L'Empire ottoman revisité – DOAJ

Cahiers Balkaniques (Dec 2008)

L'Empire ottoman revisité

  • Krikor Beledian

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 37
pp. 197 – 211


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This lecture is dedicated to the monumental works of Hagop Sirouni (Djololian, Turkey 1890-Bucarest 1973), a poet, novelist, litterary theorist and historian. Send in exile in Romania in 1923, he edited the periodical press « Nawasart » (1924-25) and other litterary publications in armenian and/or roumanian. Arrested in 1944 and condemned in a ten year sentence in a Siberian camp, Sirouni returns in Bucharest at the beginning of the fifties. Obsessed by the nostalgia of a country lost and haunted by the terror that came along with the years 1915-1918, Sirouni set about evoking the end of the Empire in the stories and theater pieces he wrote in the twenties and thirties. He transforms art into a modality of survival. This sort of writing is progressively transfigured in memories and historical reconstitution (Constantinople and its role, four volumes), as if the writer’s mind, now fixed towards the very beginning would refuse any of the charms of fiction or autobiography dedicating itself to a more distanced examination, a more critical interpretation of the birth and the demise of the Empire. The historical narrative substitutes the literary one. We have often talked of the renunciation of literature with regard to this particular turnaround. At the same time, we can’t help noticing that the Ottoman Empire revisited, in his archives, remains an objet of desire, which fascinates and tears apart at the same time the double exile that was Sirouni.