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Dr. Levon Avdoyan Presents New E-Book on 500 Years of Armenian Literary Tradition at the 2015 Nation

Updated: Jul 19

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On Saturday, September 5, Dr. Levon Avdoyan, Armenian & Georgian Area Specialist of the Library of Congress, presented a new e-book as part of the 2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival. The e-book, entitled “To Know Wisdom and Instruction,” contains 75 color images highlighting the varieties of the Armenian literary tradition from the era of manuscripts through the early periods of print and on to contemporary publishing.


“Dr. Avdoyan continues to expand public access to the many riches of the Library of Congress Armenian collection, which is a veritable treasure house of historic artifacts including manuscripts, rare maps, recordings, and a wide range of Armenian publications from around the world both old and new,” stated Dr. Rouben Adalian, director of the Armenian National Institute who attended the presentation. “I applaud him for sharing again with new audiences all this information at the Library of Congress Pavilion during the National Book Festival which has become a major cultural event in Washington, D.C.” Adalian said.

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Featured manuscripts range from 14th- and 15th-century gospel books hand-copied by monks to 19th-century works on palmistry (Constantinople, 1894), firefighting (Venice, 1832), cotton production (Paris, 1859) and the first modern Armenian novel, “Armenia’s Wounds,” by K. Abovyan (1848).


The first complete Armenian language printed Bible from Amsterdam in 1666 is also included, with a richly illuminated missal copied in 1722 for the use of the celebrant of the Armenian liturgy. With these comes a rare 19th-century musical manuscript by Pietro Bianchini, who was the first to transcribe the Armenian liturgy using European musical notation.


A 20th-century Soviet edition of the Armenian national epic, “David of Sasun,” (1962) is one of the more contemporary items included in the collection.

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In 2012, the Library of Congress marked the quincentenary of this milestone with an exhibition titled “To Know Wisdom and Instruction: The Armenian Literary Tradition at the Library of Congress” with a companion volume compiled by Dr. Avdoyan. This volume is now available as an interactive e-book (through the Armenian eBook Initiative from the iBookstore).


The Library’s exhibition, “To Know Wisdom and Instruction,” can be viewed online at www.loc.gov/exhibits/armenian-literary-tradition/.


The Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division (www.loc.gov/rr/amed/) is the center for the study of 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East and the Caucasus to Central Asia. The division’s Near East Section is a major repository for Armenian language materials on a wide variety of subjects in varied formats.


Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s first-established federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.

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