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The Reawakening (c. 1840-1880)
While the Renaissance, veratznud, fitted into the traditional structures of cultural production and propagated through them, the term Reawakening, zart"onk", a common word in Armenian storiography, denotes the period during which new structures, new means of propagation, and also new partners in cultural production were created.

In other words, this was the period when the victories of the Renaissance left their elitist environments wherein the learned culture of the past had always been guarded, and became the common property of the whole people, in both the productive and the receptive sense.

The Reawakening true and proper was preceded by a period of transition, the first decades of the nineteenth century.

The main thing one notices during this time is the first great expansion of schools and the first attempts to set up the periodical press.

This was also the period when modern Armenian began to appear forcefully in cultured literature, becoming the object of learned discussions and elaborate study.

About halfway through the century, modern Armenian was already well established, even though there was still some hesitation over accepting it in the more traditional circles, that were closely attached to classical Armenian. Language, then, was one of the most evident manifestations of the Reawakening.

Another fundamental development of these times was the abolition of the clerical monopoly over culture, which was carried out without a hitch because it was brought about by the clerics themselves, in their schools.

This obviously meant that cultural content too became secularized.

From now on, Armenian culture was to keep pace with the great movements of the West; indeed, it often brought the West to the Middle East.

The Reawakening was, in fact, greatly influenced by Romanticism and an urgent neo-Classicism.

In the Reawakening, attention was also paid to socio-pedagogical problems (the emancipation of women, a reassessment of the theatre as entertainment, of the actor"s profession, certain changes in lifestyle, and so on).

The Reawakening profoundly changed Armenian society both in the Ottoman capital and, later, in the internal provinces.

For the eastern Armenians, Tiflis, that nineteenth-century cosmopolitan city, acted as a go-between for Russian-German and Armenian culture.

Religious questions and struggles also left their mark on the period.

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Writer: Hasmik Muradyan
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 07:57:45 

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