Photographer` Karen Mirzoyan
Marc Nichanian is a philosopher and literary critic. He taught in the Middle East Depart­ment of Columbia University in New York from 1996 to 2007 and at the Haigazian Uni­versity in Beirut in the academic year 2007-2008. He is the editor of KAM, a periodical publication in Armenian, of which 6 volumes have been published from 1980 to 2005. In English he authored Writers of Disaster (2002) and edited two other volumes (on the poet Charents and on Atom Egoyan’s Ararat). In French he recently published La Perversion historiographique (also forthcoming in English translation at the Columbia Univ. Press), and began a series on 20th century Armenian literature, under the general title of Entre l’art et le témoignage [Between Art and Testimony]. Two volumes in this series have already been published. The third one, Le Roman de la Catastrophe [Catastrophe and the novel] will appear in 2009.


translator: G. M. Goshgarian

Where does this moment lie? Should we look for it in "aristocratic Darwinism"? Can we discern it in the fiction of the people as a work of art, which is the very definition of "national-aestheticism"? Is it present from the outset, in the announcement and expectation of a new mythology? Or even earlier, in the philological definition of religion as mythological? These questions are plainly appropriate in the case of the Mehyan group, Zarian's participation in which was anything but an aberration. But they are also appropriate to the whole of the European adventure, the one that led from the discovery of mythology to National Socialism. No attempt to determine Nietzsche's place in this European trajectory can sidestep them. What are we to make of the affirmation of art? Is it to be confined to playing a denunciatory, deconstructive role? Or should it be placed back within the circuit of power, which is to be affirmed in its turn? The distinction between art as mourning and art as founding fiction is of no help here.