Roslin Press, a New-York based publishing house founded in 2016, recently announced its flagship offering: the first ever Western Armenian translation of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.
Since its publication in 1950, generations of children have and continue to grow up with the Narnia books and films. However, Armenian youth have yet to experience this wonderful land of fantasy and magic in their mother tongue. Roslin Press has taken on the daunting task of bringing this classic work of children’s fiction to young Armenian readers all around the world.
The first of the seven volumes was translated by Christian Patikian while the remaining six by me (Nanor Mikayelian). The volumes have been edited by Dr. Vartan Matiossian.
We, the translators, use a simple and accessible language, paying close attention to capture the playful rhetoric used by children today. Nevertheless, special care is taken to introduce and reinforce new vocabulary to ensure that the reader not only has fun reading, but gains a stronger command of Western Armenian.
Nowadays, there is an ever-greater desire to read the complex fairy tale—a fairy tale where dragons not only exist as fierce fire breathers, but are themselves deep characters, where they laugh and cry and even feel remorse.
Cue C.S, Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, the classic high fantasy series written for readers young and old alike. Split into seven volumes—six of which I had the pleasure of translating.
It’s been a full year of day-dreaming in Narnia—a land of untold beauty and fantastical creatures: a winged horse, playful nymphs, and stoic trolls; a land where kings rule justly, where the simple family life is upheld, and all are treated with kindness and respect; a land where unimaginably beautiful castles pepper the countryside, golden apples line the rolling hills, and friends will selflessly defend their comrades when under attack, armed with patience, dedication, and—most importantly—faith.
Unfortunately, for many, reading has become nothing more than a dreaded chore. But I beg to argue that there is no better way of transporting yourself to another world than through the printed world. The feel of paper on your fingertips, the unbridled freedom given to you, the reader, to create the look and feel of the new world. We can climb the highest of mountains and taste the sweetest of fruit. Reading to me has always been the ultimate getaway. The book has been both my closest friend and my most cherished teacher.
Put simply, the printed word can capture the very essence of life itself.
Through C.S Lewis’s fantasy world, we see that both good and evil are all around us…and even to be found within ourselves. Between these two extremes lies a very thin line—on one side light, the other darkness and despair. The land of Narnia with the help of our young (and unlikely) heroes is able to overcome the forces that seek its destruction and find eternal happiness in the bountiful world before them.