Armenian literature is Christian-oriental literature, and thus formed a national and historical link of high identification strength. It is the spiritual and secular national literature of the Armenian people. Its beginnings go back to the year 405 AD, which is linked to the invention of the Armenian alphabet. Traditional Armenian literature is national literature, originating from the homeland affinity of the Armenians, who created poems to the glory of their country in history and in the chronicles. Furthermore, translations form an important part of classical Armenian literature.
Only a handful of fragments have survived from the most ancient Armenian literary tradition preceding the Christianization of Armenia in the early 4th century due to centuries of concerted effort by the Armenian Church to eradicate the “pagan tradition”. Christian Armenian literature begins about 406 with the invention of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop for the purpose of translating Biblical books into Armenian.
Literature of the 5-9 centuries
“Golden Age” of ancient Armenian literature
Armenian literature has about two millennia. Ancient Armenian literature developed from 406 AD. E., when the scientist and preacher of Christianity Mesrop Mashtots created the modern Armenian alphabet. Originating in the fifth century, Armenian literature quickly developed as an original and multi-genre literature, and significant literary monuments were created. For the early medieval era of its development are characteristic works of both secular and church-religious content (treatises, speeches). V century is considered the golden age in the history of its development .
In the literature of the fifth century, historiography or the genre of historical prose dominates its meaning. The main features of the genre appeared already in the initial period of its origin and were preserved to various extents until the late Middle Ages.
Historiographical works are characterized by the scale and wide coverage of historical realities, the consideration of the history of Armenia in parallel with the history of other peoples and states, than these works acquire special value and come out of the framework of national significance.
Ancient Armenian literature is closely connected with the church and the art of theology. The most important monument of this direction of literature of the 5th century is the work of Yeznik Kokhbatsi “Denial of false teachings” – one of the masterpieces of ancient Armenian literature; it is written between 441-449 years. At the same time, a patristic composition “Multicasting speeches” is created, the alleged author of which is Mashtots. At the end of the century, John Mandakuni wrote Rech, containing valuable information about the socio-cultural notions of the time. Mambre Verzanoch is considered the author of 3 homilies. Theological works are attributedAnanias Syunetsi.
In the V century were also created monuments of hagiography, in particular the “Life of St. Gregory the Illuminator”, “Martyrdom Ripsimyanskih virgins” and “The Martyrdom of Saint Shushanik”. The first two entered as part of the “History of Armenia” Agatangelos.
In the 5th century the ancient Armenian translation literature started. Thanks to these translations, the world science gets acquainted with the numerous monuments of ancient literature, whose originals are now lost.
After the 5 century
In the VI century there is a certain decline in the development of historical prose. In the VI century, the most remarkable historical work is the “Chronography” of Atanas Taronatsi. Petros Syunetsi develops the traditions of ecclesiastical poetry. In this era lived the largest early medieval Armenian philosopher Neoplatonist David Anakht, whose works are also examples of high rhetorical art. Since the VI century, a theological collection, known as the Book of Epistles, has been preserved. It compiles the works of ancient Armenian authors Hovhannes Gabeliansi, Movses Elvardetsi, Grigor Kertog, and others. The works of Abraham Mamikoneits are also noteworthy for the history of the Armenian writing of the century.
The fiction is also developing. At the end of the 7th century Davtak Kertog wrote his famous elegy “Weeping for the Death of Grand Duke Javanshir” – the oldest surviving work of Armenian secular poetry. This acrostic of 36 stanzas by the number of letters in the Armenian alphabet. It should be noted, however, that from the monuments of secular poetry there is one more poetic passage, dated from an earlier time.
The VII century becomes the era of a new upsurge in Armenian historiography. Creates a major historical work of Sebeos “The History of the Emperor of Iraq.” Noteworthy is the fact that for the first time Sebeos has a story about Khosrov and Shirin. In addition to great historical significance, the epic legends contained in the work also represent artistic value. At the same time, John Mamikoyan wrote “History of the Taron”.
In the 7th-9th centuries, polemical prose and church poetry are especially developed. In the dogmatic literature an important place is occupied by the collection ” The Root of Faith “, created in 620 by John Mayravanetzi. It included anti-Chalcedonian works and religious songs. His opponent was Theodoros Cretenavor. At the turn of the 6th-7th centuries, Vrtnes Kertog wrote a treatise on iconoclasm. In the 7th century, Anania Shirakatsi lived, the author of many works in various fields of science and philosophy. In the 6th-9th centuries, the genre of life is formed, appearing in its classical forms. In the martyrdom of Yezdibuzid, David Dvinedi, Amazasp and Saak, there is a tendency towards an abstract and rhetorical narrative style.
Spiritual poetry is developed to a new degree by Sahak Dzoraporetsi, John Odznetsi and others. Among the poets of the VIII century there are also women – Sahakduht, Khosrovidukht. The last author of the poem, dedicated to the prince Vaan Gokhtnetsi. Stepanos Syunetsi, in addition to spiritual hymns, writes anti-Chalcedonite polemical and other works.
At the end of the 9th and beginning of the 10th centuries, Tovma Artsruni created his famous “History of the Artsruni House”, setting out the history of all Armenia. An anonymous narrator writes the history of the Bagratid era. By the ninth century, “Stories of the holy patriarch Saak and the Vardapet Mashtots”. The most important poets and hymnographers of this era are Amam Areveltsi and Vardan Anetsi. Theological works are created by Sahak Mrut.
Armenia is known to have been a nation often occupied by nearby powers, such as the Sassanid Empire. The beginning of the Medieval era was marked by the Arab conquest of Armenia. The people then start to talk of a great hero who would be able to liberate them and reestablish Armenian sovereignty. David of Sasun, known as Sasuntsi Davit’, is the medieval Armenian equivalent of Hercules. For over a thousand years the legend of David was passed from grandfathers to their grandsons thanks to the Armenian oral tradition, and it is difficult to classify his stories as ancient or medieval. In 1873, the story was first written down by Archbishop Karekin Servantzdiants, who copied word for word the tale as told by a peasant storyteller from Moush named Grbo. Other versions of the tale from various regions of Armenia were copied down in the ensuing years, and during the early Soviet era in Armenia, the stories were collated into a “unified version”; a narrative which connected dozens of isolated episodes, fragments, and near-complete though differing versions of the legend. One of the most famous treatments of the story was the verse rendition made by Hovhannes Toumanian in 1902. His poem only covers the story of David, which is actually only one of 4 parts of the story, although the central portion.
Since the 10th century Armenian literature has been experiencing a new upsurge, connected with political, economic and social changes in Armenia, and, first of all, with the restoration of the Armenian kingdom. The Armenian kings of Bagratida also patronized the development of written culture . During this period Armenian literature, like other fields of culture, flourishes more freely than ever since the beginning of the fifth century. Next to the historical prose, which throughout the early Middle Ages was the main genre of literature, a new poetic word takes its place. Ancient literary genres are noticeably renewed in terms of forms and content, new directions are emerging. In the literature there are humanisticideas and motives. The period from the 10th to the 14 centuries historians and cultural experts are often called the Armenian Renaissance.
Since the 10th century historiography has again revived, significant historical works have been created, in particular Hovhannes Draskhanakertzi, around 924, completes the “History of Armenia”, about 987. “History” is completed by Ukhtanes. Monuments of regional historiography of Armenia are written , among which are ” History of Aluanca ” by Movses Kagankavtatsi. At the turn of the X-XI centuries, in the era of the strengthening of the Armenian kingdom of the Bagratids, Armenian historiography notes the tendencies of creating a new general history of Armenia and neighboring regions after Khorenatsi. In 1004 completed the “General History” of Stepanos Taronatsi, considered reliable and well-written work. Another significant historical work of the eleventh century is the “Narrative” of Aristakes Lustivertsi, written between 1072-1079. The work of Lastiverzi presents tragic events in Armenia in the 11th century – Byzantine conquests, barbaric raids of the Turkic-Seljuk nomads.
11-12 century marked the flowering of Armenian everyday literature. The “History of Saint Nerses Partev, Armenian Patriarch” written by Mesrop Vayotsdzoretsi in 967 is noteworthy. Tracts of church-religious character are also being created, among them the works of Anania Narekatsi, Khosrov Andzevatsi, Samuel Kamrdzhadzoretsi, Ananiya Mokatsi and others.
Starting from the XII century in the replacement of grabara – the ancient Armenian literary language, comes the Middle Armenian literary language.
At the turn of the 11th-12th centuries, the prominent poet Hovhannes Imastasser lived, the author of the philosophical poem “The Word of Wisdom…, addressed to the starling…” (188 lines), the theme of which is the origin and content of art. Imastaser became one of those authors who determined the development of the Armenian literature of the era. His contemporary Vardan Aykazn laid the foundation for the genre of the biographical poem. An important historical work of the 12th century is the Chronography by Mateos Urhaeci, which also contains details of the first crusade. It tells both about Armenia proper, and the life of the Armenian diaspora of the East. At the end of the XII centurySamuel Anetsi writes the historical work “Chronicle”. His history contains particularly valuable information about the history of Armenia, the Cilician Kingdom and neighboring states of the XII century. There are also chronicles of Hakob Sanakhnetsi, Grigor Erets, and others.
The 13th century is distinguished by the rapid flowering of the secular literature and poetry proper. Poets appear, describing the feelings and interests of the common people, during this period the lyric poetry reaches its peak. The artistic reflection of the Mongol yoke and the problem of social inequality occupy a key place in the literature of Frick. About 50 poems have survived from him. For the poetry of this era, Kostandin Erzkatsi, one of the pioneers of love poetry in Armenian poetry, takes a special place . In the works of Erznkatsi is famous for life, the awakening of spring and love, nature and man. In the work of the poet Khachatur Kecharetsian important place is occupied by the psychological appearance of a medieval man. Hovhannes Erzkatsi Pluz becomes also a major poet of the time. Artistic prose develops in the works of Vardan Aygektsi, whose fables are collected in the collection “The Fox Book “.
In the historiography of the 13th century, a special place is occupied by the “History of Armenia” (written between 1241-1266) by Kirakos Gandzaketsi. The work covers a thousand-year period of Armenian history. In 1270 the “Chronicle” Smbat Sparapet finishes, presenting historical events in Armenia and Cilicia since the middle of the Xth century. Significant historical works are written by Vardan Arevelti, Grigor Aknerzi and others. At the end of the same century, Stepanos Orbelian completes his major historical work “History of the Sisakan region”, containing valuable information about one of the key historical regions of Armenia, the Syunik province. At the same time, the Chronograficheskaia StoryMkhitar Airivanetsi. An important figure in the Armenian written language of the 13th century is Hovhannes Tavushetsi, the author of an erotematic encyclopaedic collection about the history of Armenian culture up to the XIII century.
For Armenian poetry of the 14th century, Hovhannes Tlurantsi’s work takes an important place. Tlurantsi sings and glorifies love, feminine beauty and nature. Terter Erevantsi is the author of a poem about a polemical discussion between wine, sage and grapes. Kirakos Erzkatsi’s works are noteworthy. Despite Christian dogma, lyric poetry flourishes, in which preference is given to man’s worldly aspirations. At the turn of the 14th-15th centuries Grigor Khlatetsi lived, the author of the poem “Memories of Disasters”. Traditions of medieval Armenian secular poetry reach new heights.
Among the historical works of the 16th century, the chronicle of Hovhannisik Tsaretsi is noteworthy. Unlike historiography, poetry flourishes in this era. The most important poets of this era are Grigoris Akhtamartsi, Ovasap Sebastatsi, Hakob Tohatsi, Minas Tohatsi, Tadeos Sebastatsi, the love poetry reaches its peak in Naapet Kuchak poems, Kuchak poems are traditionally called ayrens. The first satirical poems appear.
The largest cultural achievement of time is Armenian printing.
The medieval period opens with comparative sterility. It was mostly important in the 8th century, that of John Otznetzi, surnamed the “Philosopher”. A “Discourse against the Paulicians”, a “Synodal Discourse”, and a collection of the canons of the councils and the Fathers anterior to his day, are the principal works of his now extant. About the same time appeared the translations of the works of several of the Fathers, particularly of St. Gregory of Nyssa and Cyril of Alexandria, from the pen of Stephen, Bishop of Syunik. It was two centuries later that the celebrated “History of Armenia” by the Catholicos John V the Historian came forth, covering the period from the origin of the nation to the year A.D. 925. A contemporary of his, Annine of Mok, an abbot and the most celebrated theologian of the time, composed a treatise against the Tondrakians, a sect imbued with Manicheism. The name of Chosrov, Bishop of Andzevatsentz, is honoured because of his interesting commentaries on the Breviary and Mass-Prayers. Gregory of Narek, his son, is the Armenian Pindar from whose pen came elegies, odes, panegyrics, and homilies. Stephen Asoghtk, whose “Universal History” reaches down to A.D. 1004, and Gregory Magistros, whose long poem on the Old and New Testaments displays much application, are the last writers worthy of mention in this period.
The modern period of Armenian literature can well be dated from the renaissance of letters among the Armenians in the 12th century. The Catholicos Nerses surnamed the Gracious, is the most brilliant author in the beginning of this period. Besides his poetic works, such as the “Elegy on the Taking of Edessa”, there are prose works including a “Pastoral Letter”, a “Synodal Discourse”, and his “Letters”. This age gave us also a commentary on St. Luke and one on the Catholic Epistles. Of note, too, is the Synodal Discourse of Nerses of Lambron, Archbishop of Tarsus, delivered at the Council of Hromcla in 1179, which is anti-Monophysite in tone. The 13th century gave birth to Vartan the Great, whose talents were those of a poet, an exegete, and a theologian, and whose “Universal History” is extensive in the field it covers. Gregory of Datev (also transliterated as Tatev) in the next century composed his “Question Book”, which is a fiery polemic against the Catholics.
Under foreign rule
The 16th century saw Armenia in the hands of Persia, and a check was for the time put on literature. However, in scattering the Armenians to all parts of Europe, the Persian invasion had its good effects. Armenian printing shops were established in Venice and Rome, and in the following century (the seventeenth) in Lemberg, Milan, Paris, and elsewhere. Old works were republished and new ones given forth. The Mechitarists of Venice have been the leaders in this movement; but their publications, although numerous, have been often uncritical. Their brothers, the Mechitarists of Vienna, have been likewise active in this work and it is to their society that Balgy and Catergian belong, two well-known writers on Armenian topics. Russia, Constantinople and Etchmiadzin are the other centres of Armenian literary efforts and the last-named place is especially worthy of note, imbued as it is today with German scientific methods and taste. Looking back over the field of Armenian literature, we note a trait the national character displayed in the bent Armenians have had for singing the glories of their land in history and chronicles.
Divided between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire, the Armenians developed a troubadour tradition. A troubadour, called աշուղ in Armenian, would go from village to village, and town to town, and would recite his literature to the people. More successful ones, such as Sayat-Nova, would participate in competitions in the courts of Georgian Kings, Muslim Khans, or Armenian Meliks. They would often talk about their feelings for their women by using the popular language that was riddled with foreign influences, instead of Classical Armenian, which was obsolete outside churches and schools.
New time, 17-18 century
In the XVII century there are signs of overcoming the period of cultural decline of the last centuries. In the XVII – XVIII centuries, the leading literature remains the lyrics, which develops in three main directions: the secular work of tags, religious and patriotic poetry, folk songs of the gusans. These directions are not fundamentally separated from each other by their characteristic features, often are represented by mutual literary influences against the background of the artistic thinking of one epoch. In the work of a poet, one can often feel different tendencies in the poetry of time. This is characteristic, for example, of the literary heritage of Martiros of Crimea, where they are combined as a secular work and ashugpoetry, and spiritual songs. At the same time, the three main directions of poetry of the epoch differ in different periods of time by their style, poetic characteristics, themes and orientation. For example, religious and patriotic poetry repeats and uniquely continues the traditions of medieval religious and historical-political poetry. It retains its cultural connection with spiritual music. The main genres of classical poetry are revived – gandz and tag. These genres are developed in the works of the authors of the XVII century: Nerses Mokatsi, Stepanos, Hakob and Khachatur Tokhatetsi, Vardan and Ovanes Kafaeci, Vrtanes Skevrazi, Eremii Celebi Keomurchyan, etc., as well as the authors of the 18th century: Simeon Erevanets, Bagdasar Dpira, Petros Kapantsi, Grigor Oshakantsi and others who, in Armenia and in the Diaspora, led the national and cultural life, promoted the development of national ideology – the liberation struggle. The most significant author of religious and patriotic poetry is Eremiya Keomurchyan, who left a significant literary heritage. The most significant authors of this trend of the 18th century were Bagdasar Dpir and Petros Kapanci, whose work was transitional to the new direction of classicism.
Another line of the lyrics of the 17th-18th centuries has its roots in the medieval secular poetry of the Tag, while at the same time having a profound influence of the folk creativity of the gusans. Secular poetry of time is a new style, which naturally was the fruit of artistic thinking of a new historical time. The language is mainly Middle Armenian literary language, rarely – grab. The main theme is love, female beauty. A separate theme is the poetry of the panduhts – the poetry of the longing of people living outside their homeland. The development of satire, the poetry of social motivation, etc., are very popular. The most important poets of the time: Kazar Sebastatsi, Stepanos Varageci, Stepanos Dasteci, David Saladzorzi, Nagash Ovnatanand others. Among them, the biggest lyricist is Nagash Ovnatan. Significant contribution to the development of the literature of the century had Bagdasar Dhir and further representatives of his literary school.
The third direction of the lyrics of the XVII-XVIII centuries is represented by three branches: folk, folk-gusan and ashug poetry. The folk-gusan creativity of the 17th-18th centuries is represented both by the folk as well as by the oriental ashug styles, mainly by the creativity of the ayrens. The most prominent ashugs of the time were Mkrtich, Artin, Krchik Nova and others. The peak of the Armenian ashug poetry of the 18th century is the creation of Sayat-Nova.
In the 17th century, Armenian historiography revived. There are significant historical works such as “History” by Arakel Davrizhetsi (completed in 1662), “The Chronicle” by Zakariya Kanakerzi, “The Chronography” by Grigor Daranagetsi (written between 1634 – 1640) and so on. The historical poem of Martiros Krymetsi “Order and dates of Armenian kings” is noteworthy.
In the XVII century a separate type of historical chronography was formed-travel notes. Prominent authors of this historiographical type – Zakarius Aguletsi, Yeremiya Keomurchyan, Minas Amdetsi, and others.
In manuscripts of the 17th and 18th centuries, some dramatic works have survived, the oldest of which is the first Armenian drama “The Death of St. Hripsime”, which was staged at the Armenian Catholic school in Lviv in 1668.
18 century, the time of the Armenian cultural and intellectual revival. Classicism becomes the main direction of Armenian literature of the late 18 – early 19 centuries. His main representatives are H. Erzurmtsi, O. Vanandetsi, S. Vanandetsi, A. Bagratuni, E. Tomachian, P. Minasyan, etc., aroused national self-awareness, placed considerable emphasis on the idea of liberating the Armenian nation from foreign yoke.
Grabar – the ancient Armenian language, was no longer available to a wide range of readers, the literature on modern people was represented mainly by ashug poetry. It gained special popularity already in the first half of the XIX century. Since the 1820 ‘s. in Armenian literature, a struggle begins between the supporters of the use of the Old Armenian and New Armenian language as the language of literature – the so-called grapaikar. Among the main ideologists of the new Armenian literary language should be noted A. Alamdaryan and M. Tagiyadyan. Armenian writers of the time in search of a literary model and ideals looked towards Europe. G. Alishan took an important place in the literary life of the middle of the century. In the nineteenth century, the beginning of the Armenian new literature Khachatur Abovyan, writing the novel “The Wounds of Armenia” (1841-1843, izd., 1858). The novel tells how wars between Persia and Russia were fought in the territory of Eastern Armenia. The novel is written in the Western Armenian dialect. This genre of literature becomes a means of expressing the social and political aspirations of Armenians. With his name is associated with the assertion of progressive romanticism in Armenian literature. Literary traditions of Abovyan experienced a new development in the middle of the XIX century. Progressive Armenian intelligentsia was grouped around the magazine “Yusisapail” (“Northern Lights”), which was published in Moscow.
In the middle of the century in Western Armenia were active literary and journalistic activities Svachyan A., G. Chilinkiryan, Mamuryan M., et al. On the product M. Peshiktashlyana and P. Duryan associated with the beginning of romanticism in Western Armenian literature. In their work, an important place was occupied by the idea of a national liberation struggle against the Turkish yoke.
The writer R. Patkanyan in the 1870s-1880s. in his work, in particular in the series “Military songs” (1878), expressed the desire of the Armenian people to achieve liberation from Ottoman rule with the help of Russia. His literature is closely connected with the traditions of Abovyan. The problem of the social stratification of the Armenian village underlies the social and personal novels of P. Proshyan “Soy and Vartiter” (1860), “For bread” (1879), “Miroedy” (1889), etc. The idea of enlightenment occupies a key place in literature G. Agayana. The struggle against social evil is dedicated to his story “Two Sisters” (1872).
The founder of the Armenian realistic drama is Gabriel Sundukyan (“Pepo”, post 1871, published in 1876). His work had a significant impact on the further development of national drama and theater.
Initiator realistic drama literature Western Armenian is outstanding satirist Hakob Paronian. Paronyan ridiculed the bourgeois society of time, exposed the tyranny that prevailed in the Ottoman Turkey (“Honored beggars”, 1891, “Pillars of the Nation”, book 1-3, 1879-1880, “Uncle Bagdasar”, 1886, etc.).
The novelists Raffi, Tserents, the publicist G. Artsruni – the editor of the newspaper Mshak (“The Worker”), become the main spokesmen of the ideas of the national liberation struggle of 1870-1880. Among them, the most famous is Raffi, the author of the novels “Hunt” (1880), “Kaiser” (1878, publ., 1-3, 1883-1890). In them Raffi called for national liberation from the Ottoman yoke by armed insurrection with the help of the Russian Empire. His novels “David Bek”, (1881-1882), ” Samvel “, (1886) played a major role in the development of national prose, in particular the historical novel.
The leading direction of the Armenian literature of 1880-1890. becomes critical realism. The largest prose writers of the time are Nar-Dos, Muratsan, A. Arpiarnian, G. Zohrab, and others. In this era Alexander Shirvanzade worked, who in his work deals with the processes of establishing bourgeois relations in Transcaucasia. His largest works: the novel “Chaos” (1898); drama “Because of honor” (1905), etc. The works of Hovhannes Hovhannisyan are noteworthy. Social motif is reflected in the poetry of Alexander Tsaturyan.
Creativity of Hovhannes Tumanyan becomes a synthesis of the traditions of the Armenian literature of the XIX century. Tumanyan is the author of a number of realistic poems (Anush, published in 1892, etc.), where the author skillfully reflects the pictures of his native nature, shows the life of the people, social contradictions, and also concerns the issues of the national liberation struggle. Peru Tumanyan belongs to one of the best treatments of the Armenian epic ” David Sasunsky ” (1902), as well as numerous fairy tales.
Avetik Isahakyan is considered to be the largest poet of the late 19th and first half of the 20th century, whose work traced the tragic fate of the Armenian people of the 1890s and subsequent years.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Tumanyan, Isahakian and several other significant authors continued their creative activity. Vahan Teryan takes a special place in the history of Armenian poetry of the beginning of the 20th century; his first collection of poems “Dreams of Twilight” (1908) immediately becomes very popular. The largest poets of Western Armenia of this period are the early-dead Misak Metsarents, as well as those who died during the genocide of Daniel Varuzhan, Siamanto and Ruben Sevak. Remaining true to the traditions of Armenian classical literature, they were to some extent influenced by Western European and especially French symbolism.
At the end of 1920, Soviet power was established in Armenia, which led to a new stage in the history of Armenian literature, when its development took place in the context of an acute ideological and political struggle. In the 1920-1930’s. lived the largest poet of the Armenian literature of the era of Egishe Charents, whose creative path began back in the 1910s. His best poems (“Violent Crowds”, 1919, etc.) and collections (The Book of the Way, 1933, etc.) created traditions that found their continuation in the works of subsequent generations of Armenian poets.
Some specialists claim that the Armenian Realist authors appeared when the Arevelk (Orient) newspaper was founded (1884). Writers such as Arpiar Arpiarian, Levon Pashalian, Krikor Zohrab, Melkon Gurjian, Dikran Gamsarian and others revolved around the said newspaper. The other important newspaper at that time was the Hayrenik (Fatherland) newspaper, which becomes very populist, encourages criticism, etc.
Despite these facts, Armenians weren’t allowed to use words like Armenia, nation, fatherland, liberty, and progress in their newspapers and other written productions.
Realist ideology After 1885, Armenian authors were interested in depicting a realistic representation of life, along with all of its nudities. However, there are some authors that have kept some romantic influences, although most of them didn’t.
Under Soviet rule
The literary tradition of Khachatur Abovian, Mikael Nalbandian and Raffi was continued. This revival of tradition was carried out by such writers and poets as Hovhannes Tumanyan, Yeghishe Charents and the like. This revival took place under the Communist system, much restricting the freedom of expression of the writers.
In the late 1960s, under Leonid Brezhnev, a new generation of Armenian writers emerged. As Armenian history of the 1920s and of the Genocide came to be more openly discussed, writers like Paruyr Sevak, Gevork Emin, Silva Kaputikyan and Hovhannes Shiraz began a new era of literature. With the decline in Soviet censorship, Modernist and Avantgarde artists emerged, and poets, like Henrik Edoyan and Artem Harutyunyan were producing poetry that neither was rhymed nor fitted Socialist Realism.
A new generation of writers is currently burgeoning in independent Armenia. The lack of independent, objective literary criticism makes it difficult to cover this most modern era of Armenian literature. Extant tensions between the Soviet era “Writers’ Union of Armenia” and independent literary groups have resulted in mutual calumnies even on issues of classification as to who Armenia’s writers are.
Among the more popular of present era writers addressing issues of social dystopia and political corruption are Vahram Sahakyan and Vahe Avetian. The latter has been living in Sweden since late nineties as a result of persecution by Armenian authorities.
Another writer whose literature is difficult to classify is the American writer Armen Melikian who briefly repatriated to Armenia in 2002 and started writing in Eastern Armenian, the official language of Armenia. Melikian has disavowed allegiance to Armenian culture or literature following his exile and ostracism, yet his most recent work “Journey to Virginland” published in the United States in 2010 garnering eleven literary awards deals with some of the most fundamental issues plaguing Armenian society, such as gender relations, religious orientation, and political corruption.
Source from Wikipedia