Christopher Atamian to Speak on Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France

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FRESNO — Author and translator Christopher Atamian will present a lecture titled “Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France: A Zenith of Diasporan Writing” at 7:30 p.m., on Friday, September 8, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191 on the Fresno State campus.

The book of the same name was published as Volume 6 in the Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno in 2016.

This is the first presentation in the Armenian Studies Program Fall Lecture series, which is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

Atamian’s seminal translation of Krikor Beledian’s Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France: 1922-1972, brings this important work to the English-reading public for the first time. Beledian wrote his opus—part essay, part text book—in French: he traces the fascinating history of a group of forty or so Armenian writers, mainly Genocide survivors, who all regrouped in Paris after the Great Catastrophe of 1915. There, while working during the day in factories they composed a stunning body of work which included poetry, prose, theatrical plays, philosophical musings and even medical treatises.

Their writing was at times conservative and at others as experimental and groundbreaking as those of their leading European colleagues. One wrote luminescent poetry reminiscent of Verlaine: another repatriated to Soviet Armenia only to be killed by the Armenian secret police; another wrote one of the most important Armenian novels of the 20th century; yet another was deported and gassed at Auschwitz. Sarafian, Yessayan, Vorpuni, Nartuni, Sema, Lass… Come discover a lost world of writers and poets, love and intrigue, politics and faith.

Copies of Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France (in English) will be on sale at the lecture.

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Atamian is a writer, filmmaker and translator. He also writes for the New York Times Book Review, The Weekly Standard and the New York Press. He increasingly spends his hours writing mainstream projects but remains attached to writing about and disseminating Armenian culture and literature in different ways, whether as a writer, journalist, editor or translator.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

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