ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IN LITERATURE: PERCEPTIONS OF THOSE WHO LIVED THROUGH THE YEARS OF CALAMITY
by Rubina Peroomian
The Armenian Genocide that took place almost a century ago is now sliding into the past, but justice has not been rendered, and Armenians cannot put their dead to rest. Obsession with the past fueled by denial of the crime, the deniers' distortion of history, and the image of a lost homeland that kindles a sense of deprivation keep surfacing in the literature produced in the Diaspora.
The present volume engages with this discussion. It begins with the response of the first-generation writers who survived, to complement this author's Literary Responses (1993) and to demonstrate more emphatically the depth of the initial psychological shock of the most recent traumatic experience as well as the soul-consuming struggle in dispersion. It then proceeds to discuss the literary response of the orphan generation, anapati serund, in its diversity and complexity and as a stark departure from the worldviews and literary traditions of the past with, nevertheless, the Genocide at its core. The final chapter is devoted to the memoirs of the aging survivors, those ordinary men and women who, without a claim to artistry but with an urge to leave the memories of their harrowing past experiences for posterity, have put their personal stories in writing. The entire bulk of the literature discussed in this volume is treated as the echo of the inner psyche of the survivors of a colossal collective trauma symptomized by withdrawal, isolation, anger, protest, wistful yearning, and the collapse of social and moral order. And this speaks to the fact that the process of healing has been denied to Armenians.
The present study provides the tools to examine and comprehend the transgenerational transmission of the memory of the traumatic past.