James Russell to Speak on Misak Medzarents and His Poems

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FRESNO —Dr. James Russell will speak on Misak Medzarents: The Complete Lyric Poems at 7 p.m. (Pacific time) on Thursday, March 11. The presentation is part of the Spring 2021 Lecture Series of the Armenian Studies Program.

Misak Medzarents, 1886-1908, was the second great lyric poet of the Western Armenian language after Bedros Tourian. During his tragically short life he published several slim volumes of verse. The poems are written in a complex and allusive language that deploys ancient Armenian, local dialect and the vocabulary of Symbolism.

Prof. James Russell

Misak Medzarents: The Complete Lyric Poems is a translation and commentary by Russell of Medzarents’ complete works, the first of its kind in any foreign language, complementing James Russell’s previous work, Bosphorus Nights, of Bedros Tourian. The Complete Lyric Poems include more than 180 poems written by Medzarents, and includes the Armenian text of his poems.

In the commentary accompanying each poem Dr. Russell has endeavored to analyze at length and in detail the particulars of language (reduplicative and alliterative patterns, etymological points, plays of intertextuality and allusion, and so on) and the dense thematic content, with its frequent echoes of literary and mythological imagery going far back into the Armenian past. Medzarents’ poems are gorgeous to read and can be enjoyed without one’s plunging into their depths. Misak Medzarents: The Complete Lyric Poems, is volume 12 of the Armenian Series of The Press at Fresno State.

Russell is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University, Emeritus, and now lives in Fresno. He is the author of a number of books including Zoroastrianism in Armenia, The Heroes of Kasht: An Armenian Epic, and Bosphorous Nights: The Complete Lyric Poems of Bedros Tourian. He is the author of several hundred articles and monographs.

Zoom Registration Link: https://bit.ly/armenianstudiesrussell

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