Dr. James Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University, will present a program on "The Bells: From Poe to Sardarabad" on Thursday evening, December 15, 2011 at the Armenian Library and Museum of America.
Church bells are deeply symbolic, and of all musical instruments may come closest to language. Edgar Allan Poe's great final poem "The Bells" is language that comes closest to music. Later the Armenian poet Rupen Sevag, in Lausanne, wrote a poem, "Bells, Bells!" in reaction to the Adana massacre; and it echoes in the hidden, unpublished poems of Yeghishe Charents, who was fascinated by Poe.
Finally Paruyr Sevak rings the bells again in his epic poem Anlreli zangakatun ("The Unsilenced Bell Tower"), changing the tone of their chiming from the clangor of disaster to the ringing of survival, defiance, and victory. We take a philological journey across the Armenian and world cultures and history of two centuries, guided by men whose lives ended uniformly in tragedy, but whose creative work has conquered death.
You are cordially invited to attend Prof. Russell's lecture, which is open to the public free of charge. Refreshments will be served following the program.