Sunday, July 29, 2007

Realist literature from the capital to the countryside

The Realist movement, that was shaped by the social and political events that surrounded the ‘Armenian reality’ in the last quarter of the 19th century, grew to maturity among the columns of the Istanbul published Arevelk (East) newspaper and gave a new direction to Armenian literature. The chaos, insecurity and economic difficulties that reigned in the Anatolian provinces where large numbers of Armenians lived, had caused many Armenian villagers to leave their homes and to migrate to the capital in search of their daily bread. The tensions between Istanbul Armenians and this rural population whose men lived alone in flophouses and took the meanest jobs as porters, garbage collectors, water sellers and whose women worked in the houses of the rich as maids, nannies and even prostitutes was the propelling force for this new literature. In this generation of writers that questioned social exploitations and injustices and methods of resistance against them, Arpiar Arpiaryan who founded Arevelk, Krikor Zohrab who passed judgement on the ethical two-facedness of the Armenian bourgeoisie, Melkon Gürciyan who described the lives of the rural migrants in Istanbul, Zabel Asadur who pointed out women’s issues, Dikran Gamsaragan, Levon Pashalyan, Yervant Sirmakeshanliyan who wrote about the humble lives of the lower classes, are most noteworthy. This movement which grew in Istanbul followed a parallel line of development to the countryside literature movement which described life in the rural areas, headed by Migirdic Hirimyan, a priest.

April 13, 2007

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