Haroutiun L. Kurkjian
This essay examines the conditions of possibility for the Armenian literature to accede to the world literary environment. It treats preferentially the qualitative factors, ignoring the objective ones: politic, economic or administrative (public relations, organization of translations and publication markets).
A series of attempts follow to define the intrinsic, qualitative criteria permitting such an opening of national (this term including here “ethnic” acceptation as well) literatures:
1. National cultures, in spite of periodic waves of “internationalization”, continue their way vigorously, preserving their originality, while opening to leading world cultures and integrating some of their most universal elements.
2. Works in national literatures that are potential candidates for an opening indeed draw part of their nurture in the national cultural soil, but very promptly overstep it, acceding to a kind of a global, universal “legibility”.
3. In these literatures, such an access to the world level usually is not realized by works of popular, “folkloristic” type; but, mostly, by works that express a strong and culturally “extraverted” personality.
4. Then, in a given national literature, valuable works are not, or not obligatorily at all, characterized by any “national” contents. The mere fact that they are written in the given language is enough to indicate their belonging to the corresponding literature and culture – a language being itself, ipso facto, a bearer of national style and spirit.
The present essay, moreover, distinguishes between two specific situations framing the Armenian literature: the national statehood and the diasporian dispersion; having, for each of them, corresponding conditions of possibility for an access to the world literature.
Another major thesis, such an opening should be realized not only by works of foreign-language authors of an Armenian origin, but exclusively by works initially written in Armenian (i.e. translated from an Armenian original text); and more specifically by works that, in a bound of creativity, promote the mother tongue towards a new, original quality…