English Translation of Keljik’s Armenian-American Sketches Published by Press at California State University, Fresno


FRESNO — Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Berberian Coordinator of the Armenian Studies Program, announced that the English translation of Bedros Keljik’s Armenian-American Sketches has been published by the Armenian Series of The Press, at California State University, Fresno.

“Keljik’s stories offer us a glimpse into the soul of the Armenian people, whether in their historic homeland or finding their way in America.” Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Co-editor Lou Ann Matossian familiarizes the reader to Keljik in her introduction. She discusses how author, activist, and entrepreneur Bedros Arakel Keljik (1874–1959) belongs to the founding generation of Armenian-American authors, yet his “sketches” of early immigrant life are only now emerging. Keljik was a maternal uncle of Vahan Totovents (author of Life on the Old Roman Road and other works) and an elder brother of novelist and poet Krikor Keljik (“K. Devrish”).

A foreword by co-editor Christopher Atamian discusses the genesis of the book, and the significance of its publication. He places Keljik’s works in the early history of Armenian-American literature. Atamian also notes the role of translator Aris Sevag, whose meticulous work has brought Keljik’s work to life.

Armenian-American Sketches includes 29 short stories written originally in Armenian by Bedros Keljik. Twenty of the short stories were translated by noted Aris Sevag, one by Lou Ann Matossian, and eight of the stories originally published in Hairenik, were translated by Vartan Matiossian.

The volume also includes an enlightening biography of Keljik, “An Armenian Odyssey: From the Euphrates to the Mississippi,” written by his grandchildren, Mark and Thomas Keljik. Roupen Zartarian’s “How Death Came to the Earth,” translated by Bedros Keljik, is also part of the volume.

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Edited by Christopher Atamian, Lou Ann Matossian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian-American Sketches provides a wealth of interesting stories about the early Armenian community in America.

Armenians began arriving to America in large numbers at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. They established themselves in communities throughout the United States, maintaining their Armenian culture, while also becoming acclimated to life in America. In Armenian-American Sketches, author Bedros Keljik brings to life this period in Armenian-American history. With keen observation Keljik provides the reader with an often-humorous insight into that life, with all of its sadness and joy, with the sense of community, and with the hard work and challenges faced by the immigrants. This is a book which will appeal to any reader who seeks to understand the immigrant experience in the United States.

Armenian-American Sketches (English Translation) is available through Amazon.



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