Translated by Beyon Miloyan and Kimberley McFarlane
Hakob Melik Hakobian, better known as Raffi, is one of Armenia's literary treasures. This is a set of four original translations of his works published by Sophene. These include two of his most well-known works, Jalaleddin and The Fool, along with the first English translation of his first and last novellas, Harem and Prohaeresius. This is a set of four paperbacks, and all works are extensively footnoted and include extra materials such as character lists, maps, and original introductions or afterwords that provide the reader with greater historical context for the works.
The Fool Audiobook
Jalaleddin. First published in 1878, Jalaleddin follows the story of a young man with nothing to lose as he embarks on a journey through the valleys and peaks of the Eastern Anatolian Mountains to rediscover a treasure he lost long ago. Based on events that took place during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, this short yet vivid narrative intensely portrays the human spirit in all its capacity for love and hate, war and peace, civility and wildness, and destruction and self-sacrifice.
Harem. First published in 1874, Harem is based loosely on events following the Battle of Krtsanisi in Tbilisi in 1795, along with Raffi’s own experiences living in Iran. The narrative evocatively brings to life events at once sensual, dark, and conspiratorial in and around the Royal Palace of the Crown Prince of Persia, where the most interesting things happen at night.
Prohaeresius. In his last novella, Raffi takes the reader to late antiquity Athens to introduce the Greco-Armenian philosopher, Prohaeresius. Little known to the modern world, Prohaeresius was among the most famed philosophers and orators of his day, with statues erected in his honor in Athens and Rome, and honors from the Byzantine court. Prohaeresius was also an illustrious and sought-after educator, teaching Saints Basil of Caesarea and Gregory the Theologian. Here, Raffi imagines a meeting between Prohaeresius and the Father of Armenian Literature, Movses Khorenatsi, where Movses implores Prohaeresius to return to Armenia to help the country face grave dangers. Interspersed with lines from ancient Armenian historical sources, this edition includes the first translation of Prohaeresius, the original Armenian text, and “The Life of Prohaeresius,” the only surviving contemporary biography of Prohaeresius by his student Eunapius (translated into English from Ancient Greek).
The Fool. The year is 1877 and the Ottoman Empire is embroiled in war. A young man escapes a crumbling fortress during a military siege. Disguising himself as a jester, he entertains the enemy camp before disappearing into the night. He sets out on a passionate and daring mission that involves a wealthy family, secret contrabandists, corrupt government officials, self-absorbed clerics, and a young propagandist from Constantinople. All are in pursuit of their own secret motives, while their nation lies on the brink of doom…
Hakob Melik Hakobian, better known as Raffi, was born in the Persian village of Payajuk in 1835 to a family of wealthy merchants. He was educated in Tbilisi, before he took over the family textile business. Thereafter, he taught and travelled extensively throughout Armenia, Transcaucasia, and eastern Anatolia (historical Armenia), and dedicated his life to writing. Raffi is among Armenia's literary treasures. He wrote over a dozen novels, short stories and poems, and pioneered the Armenian historical novel.
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