The 14th Annual Vardanants Day Lecture - The Unknown Saroyan

Between 1993 and 2018, the Library of Congress hosted the Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture Series. Hosted by the Near East section of the Library, and named in honor of the Armenian religious holiday commemorating the Battle of Avarayr, these lectures have discussed topics in areas of the arts, politics, history, literature, and culture. The 2009 lecture, titled The Unknown Saroyan, presented matrerial in honor of the centerary of William Saroyan's birth the year before. Hosted and introduced by Levon Avdoyan, the Library of Congress Area Specialist for Armenia and Georgia, the primary speaker is Dickran Kouymjian, the former Haig and Isbael Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at California State University, Fresno. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, also provides remarks. 

Professor Kouymjian speaks on William Saroyan's art practice, his work in film, and general biographical elements. Of special note is the reading of an October 1931 letter by Saroyan to the art teacher Rudolf Schaeffer discussing his early art work and the artists he admired at the time, a reading from Young Saroyan by Mary Jane Deeb (Chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress), and a look at William Saroyan's work in film. 

The lecture was followed by a screening of Saroyan's film The Good Job, which is not included in this video. 

You can find further information on the Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture Series on the Library of Congress' website for the series.

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