Christopher Atamian to speak on ‘Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France’

Graphic design depicting Christopher Atamian and book cover of "Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France"

~ By Barlow Der Mugrdechian, coordinator of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State

Author and translator Christopher Atamian will present a lecture entitled “Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France: A Zenith of Diasporan Writing” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191 on the Fresno State campus.

“Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France” was published as Volume 6 in the Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno in 2016.

This is the first presentation in the Armenian Studies Program 2017 Fall Lecture series, which is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

Atamian’s seminal translation of Krikor Beledian’s “Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France: 1922-1972” brings this important work to the English-reading public for the first time.

Beledian wrote his opus — part essay, part text book — in French: He traces the history of a group of 40 or so Armenian writers, mainly Genocide survivors, who all regrouped in Paris after the Great Catastrophe of 1915. There, while working during the day in factories, they composed a stunning body of work which included poetry, prose, theatrical plays, philosophical musings and even medical treatises.

Their writing was at times conservative and at others as experimental and groundbreaking as those of their leading European colleagues. One wrote luminescent poetry reminiscent of Verlaine, another repatriated to Soviet Armenia only to be killed by the Armenian secret police. Another wrote one of the most important Armenian novels of the 20th century; yet another was deported and gassed at Auschwitz.

Copies of the translated “Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France” will be available for sale at the lecture.

Atamian is a writer, filmmaker, and translator and a native New Yorker. He also writes for the New York Times Book review, The Weekly Standard and the New York Press and was dance critic at the New York Press. He increasingly spends his hours writing mainstream projects but remains attached to writing about and disseminating Armenian culture and literature in different ways, whether as a writer, journalist, editor or translator.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in Lots P6 and P5 near the University Business Center, Fresno State. Permits are not required for parking on Friday evenings after 4 p.m.

For more information about the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit the website.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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