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Daredevils of Sasun: Poetics of an Epic

Translated with an Introduction by S. Peter Cowe

Series: Armenian Studies Series. 12
Availability: In stock
Published: 2008
Page #: xii + 263
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 1-56859-167-3, ISBN 13: 978-1-56859-167-4
bibliography, index

 
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Quick Overview

Passed down by word of mouth through the magic of live performance art for a millennium and a half till its first scholarly transcriptions in the late 19th century, the Armenian epic “Daredevils of Sasun” presents a rich legacy of accumulated folk wisdom and creative insight on the human condition. Evolving from ancient mythic roots through folkloric antecedents up to its main period of gestation (8th-12th centuries C.E.), it tells the tale of the life, loves, and heroic struggles of four generations of the House of Sasun to establish their patrimony and uphold the weal of their community against the onslaught of imperialist in-vaders. Water born and fiery eyed, they embody their society’s ideals of freedom and guileless nobility, empathy toward the stranger, and a spiritual affinity with all living things. Vividly sketched with not a little humor, these hardy mountaineers evolved imperceptibly with the community that transmitted them, bridging the heroic era and the present day.

Since its publication in 1999, the Armenian original of this monograph has established itself as an excel-lent introduction to the epic and all related issues, maintaining a sound balance between the needs of a scholarly and more popular readership. Contextualizing his subject within the epic production of Western Europe, the Slavic lands, Anatolia and the Caucasus, and Central Asia, the author not only provides a clear summation of research on the epic, but is cogent in defining his own positions, probing new areas, and approaching some old from a new perspective. Of particular interest to the Western reader is the apt employment of theoretical perspectives from Russian scholarship (Bakhtin, Meletinksii, Likhachev, etc.) to illuminate aspects of plot, characterization, and symbolism.

author

Azat Yeghiazaryan

Professor Yeghiazaryan is Director of the Manuk Abeghyan Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He has authored several monographs including “Literary Narrative: A Theoretical Review” (1986) and “T‘umanyan’s Poetics and its Popular Roots” (1990). He has organized two international conferences on the Armenian epic tradition and edited their collected papers. He is also founder-editor of the institute’s official journal “Handes.”

Author’s Preface to the English Edition
Editor’s Preface
Map of the Epic World of Sasun
Table of Transliteration

INTRODUCTION
I. The Epic and Armenian History
II. The Epic and Mythology
III. Daredevils of Sasun and Earlier Armenian
Folkloric Traditions
IV. The Epic’s Impact on Modern Armenian Literate Culture

CHAPTER 1
I. Man and Community
II. The ‘External’ Man
III. Epic Harmony
IV. The Nature and Significance of Epic Action
V. The Hero’s Spiritual World
VI. Evolution of the Epic Hero
VII. The Epic Adversary and Negative Hero
VIII. Humor in the Epic

CHAPTER 2
I. The History of the House of Sasun
II. The Christian Perspective on history and Daredevils of Sasun
III. The Heroes’ Childhood
IV. The Characterization of Little Mher
V. The Epic World in Time and Space
VI. The Countryside and State of Sasun
VII. Walnut Rye and Eglantine
VIII. Traces of World Unity
IX. God, Saints, and Idols in the Epic World

CHAPTER 3
I. The Narrator and The Audience
II. Narrative Clarity and Dynamism
III. Epic Repetitions and Recurring Epithets
IV. The Hero’s Speech

CONCLUSION

Comprehensive Bibliography
Index of Personal Names
Index of Toponyms
Index of Subjects

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