Shushan Avagyan, a lecturer at the American University of Armenia’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has received an honorable mention by the Modern Language Association of America for her translation of “Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar,” by Viktor Shklovsky.
The distinction was made on December 4 as part of the association’s tenth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for an Outstanding Translation of a Literary Work to Robert M. Durling for his translation of The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, volume 3: Paradiso, published by Oxford University Press.
Avagyan’s translation was described by the Scaglione Prize selection committee in a press release as “an impressively readable and accurate rendering of a previously untranslated work” by one of the most influential literary authors in the Russian formalist movement.
“Shushan Avagyan captures for the English-speaking world the subtleties and complexities of this seminal work, notable for its redefinition and exaltation of estrangement (ostranenie) as the supreme device of the literary comparatist,” explains the selection committee. “Resourceful in her handling of Viktor Shklovsky’s often-digressive style, Avagyan adroitly manages the book’s manipulation of textual montage, its experimental amalgam of memoir, autobiography, biography, history, and literary criticism. The provocative tone and subversive attitude of this book and its indictment of literary stagnation and cultural parochialism are likewise conveyed to great effect.”
Avagyan received her MA and PhD from Illinois State University. She is the translator from Russian of Viktor Shklovsky’s “A Hunt for Optimism and Energy of Delusion: A Book on Plot,” as well as the translator from Armenian of “I Want to Live: Poems of Shushanik Kurghinian.”
Her articles have appeared in Contemporary Women’s Writing and The Book of Saint Ejneb and the forthcoming issue of Dissidences: Hispanic Journal of Theory and Criticism. Her work focuses on representations of trauma and mourning in African American and Armenian American literature.
The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia. Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California. Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.
The AUA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001.