Center for Armenian Studies at University of Michigan presents a Webinar titled “From the Alexander Romance to the Base of the City of Brass, Movements of Medieval Armenian Poetry” by Alex MacFarlane, 2020-21 Manoogian Postdoctoral Fellow, U-M. on Wednesday, September 9, 12 PM.
The Armenian “Alexander Romance,” translated as early as the 5th century, was accompanied in the medieval period by short poems that heightened the sensory or emotional stakes of a scene, moralized on Alexander’s actions, or fit the marvels of the world’s edges into Christian Creation. These poems traveled further: into the early modern, abbreviated version of the “Alexander Romance” where new poems were composed; and into separate anthology manuscripts, where they were copied in short, standalone collections alongside hymns, poetry, or entire wonder tales. This lecture will explore the movements of these poems, offering a guide into their fluidity and change between texts and manuscripts across the centuries.
Alex MacFarlane earned her PhD from the University of Oxford in 2020. Her dissertation titled “Alexander Re-Mapped: Geography and Identity in the ‘Alexander Romance’ in Armenia” examines how medieval Armenian literary traditors composed ‘kafas’ (short, monorhymed poems) to accompany the “Alexander Romance.” Using these ‘kafas’, Dr. MacFarlane is able to situate the text’s more fantastical parts – where Alexander journeys to the edges of the world – within a broader Christian cosmology. Dr. MacFarlane’s current research interests include the translation and circulation of wonder tales in the medieval and early modern Caucasus and Middle East, especially the “Alexander Romance” and the “History of the City of Brass.”