James Russell to Speak at Fresno State

jamesrussel2
Dr. James Russell

Dr. James Russell

FRESNO — Dr. James Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University will speak on “Misak Medzarents the Revolutionary: Last and Lost Poems” at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 14, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). The Spring Lecture Series is funded through the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

Misak Medzarents is best known as a writer of lyric poems full of his dreams of love, visions of his childhood village on the Euphrates in Armenia, and hymns to nature and nobility, all suffused with brilliant and subtle colors. He wrote mostly towards the end of his short life, in Constantinople, under the oppressive regime of Sultan Abdul Hamid. Because of this, his political awareness, his sentiments about the state of the Armenians, and his participation in Armenian activism are little documented.

But we do have fragments of several lost poems, and one complete one, that are political, even revolutionary. Their language and tone are very different from that of the rest of his work— they reveal a Medzarents we did not know, one who might have evolved further, changed as an artist in dramatic ways, had he lived even a few years longer. This is the final chapter of a life in letters, paralleling in some ways the last chapter of the life of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire before it, too, came to a tragic end.

Dr. James R. Russell is the Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. Professor Russell has authored over one hundred scholarly articles, many of which have been collected in his Armenian and Iranian Studies (2004). He is most recently the author of a study on and translation of the collected poems of Bedros Tourian entitled Bosphorus Nights (2006).

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available, using a parking code, in Lots P5 and P6 adjacent to the UBC the night of the lecture. For more information on the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669 or visit our website at: fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

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