Mourning Philology: Art and Religion at the Margins of the Ottoman Empire

Mourning Philology: Art and Religion at the Margins of the Ottoman Empire


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“Pagan life seduces me a little more with each passing day. If it were possible today, I would change my religion and would joyfully embrace poetic paganism,” wrote the Armenian poet Daniel Varuzhan in 1908. During the seven years that remained in his life, he wrote largely in this “pagan” vein. If it was an artistic endeavour, why then should art be defined in reference to religion? And which religion precisely? Was Varuzhan echoing Schelling’s Philosophy of Art?

Mourning Philology draws on Varuzhan and his work to present a history of the national imagination, which is also a history of national philology, as a reaction to the two main philological inventions of the nineteenth century: mythological religion and the native. In its first part, the book thus gives an account of the successive stages of orientalist philology. The last episode in this story of national emergence took place in 1914 in Constantinople, when the literary journal Mehyan gathered around Varuzhan the great names to come of Armenian literature in the diaspora

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823255245
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 02/03/2014
Pages: 420
Product dimensions: 11.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Marc Nichanian was Professor of Armenian Studies at Columbia University from 1996 to 2007 and is currently Visiting Professor at Sabanci University, Istanbul, in the Department of Cultural Studies. His publications in English include The Historiographic Perversion and Writers of Disaster.

G.M. Goshgarian has translated from the Armenian the first part of Hagop Oshagan's epic novel Remnants, which won a PEN translation award in 2009 and the translations in Marc Nichanian's Writers of Disaster.

Jeff Fort is Associate Professor of French at the University of California, Davis, and the translator of more than a dozen books, by Jean Genet, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot, Jean-Luc Nancy, and others.

Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration
Introduction. Art, Religion, and Philology (Translated by G. M. Goshgarian)

Part I. "The Seal of Silence" (Translated by G. M. Goshgarian)
1. Variants and Facets of the Literary erection
2. Abovean and the Birth of the Native
3. Orientalism and Neo-archeology

Part II. Daniel Varuzhan: The End of Religion (Translated by Jeff Fort)
4. The Disaster of the Native
5. The Other Scene of Representation
6. Erection and Self-Sacrifice
7. The Mourning of Religion I
8. The Mourning of Religion II

Epilogue. Nietzsche in Armenian Literature at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Translated by G. M. Goshgarian)

Appendices: Translations
1. Philology and Ethnography in the Nineteenth Century (Translated by G. M. Goshgarian)
2. Constant Zarian: Essays in Mehyan and Other Writings (Translated by G. M. Goshgarian)
3. Daniel Varuzhan: Poems and Prose (Translated by G. M. Goshgarian, Nanor Kebranian, and Lena Takvorian)


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