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  • Writers

    ************************************************** ***
    There are writers that I love to read, and
    writers, like Dostoevsky and Simenon, that become
    There are two things that fascinate me about
    Simenon: his profoundly human and universally
    accessible fictional characters, and the fact
    that he could write a book in a week. No one
    knows how many books he has written – some say
    500, others 650 – because he wrote under several
    pseudonyms. His books may be divided into three
    distinct categories: detective stories (also
    known as “maigrets”), straight novels (also known
    as “simenons”), and autobiographical narratives
    and diaries, not all of which are available in
    What I find fascinating about Dostoevsky’s
    fiction is the clash of contradictory characters
    and the ensuing fireworks. I began reading him as
    a teenager and by the time I was twenty I had
    read all his major works in Italian and Greek
    translations. Though I have tried to reread him
    in English I have never gone beyond page 3. I
    prefer to read studies of his life and work, of
    which there is a steady stream. Generally
    speaking, I find biographies of the major
    Russians (Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Turgenev)
    more absorbing than their fiction.
    Two other writers who became obsessions that
    lasted several years are Thomas Mann and Arnold
    J. Toynbee. What I value about them both is their
    thoroughly anti-establishment stance – though
    they were themselves products of the
    establishment. But this is true of all authentic
    thinkers, from Plato to Bertrand Russell.
    Among Armenians, the writer that has fascinated
    me the most is Gostan Zarian, but unlike the
    great Russians, so far he has had no biographer,
    which is a pity since his life on three
    continents and encounters with many major figures
    in world literature fully deserves several
    voluminous studies.

  • #2
    Re: Writers

    Lord Halifax: "The best [political] party is but akind of conspiracy against the rest of thenation."


    • #3
      Re: Writers

      The Greek Poetess and Other Writings by Ara Baliozian and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at


      • #4
        Re: Writers



        The incomprehensible thing about our writers

        in the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union is that

        none of them was systematically brainwashed

        into believing they lived among friends

        and no harm would come to them;

        in the same way that most Armenians today

        (at least those who care to identify themselves as such)

        believe we owe our survival

        to our dividers and grave-diggers.


        And speaking of “survival:”

        We may go on “surviving” for another

        thousand years but only as skeletons,

        or in Toynbee’s apt word, as “fossils.”


        My question is: Does dying the death

        of a thousand self-inflicted cuts

        qualify as survival?



        • #5
          Re: Writers

          The Genocide generation understood nothing.
          The post-Genocide generations understand even less.
          In a friendless world you don’t have to go
          out of your way to make enemies.
          To live in an anti-intellectual environment
          means to be at the mercy of men
          who know nothing and care even less
          about the nature and function of ideas.


          • #6
            Re: Writers

            The beauty about the truth is that
            once exposed to the sunlight,
            it cannot be thrust back into darkness.
            The truth is not a fixed place
            but a traffic sign.
            There is more truth
            in what others say about you
            than in what you say about yourself.
            You want to know more about a nation?
            Study its propaganda
            and believe the opposite of what it says.
            You can kill the truth but you cannot bury it.
            If you bury it, it will rise on the third day.


            • #7
              Re: Writers

              Intolerance of dissent is a sure symptom of the fact that
              the foundations of the power structure are so flimsy
              that a single wrong word may precipitate its collapse.


              • #8
                Re: Writers

                What is Literature?
                How often we have heard it said that writers like Arlen, Adamov, Berberova, Troyat, and Saroyan do not belong to Armenian literature because their medium was not Armenian.
                Ah! the pleasures of passing judgment on one's betters.
                The power of sitting on a podium, looking down at the accused below, and saying "You are not one of us."
                How many times I have myself been told by our literary pundits and defenders of the faith:
                "You, my friend, don't belong to Armenian literature because you write in English" -- as if they were depriving me of a rare privilege; as if being just a writer were not a difficult enough task;
                and as if producing unreadable trash in Armenian were more important than writing an honest line in English or any other language for that matter. …


                • #9
                  Re: Writers

                  VICTIMS AS VICTIMIZERS
                  Armenians as victims: I will let more competent
                  and qualified men than myself to deal with that
                  aspect of our history and identity. Armenians as
                  victimizers: that’s what I propose to explore
                  If you are one of those brainwashed dupes who
                  believe, since Armenians can do no wrong, they
                  cannot victimize anyone, allow me to quote two
                  well-known and highly respected sources who
                  cannot be said to be dissidents or
                  anti-establishment critics because, in addition
                  to being members of a political party, they were
                  on friendly terms with a good number of
                  establishment figures in both the Homeland and
                  the Diaspora, among them several bosses, bishops,
                  and benefactors.
                  Antranik Zaroukian (1912-1989), poet, novelist,
                  critic, editor: “They speak of the cross and nail
                  us to it again as they speak.”
                  Hagop Garabents (1925-1996), novelist, short
                  story writer, essayist, and Voice of America
                  broadcaster: “Once upon a time we fought and shed
                  our blood for freedom. We are now afraid of free
                  In our context, to be afraid of free speech
                  means, anyone who dares to deal honestly and
                  objectively with facts is ruthlessly silenced and
                  alienated on grounds of anti-Armenianism.
                  To those who say, at least we don’t victimize
                  others, only ourselves, I say, that’s because the
                  weak cannot victimize the mighty; the weak can
                  victimize only those who are weaker; in the same
                  way that capitalists do not exploit fellow
                  capitalists, only workers.
                  Before I rest my case, allow me to quote
                  Zaroukian again: “What kind of people are we?
                  What kind of leadership is this? Instead of
                  compassion, mutual contempt; instead of reason,
                  blind instinct; instead of common sense,
                  Contempt, blind instinct, fanaticism: that sounds
                  to me less like Armenianism and more like
                  And now, listen to one of those silenced and
                  alienated writers speaking:
                  Stepan Voskanian (1825-1901): “For thirty-five
                  years I did not write a single line in Armenian.
                  I was treated so shabbily by my fellow Armenians
                  that I could not help hating everything that I
                  held dear as a young man; and since I was starved
                  by my own countrymen, I had to write in French in
                  order to survive.”
                  Next time you lament our victims, I suggest you
                  remember all our victims, not just a fraction of


                  • #10
                    Re: Writers

                    So many first-class literary works
                    have been rejected by publishers
                    or ignored by the public that
                    one is tempted to define writing
                    as composing music for the deaf.