Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient
KOMITAS: Victim of the Great Crime
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KOMITAS: Victim of the Great Crime

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by Meliné Karakashian

This scholarly study to understand the enigma of Komitas Vartabed is divided into two parts. Part I covers Komitas Vartabed's life story, education, religious life, and prolific music career up to 1915. Part II covers his state of mind and psychiatric hospitalizations after 1915. There is a popular belief that Komitas went "mad" after the Great Crime of 1915. The book challenges this belief. Komitas being a very sensitive and bright artist, understood the impact of the tragedy on the Armenian people and exhibited symptoms we now refer to as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is considered a natural reaction to his experiences and which was not recognized as such in 1916. He was wrongfully committed to a Turkish military psychiatric hospital, then sent to a psychiatric hospital in Paris, and later to an asylum for hopeless mental patients.