The Particular Language of Shahan Shahnour
My research will serve as an inquiry into the particular language of the prosaic and poetic works of Armenian-French writer Shahan Shahnour, nom de plume Armen Lubin. Shahnour was a part of the Menk generation (so named after the Armenian word for “We”), a literary group of Armenian migrs living in Paris in the 1920’s, having survived the Armenian Genocide and fled the Ottoman Empire. Within the frame of exile and mourning a lost homeland, Shahnour’s novel in Armenian and Lubin’s later poems in French illuminate a unique language space that can be linked to French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari’s notion of a “littrature mineure.” Shahnour’s particular language parallels a symbolic third territory in which the writer finds himself displaced from both the country of origin and the country of residence. The creation of this conceptual in-between space operates on a technical level through unique syntactic constructions and word choice, but also on a higher level through recurring themes and images in Shahnour’s poetry. I will examine the striking influence of the French language in Shahnour’s 1929 novel (“Retreat Without Song”), as well as the influence of the Armenian language in his later French poetry. I hope that this research will have wider implications in the fields of Armenian diasporic achievement, interpreting migr poetry and bilingual literature as a genre.
Message to Sponsor
- Major: Linguistics, French
- Sponsor: Anselm Fund
- Mentor: Karl Britto