Fresno State Publishes English Translation of ‘Armenian-American Sketches’

Armenian American Sketches Bedros Keljik feat photo
The English translation of Bedros Keljik’s "Armenian-American Sketches"

The English translation of Bedros Keljik’s “Armenian-American Sketches”

FRESNO—Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Berberian Coordinator of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno, announced that the English translation of Bedros Keljik’s “Armenian-American Sketches” has been published by the Armenian Series of The Press at Fresno State.

“Keljik’s stories offer us a glimpse into the soul of the Armenian people, whether in their historic homeland or finding their way in America,” noted Eastern Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan.

Co-editor Lou Ann Matossian familiarizes the reader to Keljik in her introduction. She discusses how author, activist, and entrepreneur Bedros Arakel Keljik (1874–1959) belongs to the founding generation of Armenian-American authors, yet his “sketches” of early immigrant life are only now emerging. Keljik was a maternal uncle of Vahan Totovents, author of “Life on the Old Roman Road” and other works. He was also the elder brother of novelist and poet Krikor Keljik, also known as “K. Devrish.”

A foreword by co-editor Christopher Atamian discusses the genesis of the book and the significance of its publication. He places Keljik’s works in the early history of Armenian-American literature. Atamian also notes the role of translator Aris Sevag, whose meticulous work has brought Keljik’s work to life.

“Armenian-American Sketches” includes 29 short stories written originally in Armenian by Bedros Keljik. Twenty of the short stories were translated by Aris Sevag, one by Lou Ann Matossian, and eight of the stories originally published in “Hairenik” were translated by Vartan Matiossian.

The volume also includes an enlightening biography of Keljik, “An Armenian Odyssey: From the Euphrates to the Mississippi,” written by his grandchildren, Mark and Thomas Keljik. Roupen Zartarian’s “How Death Came to the Earth,” translated by Bedros Keljik, is also part of the volume.

Edited by Christopher Atamian, Lou Ann Matossian, and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, “Armenian-American Sketches” provides a wealth of interesting stories about the early Armenian community in America.

Armenians began arriving to America in large numbers at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. They established themselves in communities throughout the United States, maintaining their Armenian culture, while also becoming acclimated to life in America. In “Armenian-American Sketches,” author Keljik brings to life this period in Armenian-American history. With keen observation, Keljik provides the reader with an often-humorous insight into that life, with all of its sadness and joy, with the sense of community, and with the hard work and challenges faced by the immigrants. This is a book that will appeal to any reader who seeks to understand the immigrant experience in the United States.

The English translation of “Armenian-American Sketches” is available through Amazon.

Contact The Press at California State University, Fresno, by calling 559.278.3056. Bulk publishing discounts are available for bookstores.

General inquiries may also be directed to the Armenian Studies Program, at 559.278.2669.
The English translation of “Armenian-American Sketches” by Bedros Keljik; edited by Christopher Atamian, Lou Ann Matossian, and Barlow Der Mugrdechian (9 x 6, 195 pp. $20.00 paper, ISBN 13: 978-0-912201-61-0) has been published as Volume 8 in the Armenian Series, of The Press at California State University, Fresno.

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