Category Archives: LITERARY CRITICISM

THE TRACE OF THE DRAMA “ON THE WAY TO THE HEAVEN” BY HAKOB OSHAKAN – 2022-3

Summary

Suren D. Danielyan

The article examines the drama “On the Way to the Heaven” (1936) by Hakob Oshakan, which shows national-political theme and together with dramas “When we know to die” and “Stephannos Syunetsi” completes the author’s perceptions regarding the historical and moral questions. In particular, the relationship between Oshakan’s drama and other genres, such as short stories and novels, the experience of a new genre matter is emphasized.

This five-act drama, which with its genre features appeals to mystery of tragedy, was first published in 1936 in Boston’s “Hairenik” weekly, and half a century later in Beirut, edited by Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, with the preface of Elo Sarajian’s “On the Occasion of Publication”.

The material of the drama “On the Way to the Heaven” suggests the immediate beginning of the1915 genocide and the elimination. The article presents the peculiarities of Oshakan’s character formation through Armenian (Knar, Ter Nersess, protestant priests), German (von Elena Adler, Rita) and Turkish characters (Khalil, Ibrahim) and their various conflicts, where each of them is positioned according to its national inclinations and interests. Regardless of the efforts made by the author to show the development of the character in case of Khalil, a Turk with a European education, he remains convinced that the same education will not help him to get rid of his instincts. Along with the national questions, the scenes of the women collision are alos presented with the aim at keeping the intrigue of the drama awake.

The Armenian Knar stands out among the characters, which is the focus of the intrigue mentioned above. She was a developed, struggling, powerful, often lonely woman who used the pasha’s position to rescue caravans sentenced to death. She comes out at the same time against the German, Turkish atrocities and self-defense Armenian clergy, sometimes with open flags of struggle.

The wording of the article is considering the system of approaches and judgment of Elo Sarajian, Krikor Beledian and himself Hakob Oshakan.

The conclusion is, that Hakob Oshakan’s drama “On the way to the Heaven”, the title of which suggests the way of Armenians’ elimination and death of people, preserves emotion, psychological completeness of the characters. And the multiplicity of these characters is a sign of special styling in itself.

TEXT AND ONTOLOGY – 2022-2

Metaphysics of Mutual Penetration in Hovhannes Tumanyan’s and Avetik Isahakyan’s poetry

Naira V. Hambardzumyan
The infinity of the text is formed in the domain of the author’s balanced energy although it is possible to break that balance and emerge into the domain of everlasting changes and movement of a language, creating the dynamic utterance of the text, which ensures the passability of its form [as modus], implementing and realizing the process of structural formation of the text in the domains of the assumed boundaries and intersecting forms. The form is itself a visual-spatial image or symbol and is related to the text-author conversation in the context of subconscious + utterance + form = content; therefore, spatial image + form domain is considered as a boundary because in the ontological domain the same text is created as [Word + Word + Word + Word + ∞ = thought] reality, undergoing changes (or not). In this context, the structural possibilities of the text and the changes conditioned by it, as an unstable whole, are opposed to the part-whole unity, creating incoming and outgoing abstractions where the part relates to the whole, interpreting the text as a heteropolar structure. These actions and relations enable viewing the text as a cosmic microsystem in the domain of its integrity.

 

“THE LAND OF AMENTI” IN YEGHISHE CHARENTS’S POETRY AND IN WORLD LITERATURE – 2022-2

Summary

Seyran Z. Grigoryan
The article discusses the poetic symbol of Amenti in the poetry of the early period of Armenian poet Yeghishe Charents. In 1916-1919 the young symbolist poet wrote several poems in which he described a conditional area that expresses the idea of human immortality and is called the “Land of Amentia” or “Country of Amenti”. According to the author’s notes, he used ancient Egyptian mythology, where there was a doctrine of the immortality of the soul and an afterlife that embodies this idea, which was called Amenti. In the commentary to one of his poems from the collection “Rainbow” (1917), Ye. Charents explains this world in the following way: “Amenti – Sunset, afterlife in Egyptian mythology”. He intended to write a whole book of poetry called “Amenti”. This idea was not fully realized, but in some works of the book “Rainbow” and in the poem “Personal Song” (1919), the poet partially expressed his ideas.

The Land of Amenti existed in the mythology and literature of Ancient Egypt. It is depicted in more details in the ancient Egyptian “Book of the Dead”. It describes the entrance of the deceased to the afterlife, the test of his soul, which takes place in the presence of the lord of the Realm of Souls – god Osiris. During the trial, the heart of the deceased is weighed, and the deceased makes a negative defensive confession. The weighing of the heart of the deceased is carried out by Horus – the son of Osiris, and the guide of the dead Anubis – a god with the head of a jackal. If it turns out that the deceased lived a pure life, his soul appears in Amenti and becomes immortal.

The Land of Amenti was studied by famous Egyptologists. His artistic image was created by many European and Russian writers – T. Gautier, G. Ebers, B. Prus, O. Wilde, I. Bunin, V. Khlebnikov and others. Of all the writers, the Russian symbolist poet Konstantin Balmont was most often and deeply addressed to the Land of Amenti. He translated several chapters from the “Book of the Dead”, traveled around Egypt and wrote a book of essays “The Land of Osiris” about the Realm of Souls of the ancient Egyptians, as well as poems about Amenti.

The analysis of the texts indicates that Ye. Charents was familiar with ancient Egyptian sources and new literature depicting the Land of Amenti. But, being a symbolist poet, Yeghishe Charents was most of all influenced by the work of one of the largest representatives of Russian symbolism K. Balmont. His works were written in Russian, which was the only foreign language available for the Armenian poet. In addition, they were published several years before the idea of the book “Amenti” by Ye. Charents appeared – in 1908-1914. His poems have ideological, psychological and artistic similarities with the works of K. Balmont.

Using the rich experience of world literature, Ye. Charents created a symbol of the Land of Amenti in Armenian. This is the only example of the artistic interpretation of the ancient Egyptian Realm of Souls in Armenian literature.

TEXT AND ONTOLOGY – 2022-2

Metaphysics of Mutual Penetration in Hovhannes Tumanyan’s and Avetik Isahakyan’s poetry

Naira V. Hambardzumyan
The infinity of the text is formed in the domain of the author’s balanced energy although it is possible to break that balance and emerge into the domain of everlasting changes and movement of a language, creating the dynamic utterance of the text, which ensures the passability of its form [as modus], implementing and realizing the process of structural formation of the text in the domains of the assumed boundaries and intersecting forms. The form is itself a visual-spatial image or symbol and is related to the text-author conversation in the context of subconscious + utterance + form = content; therefore, spatial image + form domain is considered as a boundary because in the ontological domain the same text is created as [Word + Word + Word + Word + ∞ = thought] reality, undergoing changes (or not). In this context, the structural possibilities of the text and the changes conditioned by it, as an unstable whole, are opposed to the part-whole unity, creating incoming and outgoing abstractions where the part relates to the whole, interpreting the text as a heteropolar structure. These actions and relations enable viewing the text as a cosmic microsystem in the domain of its integrity.

 

DANIEL VARUZHAN’S METRIC ART – 2022-1

Ashkhen Ed. Jrbashyan
The article is dedicated to the study of the metric art of Daniel Varuzhan, one of the brightest representatives of Western Armenian poetry. His first collection of poems, “Tremors” (1906), was written on the metric principles developed by the Mkhitarist philologists. Critics then noted that in this book Varuzhan is making his first steps, and he still has a long way to achieve poetic mastery. In particular, the rhymes and poetic forms he used were considered unfortunate and inappropriate.

Varuzhan’s second collection, “Heart of the Nation” (1909), already marked the birth of a mature poet. The heroic spirit permeating this collection, the naturalness of speech, the spontaneous flow of images, gave his poetry a new impulse and quality and found a unique expression in metric forms. Here we find a large number of astrophic and non-rhymed verses. Varuzhan’s attitude to rhyme has changed somewhat since the 1910s. If earlier he denied the role of rhyme and considered it “backward”, then in “Pagan Songs” (1912) he gradually increased the proportion of rhyming poems, giving them a new sound. His poetry also used new ways, new methods and means of constructing poetic stanzas. Without abandoning astrophic verses, Varuzhan was simultaneously looking for new stanza forms, he also used one of the most beloved solid forms of Western Armenian poets – the sonnet. It should be noted that both of his latest collections open with sonnets, which are more suitable for the holistic transmission of the main ideological tendencies of poetic cycles.

Varuzhan used a unique structure and metric forms in his latest collection “Song of Bread”, which the poet never managed to finish. The book was published a few years after his death – in 1921, based on 29 poems published in the press. Literary criticism has long noticed the direct influence of idyllic and instructive poems of world literature, the traditions of which date back to ancient literature, the Renaissance and Classicism, on Varuzhan’s last collection. Obviously, Varuzhan does not repeat the structure and form of these works, but they certainly were a powerful incentive for the general idea of the cycle to promote new creative ideas and forms. The collection “Song of Bread” is formed as a complete and constructive poem, where all the poems have a solid stanza structure and rhyming lines. In this cycle we see not only new ways of constructing stanzas, but also metric forms that were not previously used in his poems.

It can be argued that the poetry of Varuzhan is a solid and integral system of poetic forms and structures. Changes from one collection to another should be seen as a natural result of the legitimate development of this system and the maturation of poetic talent.

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN RAFFI’S IDEOLOGICAL CONCEPTUALIZATION – 2022-1

Ashot N. Hayruni
In the second half of the 19th century during the process of the search for a national salvation, Raffi also had to take into consideration and reflect upon economic problems, which, under foreign tyranny, in the face of increasing pressure on the Armenian people, had not only economic, but also political significance. Hence, it was not by chance, that these economic problems occupied a key place in Raffi’s works.

This article sheds light on the economic hardships faced by the Armenian people during this time and Raffi’s ideological views on how to solve these problems.

Raffi reflected upon the Armenian merchant and usurer class and gave a factual outline of key aspects that were common to the above noted class. He pointed out that this class was unable to evolve and establish the new economic conditions that were needed. As such, he proposed the creation of a new “scientific trade”, which would be based upon a harmonious blend of professional education and national-moral values, which according to Raffi was necessary to overcome the growing economic problems of this period.

The writer also placed a great deal of importance on the idea of giving “free land” to the toilers, which according to him, had to be realized by the Armenian Church and political institutions and thus could prevent the growing emigration of Armenian peasantry from its native land.

Raffi presented these and many other similar ideas on solving the Armenian economic vows, in not only his public articles, but as well as his literally works, in which he made many of the leading characters his mouthpieces for examining these issues.

Raffi juxtaposes Petros Masisyan (“Golden Rooster”), Chanchur Ivanich (“Zahrumar”), Agha Paronov (“One like this, the other like that”), and his other literary characters representing this class, with other characters, who he tasks with not only presenting solutions to the economic problems, but also developing new economic relations within the Armenian reality. These characters, including Mikayel (“Golden Rooster”) and Ruben Arusyan (“One like this, the other like that”), are imbued with a sense of morality and after acquiring highly professional training, through their actions show the way for the establishment of what Raffi calls “scientific trade”. These characters are also endowed with a moral compass of wanting to serve the national interests of the Armenian society at large. They believe that wealth, first and foremost, is for the common good and by conducting fair trade and business, they also advance Armenian cultural life by doing charity work for countless Armenian social projects and helping members of the intelligentsia. Through their actions, they affirm the important bond that unites “scientific trade” with the highest interests of the people and the homeland, with the latter being given primacy and preference by the author. Thus, Raffi considers an important prerequisite for the establishment of new economic reality the harmonious merger of professional training with a sense of personal morality.

The establishment of “scientific trade” along with the development of new economic methods are closely intertwined with Raffi’s views on school reform and in this regard, these two aspects complete each other. The author’s advanced knowledge of different professional trades is astonishing. When the situation presents itself, Raffi shows himself to be an agriculturalist, an economist and if required, also a theoretician and researcher who examines the problems associated within the given profession.

A HISTORICAL GLIMPSE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF FRAME STORY – 2021-4

Sona K. Alaverdyan
The term “frame story” is generally defined as a narrative that frames or
surrounds another story or set of stories. As a literary concept it appeared in the
European culture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the earliest examples
of this type of literary work (Egyptian “Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor”, “Westcar
Papyrus”, “The Eloquent Peasant”, Indian Vedic Literature, “Mahabharata”,
“Ramayana”, later “Panchatantra”) date back to ancient literature.

The traditions of frame story continued later as well however it received
proper attention and is firmly established in the panorama of the history and theory
of literature due to such monumental works, as Giovanni Boccaccio’s
“Decameron”, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, “One Thousand and
One Nights”, the structure of which significantly influenced on the works of later
writers and moved the theorists’ curiosity.

The genre of frame story received a new breath, meaning, and application in
the 19th century, due to the German literature. It was the preferred genre of some
prominent writers of the era such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (“Conversations
of German Refugees”), Clemens Brentano (“The Tale of the Honest Casper and
Fair Annie”), Wilhelm Hauff (“The Spessart Inn”), Franz Grillparzer (“The
Monastery of Sendomir’’, “The Poor Musician”), Gottfried Keller (“The People
from Seldwyla”, “Zurich Novellas”, “Epigram”), Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (“The
Monk’s Wedding”), Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (“The Serapion
Brethren”), etc.

Since almost the same time, it has penetrated the gradually evolving Gothic
novel, providing an opportunity to create new images of the relationship of reality
and unreality. Almost all canonical Gothic novels are works of the genre of the
frame story (Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto”, Ann Radcliffe’s “The
Mysteries of Udolpho”, Matthew Lewis “The Monk”, Charles Maturin’s “Melmoth
the Wanderer”, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, Walter Scott’s “Tales of My Landlord”,
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”, James Hogg’s “The
Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner”, Emily Bronte’s
“Wuthering Heights”, Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw”, Joseph Conrad’s
“Heart of Darkness”, etc.).

On the horizon of literature, frame story was reborn in the postmodern
period and continues to be in the center of writers’ attention to this day as a suitable
platform for satisfying modern literary interests, which conditions the
contemporaneity of the research into the problem.

Taking into account the fact that the clarification of the issue requires rich
factual material and a large period in this article, we have been satisfied with a
brief interpretation of the key issues. It is assumed that this work does not present
the complete history of the genre but emphasizes its origins, structure, key features,
the study of continuous changes in the historical process, and the outline of general
models of the genre for each stage of development. The scientific novelty of the
study is to initiate an attempt at the thorough examination of this disputable issue
of the development of the history of the Armenian literary criticism.

THE SATIRE AND THE TRAGEDY IN THE NOVEL “PHONY GENIUSES” BY ZABEL YESAYAN – 2021-1

Summary

Hayk A. Hovhannisyan
The article is about the satirical novel “Phony Geniuses” which was written by Zabel Yesayan. In it, the author depicts the life of the young Armenian intelligentsia, who were living in Paris at that time. Yesayan clearly shows how the wrong assessment of the society turns a talented man into lazy, haughty and selfassured person.

In this work we have tried to refer to the prototype of the novel. We tried to show the obvious similarity of Intra – one of the modern writers to the main character of the novel. Most likely, Zabel Yesayan did not like the selfcontainedness of Intra’s literature, the sheer size of his self-image. That is why she criticizes the literature of her main character in the novel.

In the article we referred to the peculiarities of Zabel Yesayan’s satire showing the unity of satire and tragedy. Even the most satirical images of Yesayan have a tragic sublayer and the author’s pain is clearly seen in the composition.

Zabel Yesayan’s novel “Phony Geniuses” is a realistic work, it stands out with its high art and with a unique way of depicting reality.

RAFFI’S VIEWS ON ENLIGHTENMENT AND PEDAGOCY – 2021-2

Summary

Ashot N. Hayruni
The family and school occupied an important place in Raffi’s ideological worldview in reaching societal enlightenment and national unity. According to him, these two important social structures were important vehicles for transforming any given individual, which through enlightenment would lead to the desired success. According to Raffi, both of these institutions were not prepared and unable to serve the nation’s progress and enlightenment, since fundamentally their practices had remained in the past with inhumane beatings, punishments, with highly illiterate teachers who showed despotic behavior and lack of pedagogical skills.

While analyzing the many flaws in the upbringing and education of Armenian children within the family and schools, Raffi pointed out that these in turn greatly stifled the individual from fully understanding his or her national identity, thus effectively also hindering a proper development of the Armenian society at large. According to Raffi, the main culprit for this was the Church, which yielded greatest influence upon the society and was the main unifying factor of its members, thus, the latter could become the torchbearer for enlightenment and progress, if only it would be able to fulfill this role. After conducting a comprehensive study of the historic path of the Armenian Church, Raffi concluded that the Church had lost its moral compass and had strayed from the path of leadership. Raffi pointed out that Armenian priesthood had to undergo a reform, only after which, it could once again take up the mantle of educating and enlightening the Armenian society at large.

The writer, thus, emphasized the importance of reforming family and school education, which in turn, would transform the society by instilling within the individual ideals of enlightenment. For this task Raffi especially emphasized the important role of the Church.

According to Raffi, the school had to have a stable school curricula and methodological guidebooks, its teachers should have received specialized training, national values should have been underlined and highly emphasized in subjects like Armenian History. Raffi also placed importance in teaching Theology, in particular, teaching the children those parts of the Bible, which developed a sense of morality. Raffi also criticized the view that the religious denomination and national origin were one and the same. He pointed out that national origin and religious affiliation could not be equated, since the two had different historic origins. He pointed out that a religion of a given people would throughout history often change, thus no matter what an important role the given religion had played for a people, it could not fully constitute the totality of their national identity and existence. The core, which according to Raffi could unify all of the members of an enlightened nation and society, was national self-consciousness, which could be gained after proper understanding and self-realization of national identity, which according to him was first and foremost based upon the use of a common language.