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Mourning PhilologyArt and Religion at the Margins of the Ottoman Empire$
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Marc Nichanian

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255245

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255245.001.0001

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Abovean and the Birth of the Native

Abovean and the Birth of the Native

(p.36) Chapter 2 Abovean and the Birth of the Native
Mourning Philology

Marc Nichanian

G. M. Goshgarian

Jeff Fort

Fordham University Press

This chapter first takes up the case of Khachatur Abovean (1809-1848), considered by the Armenian nationalistic discourse to be not only the “father” of modern literature, but also the herald and architect of modern language itself. Behind the figure of Abovean what is at stake here is the auto-ethnographic project. Through a reading of the preface of the novel The Wounds of Armenia, the chapter thus describes the intermediary moment of the nation-inventing process. Abovean's novel was the birth certificate for the “native,” the creature of the philologist, and the central figure of nationalist discourse. The second part of the chapter deals with the properly ethnographic elaboration of the program introduced by Abovean. The antiquity of “popular beliefs” is at the center of the philologists’ and folklorists’ investigations.

Keywords:   Auto-ethnography, Folklore, Nation-inventing process, The Native, Ethnographic archeology

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