Ashraf Rushdy, NeoSlave Narratives, MS.
The thesis of the centrality of genocide to North American-Armenian ethnic texts
is argued powerfully by Marc Nichanian in Armenian and by Shirinian in English.
Rubina Peroomian's Literary Responses to Catastrophe: A Comparison of the Armenian and the
Jewish Experience ( Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993) is a useful text that draws all its
examples from Armenophone classics.
The adjectives "diasporic" and "diasporan" are used interchangeably here, as in
much writing on the topic. "Diasporic" has been constructed on the model of, and in
rhyme with, "ethnic"; "diasporan," with "American" or "Armenian." Not a lexical
investigation but the consensus of those who use the term professionally will eventually
determine the "victor."
Louis Althusser and
Etienne Balibar, Reading Capital, trans.
Ben Brewster ( London: Verso, 1979 or 1968), 14.
Comments by two Americans in Fresno, documented in
Richard T. La Piere, "The
Armenian Colony in Fresno County, California," Ph.D. thesis, 1930, 339, 341.
SS stands for Saroyan Special, a collection of his stories. See Bibliography.
Jacques Derrida, "The Time Is Out of Joint," Deconstruction Is/In America, ed. Ansel Haverkamp ( New York: NYU Press, 1995), 30.
All the characters are based on real people. Some retain their first names; others
are renamed but are transparent to those who know the milieu. However, the words and
thoughts assigned to these characters entirely serve Saroyan's purposes: a few of the
things they say are nearly verbatim reproductions of what they actually said during Saroyan's frequent after-hours visits to Haratch's office, when alcohol and conversation
created a small salon of diasporic thinkers. But most of their speeches are ventriloquized: Saroyan gives these characters the words and positions he needs to create a dramatic
debate concerning ethnic identity caught between homeland and host land.
In one of those coincidences that indicate how often art represents not what is,
but will soon become, life, less than a year after Edgarian's work was published, the
government of the Republic of Armenia asked (in March 1995) whether the teaching of
genocide to those aged under twelve might transmit trauma too effectively. In homeland
and diaspora both, the form in which the genocide must be remembered is now in dispute.
SELECTED PRIMARY BIBLIOGRAPHY
Akillian Michael. The Eating of Names: Poems. New York: Ashod Press, 1983.
Antreassian Jack. The Cup of Bitterness and Other Stories. New York: Ashod Press, 1979.
Arlen Michael. Exiles. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1970.
-----. Passage to Ararat. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1975.
Arzoomanian Ralph. Four Plays. New York: Ararat Press, 1980.
Avakian Arlene Voski. Lion Woman's Legacy: An Armenian-American Memoir. New
York: CUNY-The Feminist Press, 1992.
Balakian Peter. Reply from Wilderness Island. Riverdale-on-Hudson, New York: Sheep
Meadow Press, 1988.
-----. Sad Days of Light. New York: Sheep Meadow Press, 1983.
Baliozian Ara. In the New World. New York: Voskedar Press, 1982.
-----. In the New World: Essays. New York: Voskedar Press, 1982.