s story of despair and hope has served as an inspiration for each succeeding generation of Armenian readers.

In this excerpt, Raffi's hero, Vartan, is in Armenia circa 2078:

"You were talking about the sad times of the Kurds and the Turks," Vartan's host continued with a special happiness in his voice, "But after those days, a great many changes took place. Do you see those breathtaking mountains? Well, a century and a half ago, they were totally bare, without so much as a shrub on them. In those days the trees were destroyed by the barbarians with the same cruelty that the people had been destroyed. Everything was gone; the people used dried dung for fuel, for there wasn't any wood left, and they were forced to dig into the earth to live. But when peace returned, hosts of people came back to the destroyed towns, and the mountains became covered with forests, all planted by our hard-working, dedicated villagers."

"Few modern Armenian writers can rival the impact and appeal of Raffi." --Kevork B. Bardakjian, Professor of Armenian Literature, University of Michigan

About the Author:

Raffi (né Hakob Melik-Hakobian) was born in 1835 in Bayajuk, near Salmas, in northwestern Persia. He died in Tiflis in 1888. He was a prolific and popular writer who contributed to Krikor Ardzrouni's Tiflis-based liberal periodical, Mshak (Cultivator). Among his other principal works of fiction are Jalaleddin, Gharib Mshetsi (The exile from Moush), Khachagoghi Hishatakarane (The diary of a cross-stealer), Kaitzer (Sparks), Davit Bek, and Samuel.

Donald Abcarian was born and raised in Fresno, California, where his family was part of the extensive Armenian-American community that has settled there since the turn of the century. His earliest influences, including the Armenian language, derived from that milieu. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in philosophy, and has pursued a lifelong interest in languages and world literature.

Having studied several European languages over the years, Abcarian in 1996 took up the challenge of learning to decipher the written language of his ancestors. This translation is the culmination of that process.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Raffi
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