Issue 1, 2008


Милена Кирова, Еврейската Библия и проблемът за историческата истина
Milena Kirova, The Jewish Bible and the Problem of Historical Truth


The paper's theoretical basis is the modern thesis that the past is a verbal construct with a mirror function: it reflects above all the desires and necessities of the particular age that is writing or reading its past. A typical text of that kind is the Jewish Bible, although even the academics had been for centuries under its (literary) power to suggest the word as a historical truth. In fact for the writers of ancient Israel authenticity itself was not a value and the aspiration for "it" could be understood rather as a usefulness criterion in the description of past events. The paper examines precisely those mechanisms of "usefulness" that produced the biblical author's historical consciousness. Studied in it are the notion of the unique origin of the Jewish religion, the myth of the conquest of Canaan, the laws that formed what we now call "ethnic separatism". The point of their intersection is displayed through the general concept ideology.

Клео Протохристова, Как с часовници се правят светове
Cleo Protokhristova, How clocks create worlds


The paper presents the intricate itinerary of the timepiece concept in European culture from the Middle Ages to the 18th century through different discoursive fields such as astronomy, geography, theology, philosophy, natural history, ethics, literature, etc.

The conceptual evolution of the clock in European history is reconstructed by the survey of the changing perceptions, roles and functions of timepieces in European culture. Utilised initially in the Middle Ages as a regulator of human activities, caught within profane, cyclic time (versus eternity), and throughout the Renaissance as a vehicle to take sailors across the seas, later in the 17th century the clock turned into a specific megametaphor of European culture. Imagined as a divine mechanism presenting the Universe as God's creation, the clock was established as a universal sign capable of designating numerable aspects of man and the world.

Most specific proved to be the development of the timepiece concept in the 18th century when it was introduced in literature (mainly as a detested symbol of bourgeois orderliness and social compulsion) and consequently was appropriated (and misappropriated) by incompatible social discourses.

Николай Аретов, Балканските народи и Османската империя: Едно отхвърлено наследство
Nikolay Aretov, The Rejected Legacy


The Ottoman legacy is a curious topic in Bulgarian cultural studies. Despite the overall quest for prestigious legacies and heritages (Antique, Thracian, even Byzantine, not to mention Slav and Proto-Bulgarian), it is still neglected and even rejected. Mass consciousness admits some traces and influences in the field of material culture, in cuisine, rarely in traditional costumes and even more rarely in customs. The Ottoman legacy is often seen as a "legacy of shame" from which modern Bulgarians should deliberate themselves.

The paper is trying to deal with some aspects of the complex problem of interferences, border phenomena, mechanisms and arguments that deny the Ottoman legacy. It focuses on some cases in which rejection in fact appears to be confirmation, like when one's own identity is based on the rejection of some other identity (Ottoman, Turk, Muslim) using its proper matrix. Not infrequently own "high" traditions are succeeded by foreign "low" traditions in a text and a situation. In other instances one could trace curious coexistence of rejection and glorification of the alien and Turk in particular. This was typical for some canonical literary works, dedicated to the struggle for national independence (such as the memoirs of Zachari Stoyanov), and for modern text of culture too. The author attempts to see these phenomena in the context of national mythology.

All of us are inclined to think of national mythology as built mainly on the basis of narrations of the great ancestors' glorious deeds. The narrations of suffering and traumatic events that consolidate the community through other mechanism supplement the general picture. It is not so obvious that some important events in which "ours" overcome "enemies" are either missing, or appear later, or are presented modestly. Other victories, either real or easy to imagine, do not have the place we expect them to have. The present paper points at some similar cases in Bulgarian context and some possible explanations.

Bulgarian national mythology's main plot is the abducted treasure narrative - Bulgarians were first and foremost victims and then liberators and avengers. This plot has its inverted mirror image variations in which heroic Bulgarians abducted "other's" women, books, faith. It had its ground in history, but its presence in national mythology is limited, the reasons for that being rather complex and not so clear. In certain cases they have to do with so called ressentiment. One of these inverted mirror image variations of the abducted treasure plot unexpectedly became actual in the late 20th century in connection with the name change of the Muslims in Bulgaria. These events have enormous myth-generating capacity that can go in diametrically opposed directions and have not yet fully shown its potential.

Бисера Дакова, "Химни и балади" (1912) на Т. Траянов - телеологии и антитези. Радикализираният декаданс
Bisera Dakova, Teodor Trayanov's "Hymns and ballads" (1912): Teleologies and Antithesis. The Radicalized Decadence.


The study of Teodor Trayanov's "Hymns and ballads" (1912) attempts to restore the book's authentic poetry which seemed erased forever by the proper styling in teleological perspective in 1929 ("The Free Man") and later arbitrarily reduced by two works (1966 and 1981).

Until now the interpretation of Teodor Trayanov's poetry had been based on the 1929 canonical text, as well as on the unreserved confidence in the lyric entities - created later by the editors Lyudmil Stoyanov (1966) and Ivan Sestrimski (1981) - entities that were principally subordinated to given criteria and were a serious violation of the author's will. The insoluble plait of representatives of Trayanov's text and solid critical perception have found the incontrovertible idea of monolithic and misunderstood poetry where the dramatic double turns were excluded in advance. In this firm interpretative scheme of the book "Hymns and ballads" lies the unenviable place of a transition unit - it is called to mark the first symptoms of a more fresh and constructive attitude to the world.

Relying entirely on the original edition of "Hymns and ballads" (1912) the present paper gradually enters in a text reality the structural basis of which is the poetical contrast: between neuropathologic decadence (Felix Doörmann) and Jugendstil (Richard Dehmel), between melancholy and ecstasy, between ominous intonation resembling Schopenhauer's style and the intensive living along Nietzsche.

The study shows that this "transitional" and plain book contains poetry representative of the period until 1912 in a manifest and clear way and brightly defined individualism and the expressionism born it its bosom. It suggests at least two stories to follow: surmounting the suffering I, the enthusiastic, irresistible, and vital WE, and the transfiguration of the ritual language into rude, expressive, and barbarian lexis. In this sense "Hymns and ballads" (1912) apostrophizes the idea of the frozen in Teodor Trayanov's poetry, painfully revealing the dramatic way to modernity, which Trayanov experienced prematurely.

Елизария Рускова, Николай Райнов - един театрален визионер
Elizariya Ruskova, Nikolai Raynov as a Visionary of Theatre


On the basis of four publications written by Nikolai Raynov between 1920 and 1924 the paper emphasizes the presence of a new aesthetic project in the history of theatre and literary theory in Bulgaria. In this project the Bulgarian thinker set apart the concept of "fantastic theatre" and pointed to its two basic features. "Fantastic" reality was seen as the opposite of Aristotle's or Plato's type of mimesis and the distance between the actor and his audience was shortened. As a sign of the play of the future, N. Raynov accepted the idea of "retheatricalization of life", promoted by the Russian Modernist N. N. Evreinov. N. Raynov's short story Drama illustrated the idea of a new "fantastic" theatre providing similarity with some of Evreinov's methods such as "auto-bio-reconstruction" and "theatre for oneself". Although the project was not put into practice, it is a substantial part of the Bulgarian avant-garde aesthetics that proved to be close to the European patterns of the same years.

Надежда Цочева, Проблеми на изкуството в декоративната критика и есеистика на Чавдар Мутафов
Nadezhda Tzocheva, Aspects of Art in Chavdar Mutafov's Decorative Criticism


The paper examines Chavdar Mutafov's theory of modern art, based on the concepts of style, subjectivity, spirituality and synthesis, and explores the connections between the avant-garde artist and W. Kandinsky (as regards the concept of spirituality in art and the synthetic art), V. Voringer (on the matter of abstraction and sensation), L. Curtius (about ideoplastic art) and H. Barr (concerning the metaphor of the inner eye). Mutafov's aestheticism emphasizes the dynamics of stylistic processes such as impressionism, aestheticism, expressionism, primitivism and the arrival at a brand new objectivity - banal art as a revision of expressionism. At the heart of Mutafov's artistic experiment lies the thesis of art's duality - a synthesis between the decorative and the banal.

Вера Ганчева, Емануел Сведенборг и учението за съответствията - езотеричен идеен комплекс и поетика
Vera Gancheva, Emanuel Swedenborg and the Correspondence Doctrine: An Esoteric Complex of Ideas and Poetics


The Swedish scientist, philosopher and writer Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is one of the most internationally famous representatives of his native country and of European Enlightenment with a strong influence on many bright minds in the world even to this day. Influenced by Descartes, but also by Locke and Leibnitz, Swedenborg saw the world as subject to mechanical laws and already in his first works of a progressively philosophical and psychological nature he investigated the question of the relationship between mind and matter, body and spirit, coming to the conclusion that soul is material. Like almost all scientists of those days, Swedenborg's starting point lay in Christianity. For him there was a natural link between the function of the soul and the problem of good and evil; also with the epistemological question of the nature of human knowledge. Knowledge, he thought, partly springs from experience, partly - from intuition which is divine clarity, light.

During his Journal of Dreams period (approx. 1743-1745) Swedenborg went through an existential and religious crisis and became a mystic. He decided to discover and explain the complex structure of the universe with the help of the scientific rationalism, characteristic of his time.

The essence of Swedenborg's message is theosophy, knowledge of God and its best known aspect is the correspondence doctrine, a dynamic context in which the natural, spiritual and divine things are connected in a whole with universal importance and validity. The idea of this concordance has served as a special approach to creation in literature and arts but also as their general principle to many thinkers, writers, musicians, artists in different countries and epochs like the European Romanticists, Emerson, Balzac, Baudelaire, Strindberg, Pound, Borges, Milosz, Brodsky and probably above all - Dostoyevsky.

Витана Костадинова, Байроновият "Манфред" на български език
Vitana Kostadinova, Manfred in Bulgarian context


The paper considers Byron's Manfred in the context of Bulgarian Modernism and the popularity of the poem, which underwent nine translations and fourteen editions within the first half of the 20th century. It considers Jauss' discussion of a "second horizontal change" (1982) and Iser's reflections on the relationship between text structure and reception processes (1972-1976).

For all its popularity, a number of the poem's messages got lost in translation. The essay focuses on three major versions of Manfred in Bulgarian and considers some points of departure from the original. Tracing how the three translations differ on account of the translators' aesthetic commitments (individualism, expressionism and symbolism would be the key words here), the texts are analyzed in terms of what they tell us about chronotopes, about Bulgarian culture in particular and cultural translation in general.

In the process of analyzing the variability of translated texts, Stanley Fish's question "Is there a text in this class?" emerges modified. In addition, there are always the cultural and literary allusions of the original text to be considered. The essay provides illustrations of the loss of some religious connotations in the Bulgarian translations examined.

In conclusion, Susan Bassnett's interpretation of the "violet in the crucible" metaphor is discussed. Translation is seen as a dynamic development from the initial realization of the author's intention, through the numerous cultural transformations of the original text to a specific concretization, rather than a static result of language conversion.

Интервю с Ладислав Матейка, (въпросите зададе Питър Стайнер)
Ladislav Matejka interviewed by Peter Steiner


Интервю с Ладислав Матейка, (въпросите зададе Питър Стайнер)
Ladislav Matejka interviewed by Peter Steiner