Petros Duryan

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Պետրոս Դուրյան

Petros Duryan (1851-1872) was the first poet to free the language from its classical formalism and speak in a vernacular that was both pure and noble. Born and educated in Istanbul (Hagop Baronian was one of his teachers), Duryan died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty. His entire oeuvre consists of about ten plays on historic themes, thirteen letters, and forty poems, where he speaks of death and ruin, unrequited love, helpless anger at social injustice, and hatred of all despotism. Duryan is also said to have left an unfinished autobiographical novel titled Nights of Bosphorus, which, like some of his plays perished in a fire shortly after his death. His influence on succeeding generations of poets was huge. “Duryan’s tears touched my frozen soul and opened it like a flower in spring,” one of them wrote. “It as through his poetry that I began to understand the language of flowers and the sweetness of sorrow… I was inebriated with life’s lyric song and the sun’s wine.” – Vahan Totovents

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