Issue 1, 2011

Съдържание

Николай Аретов, Скици и откровения. Литературното творчество на Асен Христофоров
Nikolay Aretov, Sketches and Confessions: Assen Christophorov as a Writer

Summary

The literary works of Christophorov should be studied in the context of several more general problems.

  1. Possible links between the author’s economic writings and literary texts.
  2. The ratio between fact and fiction.
  3. The introduction of autobiographical elements in literary narratives.
  4. The writer’s attitude to the social and political status quo.
  5. Examining the Christophorov’s work and his rich archive as one big ‘auto-text’ and analyzing the hidden tensions in it.
  6. Scrutinizing the relationship of Christophorov’s writings to texts by other Bulgarian and foreign authors as well as direct or indirect citations or references to foreign works.

By combining these approaches the scholar can achieve a mapping of the world that Christophorov built and its mythology. The paper tries to combine the following approaches and summarizes some observations on the Christophorov’s work and its place in the Bulgarian literature from the mid-twentieth century.


Румен Аврамов, Интелектуалната метаморфоза на Асен Христофоров
Roumen Avramov, The Intellectual Methamorphosis of Assen Christophorov

Summary

The paper explores the biography of Assen Christophorov (1910 – 1970) – an eminent Bulgarian economist and author. After completing the full course of Robert College in Istanbul (1931), he graduated as Bachelor of Sciences (Economics) from the London School of Economics in 1934. Back in Bulgaria, Christophorov built a solid reputation as one of the leading economists during the inter-war period. He made outstanding contributions to the fields of business cycle studies and theories, monetary economics, finance and the economics of war. In 1947 he was suspended by the communist authorities and forced to abandon his university career. During 1951 – 1952 he was persecuted by the regime’s police and interned to a labour camp. Afterwards Christophorov devoted himself to freelance literary activities. Author, in 1945, of an acclaimed book, narrating his student’s life in London, he published various novels and short stories. Concurrently, he was a prolific translator of English and American authors.
The paper draws from archival sources and, in particular, from the recently opened files of the communist regime’s secret police, gathered during Christophorov‘s imprisonment and the long period of surveillance that ensued. The focus is on his life during the 1950s and 1960s and on the compromises he had to face in order to pursue his intellectual endeavour. Christophorov is considered an insightful case of successful intellectual “conversion” that permitted him to abandon a strictly monitored ideological field (economics) and migrate towards a subtler one (prose) where certain freedom of expression was somewhat easier to achieve. A counter-factual exercise is designed: Christophorov’s hypothetical trajectory as an economist in a “free world” is contrasted with his tangible accomplishments as an author in the communist realm. It is inferred that the biographical disruption in 1947 released another talent that gave birth to remarkable pieces of belles-lettres.


Николай Папучиев, Разказвайки всекидневието. Срещата с Другия в текстовете на Асен Христофоров
Nikolay Papuchiev, Retelling Everyday Life. Meeting the Other in Assen Christophorov's Texts

Summary

The article is a theoretical attempt to show the different descriptive ways of identical cultural practices in Assen Christophorov's books Macakurtsi and Iskrovete. The main emphasis is laid on the narrative strategies, used by the author to give the texts artistic value and ethnographic authenticity. The article focuses on the epistemic norms and scientific traditions in description of the people's ways of life in the traditional context. Creating an integrated historical and folkloristic account about the national cultural heritage and pushing away the "exotic" practices in the field of "cultural intimacy" is seen as an ideological context in which the strategies of Christophorov's texts are formed.


Николета Пътова, Oпитът на Aсен Христофоров в драматургията
Nikolata Patova, Assen Christophorov’s Attempt at Dramaturgy

Summary

The one and only attempt of the writer Assen Christophorov in the field of dramaturgy is the play "Razvigorat". It is written in co-authorship with the humorist Haim Benadov. This creative tandem and the fact that Christophorov makes an unusual attempt for his writer’s occupation, arouses questions whose answers are sought in this article.
"Razvigorat" does not shine with specific literary merits. This is a mediocre play on anti-cult topics. Therefore, the objective is not a scientific literary analysis of the play, but placing it in the context of the dramaturgy of the 1960s. Thematically "Razvigorat" is closest to the "Prokurorat" by G. Djagarov. Together with the attempt to clarify the creative and the ideological atmosphere of that time, this article makes a parallel between the fates of the two plays.


Катя Зографова, „Някогашният Пловдив” на Рилския отшелник
Katya Zografova, "The Old Plovdiv" of the Rila Recluse

Summary

The paper provides an interesting recourse to different places and times during Assen Christophorov’s life. There is a bitter irony in the voluntarily chosen solitary life in the village of Govedartsy full of the suspicions of the local peasants and the philosophic perception of the life in Belene concentration camp. The complexity of the description of the village is a real reflection of the contradictory and difficult years of 1950s, far away from the religious and political alienation, even full of dislike for the pseudo religious monk’s behavior.
The author enters the layers of Christophorov’s family and personal memories from the heights of his age linking the roots of family history and his own destiny with his childhood perceptions of Old Plovdiv. These are not simply childhood memories but a return of an adult to the social reality of totalitarian times.
The paper discovers unexpected relations with the cultural perceptions of Rila mountain and Plovdiv with Vazov, Alvadjiev and Daltchev. In the deep structure of the text we can discover the rich culture and analytical capabilities of Assen Christophorov.


Соня Млекарова, Спомени за Асен Христофоров
Sonya Mlekarova, Remembering Assen Christophorov

Summary

This paper is an interview with the writer's wife and his sister taken in 1986. The author of the paper who was graduating from the University of Plovdiv at that time seeks interesting facts about the life and work of the late Assen Christophorov (1910-1970) and his family.


Иван Звънчаров, Архивът на Асен Христофоров в Националния литературен музей
Ivan Zvancharov, On the Collection of Assen Christophorov’s Works at the National Museum of Literature

Summary

This paper is an interview with the writer's wife and his sister taken in 1986. The author of the paper who was graduating from the University of Plovdiv at that time seeks interesting facts about the life and work of the late Assen Christophorov (1910-1970) and his family.


Лиляна Владева, Архивният фонд на Асен Христофоров в Централния държавен архив
Liliana Vladeva, The archive stock for Assen Christophorov at the Central State Archives

Summary

The article features the archive stock for Asen Christophorov, which is kept at the Central state archives (CSA). It contains documents and photos that generally represent his entire life cycle and creative work – from his college years at the Robert College in Istanbul (1937-1931), through his studies at the London University (1931-1934), his time as a director of the Situation Office at the General Statistics Office (1935-1938), his work as a professor at the State School of Higher Education for Financial and Administrative Studies (present University of National and World Economy) in Sofia (1940-1947) and the State University „St. Kliment Ohridski“ (present Sofia University) (1943-1947). The stock also contains documents concerning the “Stopanski Vesti” (Business News) magazine. There are also documents about Asen Christophorov’s arrest and imprisonment at the Belene concentration camp (1951-1952) as well as files related to his stay and work in the village of Govedartsi, Samokov Region.
The main part of the stock consists of documents regarding Asen Christophorov’s scientific research and writing. It contains two monographs as well as a number of his research papers and articles on theoretical topics and issues of present interest. Some of these are manuscripts; others are published in various economic media.
Hristoforov’s archive stock contains typewritten versions of the “Matsakurtsi” short novel, the “Corvee” novel, the “Three Men and a Donkey in the Rila Mountains” short novel, the “Treasure Hunters” short novel, the “Revelations” article cycle, as well as Christophorov’s translation of James Joyce’s “Dubliners” and more.


Александър Шурбанов, Литературни преливания
Alexander Shurbanov, Literary transfusion

Summary

This essay deals with a variety of intriguing analogies between literary works that can hardly be ascribed to intertextual contact. It starts with more obvious cases of continuity within a national tradition, such as Hristo Botev’s re-writing of Georgi S. Rakovski’s revolutionary poems in late nineteenth century Bulgaria, resulting in the creation of indisputable lyrical masterpieces that have completely obliterated their connection to their antecedents. A similar example of, most probably, conscious or semi-conscious borrowing – across national borders – is then adduced from the parallel between Reiner Maria Rilke’s “Der Panther” and Ted Hughes’s “The Jaguar”, the two poems appearing to be involved in a debate almost as companion pieces. Further, the survey returns to Botev’s poetry to detect in it motifs and images existing in Caucasian folklore and in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s elegy “Adonis”, both of which are highly unlikely to have been familiar to the Bulgarian poet. What comes next is a set of intricate analogies between Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear and Elin Pelin’s novel The Geraks (Гераците) on the levels of ideas, plot, characters and atmosphere, suggesting direct indebteness, which has however never been acknowledged by the Bulgarian author and is generally difficult to maintain. Another, even more complex and puzzling web of resemblances is found between Dimcho Debelyanov’s poem “Homecoming” („Да се завърнеш в бащината къща“), Sergey Esenin’s lyrical piece “Pismo materi”, and John Updike’s novel Of the Farm. Then we turn to the vexed question of the Bulgarian origins of Shakespeare’s late dramatic romance, The Tempest, in order to examine the evidence of medieval Balkan chronicles and their traces in Italian and Spanish Renaissance publications which might have come to the notice of the English playwright – a possibility that remains elusive yet irrefutable. Finally, the avatars of a poetic image of symbolic potential, that of children playing on the seashore, is traced through Rabindranath Tagore’s poem № 60 in his Nobel prize winning collection Gitandjali, William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”, and Blaga Dimitrova’s “Child and Sea” („Дете и море“). The conclusion that can be drawn from this alarmingly varied picture of intertextuality is a reminder that the individual literary works are not watertight entities and that they participate in an endless worldwide exchange of ideas and motifs, which is not necessarily conscious but can ultimately be explained by reference to the oneness of all literature.


Сергей Аверинцев, Към тълкуването на символиката на мита за Едип
Sergey Averintsev, Towards Interpreting the Symbolism of the Myth about Oedipus

Summary

Averintsev’s article Towards Interpreting the Symbolism of the Myth about Oedipus analyzes not what Sophocles has done with the mythological plot, but rather what he has found in this plot as already existing. The author’s task is to make clear the meaningful relations which were the tragedy’s semantic canvas and which Sophocles had to operate with. Therefore, the article does not discuss problems concerning the tragedy’s artistic aspects. Moreover, Averintsev consciously investigates the mythological symbolism only inside the Greco-Roman world and quotes parallels within the Antiquity – from Homer to Proclus. According to him, the main task of the history of culture is to scrutinize the new interpretations of meanings but yet it is necessary to know what actually has been interpreted. Subsequently, he does not focus on the connotations of the tragedy itself but of the myth about Oedipus.