Calouste Gulbenkian Translation Series Advisory Committee Member Smbat Hovhannisyan about the Project
With the support of the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and on the initiative of the Group of Friends of Krikor Beledian, the ARI Literature Foundation has taken up the publication of a series of books dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the writer. The KB/75 will present fifteen selected works by Krikor Beledian, including several to be published for the first time.
The first five books have already been published, among which are two previously unpublished works.
The books are reflections on finished and unfinished works of art, on the identity of Diaspora Armenians, on literature, reading, poetry, mantras, as well as the village of Ghazaravan near Ashtarak.
The next ten books will be published soon.
“…Every writer begins his literature from above or from below, without finishing it. However, at the same time, he never lives in a quiet house built by the language. I said once: to write means to be outside….”
About the Author
Krikor Beledian is a poet, prose-writer and literary critic. He was born in Beirut and afterwards he moved to Paris to study at Sorbonne University. Beledian taught for many years at the INALCO (Institut national de langues et civilisations orientales) and Catholic University of Lyon. He is an author of numerous works and delivers lectures at acclaimed universities around the world.
The Author about himself (published in 2006)
Instead of biography
How to write more and more freely, more easily, closer to reality. This is the question to which I try to remain faithful. At the very beginning (Beirut 1965) I had to learn how to write, as much as I could. No matter how stubbornly I try to learn, I know that I know nothing. I want to forget every single piece published until yesterday.
It is a luxury – if not a pleasure – to waste time looking at the Medusa of the past. Hundreds of pages may become a literary experience called poetry, criticism, study, fiction, but it shouldn’t be limited to any literary genre.
Writing is, definitely a feeling-thinking-speaking. And at that level, everything I write comes to the same denominator or starts from the same point. Isn’t this experience a deviation?
In 2006, I hope, a new volume of prose “The Two”, then a new series of Mantras, will be ready, and finally, a book of short prose, one that has been under the name “Meeting halfway” for years, which is being written part by part, urged by the need and situation. Paris, Beirut, the world, not particularly the Diaspora, not particularly Armenia. Place, thought, art, various, multi-level, sometimes modern, sometimes inherited concerns. Pages that I will write as I would write in another language, in a different Armenian, that nobody in Yerevan as well as elsewhere is ready to listen to, or that they are ready to bury. But didn’t I use another language, didn’t I speak in another language for someone imaginary?
I don’t cover this and don’t attach myself to any ideology and I try to maintain my literary independence even in so-called “national” issues. The writer is not a mirror and observer. The writer is a critic and a lens perhaps towards the world and towards us, if indeed we exist in that world and not beside it. In any case, I have no desire to “get smart”, to become vulgar, to become “wiser” than necessary and to serve “Armenian literature”, which, by the way, belongs to no one, neither to journalists, nor to unions and great professors. Every writer begins his literature from above or from below, without finishing it. However, at the same time, he never lives in a quiet house built by the language. I have said once: to write means to be outside. And here, outside, there is almost autumn on the fifth floor, with Mediterranean bushes, with the damp setting Parisian sun, with the continuous roar of the subway. From the street, the talkative speaker on TV laments. God knows how many thousands in calamity, how many thousands unemployed, what crime, what accident in the series of express advertisements about soap, cars and fast food?
How to stop being a man of one’s own time?