Pagan Songs

Հեթանոս երգեր

(ISBN: 978-0-578-54199-0)
175 pages
Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Language(s): English, Western Armenian

Additional Artists

Hratch Demiurge (Translator) Հրաչ Տեմիւրճ (Թարգմանիչ)

Condemned as pornography for its eroticism, criticized by feminists for “objectifying women”, and denounced by the Church as anti-Christian—Armenian poet Daniel Varoujan’s Pagan Songs survived a tumultuous reception when it was published in 1912 to begrudgingly become a classic of Armenian poetry. Credited with inaugurating the pagan movement in Armenian literature, the poems alternately mourn the dead gods, celebrate the wonders of women, and savor the bittersweet beauty of suffering as Varoujan conjures the pre-Christian era, a time when strength and beauty were worshipped. Both beauty and strength were in short supply in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire when bloody massacres of a helpless Christian Armenian nation yearning for independence had become routine. The violence eventually culminated in the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which would take the lives of more than a million people, including Varoujan himself, whose promising genius was extinguished at the age of thirty-one.

In a vivid and picturesque style, Varoujan’s self-described “poetic paganism” takes the reader from bathhouses, bars and brothels to an ancient Roman bacchanalia, the shimmering waters of Venice and, finally, to an ethereal mountaintop near the sun where the poet ecstatically sings “Of the freedom of man and the servitude of God.”

Varoujan's once taboo masterpiece is made available for the first time in a full, faithful and uncensored English translation accompanied by parallel Armenian text. With an extensive introduction, explanatory notes, and informative appendices, this new translation allows an international audience and a new generation to appreciate the full scope of Varoujan's genius.

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