Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Prison to prison : the prison novels of Hagop Oshagan and Armenian penological literature
Author: Kenderian, Nanor
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
The prison novels (Haji Murat, Haji Abdullah and Süleyman Effendi) of Western Armenian writer Hagop Oshagan (1883-1948) articulate two unprecedented sociocultural critiques of Armenian experience. Like much of Oshagan's works, these novels, comprising the cycle Haryur Mék Tarvan [101 Years' Imprisonment] (1933), have scarcely been studied. The task of this study is to reveal the nature of Oshagan's critique, and to revise two chief Armenian literary critical trends: that of either de-contextualizing or instrumentalizing these novels' nationalist preoccupations; that is, either overlooking their contextual relevance as responses to contemporaneous nationalist dogmas, or distorting them to seem ideologically sympathetic. Oshagan's novels rather deploy the prison trope to foreground and question the aesthetic and ideological influence of late 19th century Armenian nationalist-revolutionary movements. They moreover undermine the persisting paradigm borne of nationalist-revolutionary rhetoric that collectively represents Armenians and Turks as victims and victimizers respectively. The present study reads Oshagan in the wider context of Armenian penological literature, and locates his engagement with nationalist-revolutionary ideology as an overtly critical, rather than sympathetic project. It provides an unprecedented appraisal of such political movements' primarily negative impact upon late 19th and early 20th century Western Armenian literature, a tradition that has presented 'Armenianness' through an almost exclusive narrative of subjection. This literary historical background allows Oshagan's singularity to appear. He is the first to recognize the prison trope as the preferred nationalist-revolutionary literary convention, a trope he then reconfigures in order to formulate an alternative, a literary mode of nationalism - namely, mystic nationalism - informed by his readings of Dostoevsky's novels. Oshagan imagines and articulates anew the Armenian-Turk relationship in terms that complicate, subvert and transcend the normative master/slave model instituted by nationalist-revolutionary rhetoric. In the process, he elaborates a conception of these movements as inadvertently complicit in the discursive - and, ultimately, also political - (self)-subjection of Armenians culminating as experiences of absolute subjection. After Oshagan, this study constitutes the first comprehensive analysis of literary renderings of both Armenian-Turk relations and nationalist-revolutionary ideology.
Supervisor: Van Lint, Theo M. ; Nichanian, Marc Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Oshakan ; Hakob ; 1883-1948--Criticism and interpretation ; Armenian literature ; Armenian literature--19th century--History and criticism ; Armenian literature--20th century--History and criticism ; Nationalism in literature ; Prisoners as authors ; Prisoners' writings ; Armenian ; Armenia--Ethnic relations