Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Reproduction and Innovation in Literarure. The Narrative

Recasting the Armenian past: Raffi's historical novel, Samuel

Kevork Bardakjian (University of Michigan)


The millennium-old Armenian self-image underwent some profound changes in the nineteenth century. Such revision manifested itself in the political realm as well as in literature and the theater. One of the principal architects of revision was the novelist Raffi, whose historical novels reflected and reflected upon the chief elements making up the Armenian corporate self. Raffi's views of both past and contemporary Armenian realities were of equal relevance to the Eastern and Western halves of the Armenian people living in the Russian and Ottoman empires. Of such works, Raffi's Samuel stands out as a particularly influential novel. In this work, Raffi projected the history of the Armenian people and its culture beyond the conversion of Armenia and well into the pagan past. This he highlighted by fusing the pagan into the Christian tradition; and, by emphasizing the political element in the Armenian self-image which, in the recent past had sunk into oblivion. This paper will illustrate the ways in which Raffi went about his task, forging his own vision of the Armenian past, present and future, against a background of other such views expressed by Khachatur Abovian and the Mekhitarist author Arsen Bagratuni.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-22