Massis Post – Armenian Studies Program Director Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian announced the publication of Dr. James Russell’s Misak Medzarents: The Complete Lyric Poems, Volume 12 in the Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno.
Misak Medzarents, 1886-1908, was the second great lyric poet of the Western Armenian language after Bedros Tourian. During his tragically short life he published several slim volumes of verse. The poems are written in a complex and allusive language that deploys ancient Armenian, local dialect, and the vocabulary of Symbolism.
Misak Medzarents: The Complete Lyric Poems is a translation and commentary by James Russell of Medzarents’ complete works, the first of its kind in any foreign language, complementing James Russell’s previous work, Bosphorus Nights, of Bedros Tourian. The Complete Lyric Poems include more than 180 poems written by Medzarents, and includes the Armenian text of his poems.
In the commentary accompanying each poem Russell has endeavored to analyze at length and in detail the particulars of language (reduplicative and alliterative patterns, etymological points, plays of intertextuality and allusion, and so on) and the dense thematic content, with its frequent echoes of literary and mythological imagery going far back into the Armenian past. Medzarents’ poems are gorgeous to read and can be enjoyed without one’s plunging into their depths.
The translation is intended to help as a jumping off point for future scholarship, for new insights and different opinions. The poems are chromatic: Medzarents loved color, as Daniel Varuzhan notes, and Arakelian has computed that he uses blue, a color favored by Symbolists but not only by them, most often.
“Misak Medzarents: The Complete Lyric Poems is an important addition to the Armenian Series,” said Prof. Der Mugrdechian, general editor of the Armenian Series. “Dr. Russell’s translation will bring Medzarents’ work to a broader audience.”
“This book is an undisputable contribution to world literature, as much as it is to Armenian literature” -author Aris Janigian
Dr. James R. Russell is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University, Emeritus, and now lives in Fresno, California. Dr. Russell is the author of a number of books including Zoroastrianism in Armenia, The Heroes of Kasht: An Armenian Epic, and Bosphorous Nights: The Complete Lyric Poems of Bedros Tourian. He is the author of several hundred articles and monographs.