Issue 2, 2010


Радосвет Коларов, Вторият сюжет: метаморфозата в „Грехът на Иван Белин”
Radosvet Kolarov, The Second Plot: the Metamorphosis in ‘Ivan Belin’s Sin’


The article sets out the hypothesis that the symbolic space in fiction, its subtext could be created from an alternative sense-generating centre, in relation to the main plot design, which could construct an anti-plot. It does not supplement or clarify the main plot organized by the story, it just deconstructs it. The work of such a mechanism is demonstrated by an analysis of Jordan Jovkov’s short story ‘Ivan Belin’s Sin’. While the conventional plot presents a resistance and postponement of completing the main events of the story – the meeting of the shepherd with the she-wolf that he kills and that has two cubs, in the sub-text space the two protagonists run one toward the other exchanging mutually asymmetrical binary semantic features so that they change places – the she-wolf acquires human characteristics while the shepherd symbolically turns into a wolf.

Милена Кирова, От овчарчето до Пастира: биография на един есхатологичен мотив според разказа за библейския цар Давид
Milena Kirova, From “a shepherd boy” to “The Shepherd”: a biography of an eschatological motif according to the story of King David


The paper explores a problem from the premises of biblical hermeneutics while making use of literary studies devices. There is one major question which it pursues: Why was King David, the most prominent character of Hebrew Biblical history, depicted as a shepherd boy in 1 Samuel 16-17? How to read the implications of shepherd symbolism in his story? In order to find answers, the paper first discusses some problems of biblical authorship, especially of the kind, most often called “The Deuteronomistic Historian”. It then goes to other shepherd characters among the patriarchs and to their interpretation by the rabbinic sages and Josephus in “Jewish wars”, proceeding to the New Testament and the figure of Jesus Christ. Gradually it becomes clear that the answers are to be found not in the field of some (more or less) historical reality but in relation to the legendary imagination which fueled the very creation of biblical history, and then continued to reproduce itself in Western arts and popular culture – up to the present day.

Дина Манчева, Библията през прочита на франкофонската и руската символистична драматургия
Dina Mancheva, Reading the Bible through the prism of the Francophone and Russian symbolist Dramа


The paper examines the Bible intertextuality in the 1890s Francophone symbolist drama and in the 1900s Russian modernist theatre in order to identify their typologic resemblances and their original trends. The analysis focuses on two kinds of Christian plots (events of human evolution and moments of God’s message), on their specific approach and functioning in modern plays.

The study reveals that similar biblical stories, their free interpretation and their close structural principles in contemporary works are characteric of both the Francophone and the Russian theatre.

However, western European authors seek out the mystic truth in the sacred writings and strengthen their universal significance, while the Slavic symbolists consider them in connection with their own national problems and call into question the optimism of God’s word. The Russian modernists also introduce some new principles into their biblical plays (grotesque, irony, conventional stage), which bring them closer to the experimental avant-garde studies of the 20th century.

Маргарита Серафимова, Биографичното пространство
Margarita Serafimova, Biographical space


The article has two dominants: on the one hand, it is a socio-poetical essay on the biography of literary places; on the other, it explores the role of places in the writer’s biographies. This particular topography in literary works tries to “investigate” the places of literary inspiration and to analyse the mysterious relation between the place of the writing and the place in the text.

The humanities today are concerned with the symbolic correspondences between biographic journeys and the unconscious. This gives birth to the hypothesis that the writer’s personal space might serve as a model for his text.

We are aware of the complexity of interactions between the virtual world of art and the reference world, whose degree of comparison can vary infinitely. However, we are tempted to visit the places which are dear to the literary memory, without knowing exactly what we expect to find at those places where a writer, a character or a verse were born.

In the genre of literary pilgrimage the place is considered a work of art, it comes in ready made, given that the author was already there. Like a poet man lives on this earth, says a famous verse by Holderlin: it incites our curiosity to get closer tohow poets feel in their lives.

Григор Хар. Григоров, Два етюда за „Мила Родино”
Grigor Har. Grigorov, Two Essays on "Mila Rodino" (“Dear Motherland”)


The article closely investigates the history of writing and re-writing, understanding and re-understanding of the song “Mila Rodino“ (“Dear Motherland”) from the end of 19th century to 1964, when it was officially declared the Bulgarian state anthem. The paper comprises two essays.

The first essay collects many imagined memories of the spontaneous creation of the song by Tzvetan Radoslavov who came back in Bulgaria to take part in the Serbian-Bulgarian War. The assumption is that the myth of spontaneous creation is attached only to songs that contain heroic declaration. This is external to the song. However, it influences its understanding – it seems that at the end of 19th century "Dear Motherland" was read as a song about a man who is returning home, while the geographical space in the first stanza was interpreted as a panoramic “photography” of the motherland, viewed from Vidin.

The text versions of ”Dear Motherland“ in secondary school music textbooks suggest that during the Balkan wars the song was re-used by Bulgarian nationalism: the melody wasturned into a march; the text was rewritten in such a way that the mentioned geographical areas had to be unequivocally understood as a map of Bulgarian ethnic territory; in some of the versions “abstracts” of the sacred Bulgarian history appear.

The second essay is dedicated to the version of the song, rewritten by Georgi Dzhagarov and Dimitar Metodiev, which was declared the state anthem in 1964. This version of the text keeps the reading of the song as an ethnic map: the geographical spaces of ”Stara Planina“, ”Danube“ and ”Pirin‘ mark the three eternal political areas of Bulgaria (Thrace, Moesia and Macedonia), according to the national myth. At the same time this version is discreetly bound to communist ideology: the assumption is that the interventions in the text are influenced by the model of song “Septemvriytsi", written by the guerilla fighter Hristo Karpachev.

Пламен Антов, Физиология на символистичния език; Език и Аз, език и лудост
Plamen Antov, The Physiology of Symbolic Language; Language and Ego, Language and Madness


The article starts with the reception of symbolic poetry by its contemporaries (Vazov, P. P. Slaveykov, St. Mladenov), a reception which uses a distinct medical, clinical figurativeness, and studies the issue of the references of symbolic language and its relations to ordinary logic. Symbolic language is examined as a particular language area where laws which are not subordinate to communicative functionality function, an area bordering on nonsense, madness and the psychopathological.

This destroyed referential is termed “hypertrophy of symbolic language”. It happens at the expense of the concrete psycho-biographical Ego, confessions available in the text, an Ego which the critics of symbolic poetry misunderstand.

The study investigates the rupture between the poetic abstract Language and the concrete, biographical, socio-historical and psychological entity, the poet’s Soul. The purpose is to prove that what is usually considered a “metaphysical soul” is actually a strict language construct. It corrects the generally used notion that Modernism sets the Ego in the pivotal point of the creative act. Actually, Modernism operates with language, not with the Ego. It examines the ontological loss of the Ego in the collective element of the Language understood as a “structural and cultural unconscious” (Ricoeur), a loss which Symbolism realizes.

The study postulates that the Language not the Ego is the absolutedominant in symbolic poetry. The Language is an only event. Poetry is reduced to its own physiology.

The process is followed mainly through moments from the works of P. K. Yavorov, D. Debelyanov and T. Trayanov. The special role of heterogeneous phenomena as humour and wars (1913–1918) for the opening of symbolic language to the reality in Bulgarian poetry is examined too.

The article discusses the symbolic language in Bulgarian poetry as a central, transitory stage between the traditional type of reflective lyrical poetry and the avant-garde, a stage when an important rupture between World and Language happens. Symbolic language is presented as a mirror which radiates an image, but does not reflect it. Therefore, the Madness of the symbolists is Culture, Language, not Nature. The madness of symbolic language and the madness in expressionism are differentiated: the former is the madness of Language, while the latter is the madness of the consciousness which the poetic language articulates.

Яни Милчаков, Младен Енчев, Славчо Паскалев – критикът на 1910 г.
Yani Milchakov, Mladen Enchev, Slavcho Paskalev – The Literary Critic of 1910


The paper offers an attempt to analyze the meaning of the notion 'anti-totalitarian literature' per se and in its Bulgarian context. This is a complex phenomenon embracing several different trends, different types of writing, different political affiliations and aesthetic views. Also, there were writers that are still difficult to classify in the main types of 'anti-totalitarian literature': political emigrants, dissidents, communists that opposed the status quo, etc. One such author was Asen Christoforov (1910-1970). A graduate of London University, a young Bulgarian professor of economics in the first post-war years, he was dismissed from the University of Sofia, later accused of being a British spy and sent to the concentration camp in Belene. Christoforov lived a lonely life for many years near the village of Govedartsi, at the foot of Rila mountain.

Nevertheless, in the late 1950s and later Chistoforov published several books. Almost all of them described the mountain and its inhabitants and especially the people of Govedartci. The paper traces the author's percecution for political reasons discretely mentioned in his work, claiming that their literary merits are greater than their 'anti-totalitarian' criticism.

Анна Алексиева, „Турски паша”, или неволите на добродетелта
Anna Alexieva, “Turkish Pasha” or the Misfortunes of Virtue


The article explores Luben Karavelov’s novel “Turkish Pasha”, accepting that the text is a good illustration of the way Bulgarian literature from the period of the National Revival considers the sphere of the violent and the sadistic on the one hand and the nature of martyr-and-victim experience on the other. The emphasis is laid upon violence and the ritualization of torture, bodily violation in Karavelov’s novel which inevitably leads to analogies with works written nearly a century earlier, like for example “Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue” by Marquis de Sade, no matter how paradoxical these parallels may seem because of the different socio-cultural context and the receptive status of the authors. Both works are built upon the principle of “text within text”, in both cases the narrators are women and both works use the categorical apparatus of the Enlightenment discourse.

The article considers the obvious intertextual closeness, yet it does not unfold as a typical comparative analysis, because above all it is interested in the attempt of Bulgarian literature to build its own model of making sense of violence and suffering, which without being totally different from the available European practices and concepts, has its own specificity because it is refracted through the prism of national identity. This model is studied on different levels: with respect to the nature of the sadistic subject (which coincides with the character of the Turk to the extent to which it is doubly negated - as a foreign invader and a figure with power, a tyrant), with respect to the object of sadistic violation (the victims are always young, virtuous, and innocent) and from the point of view of the ritualization of the punishments and the sexual aggression of the oppressor.

The motif of incest is explored as an final phase of the regression of sadistic violation. This motif turns into the tragic culmination of Karavelov’s text. We can see in this motif not only the familiar folklore matrix (the meeting between the brother and the sister, who failed to recognize each other), but also the Revivalist concept of retribution because of the lack of memory. Karavelov’s characters are punished because they have forgotten who they are, because of their failure to preserve their national identity. The text spares only the nun, who tells the story about the endless Bulgarian sufferings, who describes the misfortunes of virtue, following the ideological point of view of the time that a happy ending is impossible under the yoke.

Люба Чернинкова, „Пътешественикът от този свят до онзи”: „Пътешественикът” на Бъниан в България от 1866 г. до 2007 г.
Lyuba Cherninkova, “The Pilgrim’s Progress from this World to that which is to come”: Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” in Bulgaria from 1866 to 2007


The paper examines the reception of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan in Bulgaria presenting the cultural context in which the literary work appeared for the first time in Bulgarian in 1866. It has been reedited many times and the article provides a list of all available editions including an edition that is not registered in any library catalogue. It is known that the latter was published in Plovdiv and the publisher’s name is Belovezhdov. The paper elaborates on the edition in question shedding more light on who most probably published it and when that possibly happened. New translation variants have appeared in the numerous editions of The Pilgrim’s Progress and it is the allegorical anthroponyms and toponyms that vary considerably. Despite the changes, however, the later editions are not entirely new translations but revised versions of the first editions which are the one of 1866 (Part I) and the one of 1886 (Part II) respectively. The transformations, which the initial translation, done by the American missionary Dr Albert Long, has undergone, are illustrated with examples in the paper and the major tendencies in the rendition of the allegorical names are briefly outlined as well.


Дечка Чавдарова, Kонцептуализацията на богомилството в българската култура през погледа на полска българистка
(Haeresis bulgarica. Grazyna Szwat-Gylybow. Warszawa, 2005. Slawistyczny osrodek wydawniczy)