What is the experience of feeling like an exile in one’s own land? How does the creative artist communicate inner thoughts to a seemingly uncaring public? Can a person remain true to herself and yet participate meaningfully in society? Is romantic love possible for an artist committed to her craft?
In this psychological novel, Zabel Yessayan (1878-1943), recognized today as one of the greatest writers in Western Armenian literature, explores these questions within the context of social and intellectual life in Constantinople during the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the outbreak of World War I. Following success abroad as an artist, the protagonist Emma returns home to the Ottoman capital where she confronts her feelings of alienation and isolation.
In addition to the novel My Soul in Exile, this volume includes a sampling of other works, particularly those addressing the role of women in society, translated by G. M. Goshgarian, Jennifer Manoukian, and Nanore Barsoumian.