Issue 1, 2000

Литературна мисъл, 1, 2000
Габриеле Шваб
Институт за литература
Фернандо Кабо Асегинолаза
Институт за литература
Олга Тодорова
Институт за литература
Рая Заимова
Институт за балканистика с център по тракология - БАН
Иван Павлов
Институт за литература
Димитри Роболи
Институт за литература
Жюли Бош
Институт за литература
Катерина Крушева
Институт за литература
Филипина Филипова
Институт за литература


Огнян Ковачев, Четенето в епохата на медии, компютри и Интернет
Ognyan Kovachev, Reading in the Age of Media, Computers and Internet


Virtual Communities vs. Imaginary Communities. Festivities. Reading. Chatting This text is an introduction to the next two articles ("Virtual Communities vs. Imaginary Communities. Festivities. Reading. Chatting" and "Gothicizing the Electronic Web") and offers their basis and their context

Александър Кьосев, Виртуални общности срещу въображаеми общности. Празници. Четене. Бъбрене
Aleksander Kiossev, An “Imagined” Account of Bulgaria’s History


The traditional phenomenology of reading presupposes a certain forms of the so called "implicit reader". From its methodological perspective this figure is seen as separate singularity of perception, as "lonely point of view" wandering through the text (so the early books of Wolfgang Iser). This study considers the "implicit reader" as partaking in a community - in a plural audience, which is implicit to the text, too. This rise the question about the nature, structure and function of this "fictional community" as well as about its relation to others communities - real or imagined.

As a kind of short "historical" detour the second part presents a Bulgarian debate which in the middle of the 80-ies followed some ideas of W. Iser There were two confronting positions about the nature of this "implicit audience" in the works of B. Bogdanov and Al. Kiossev. The first one considers the reading act as symbolic operation restoring the unity and universality of the world, similar to the mythological and religious festivities. This operation, so Bogdanov, poses the reading individium in a community consisting from equal and universal individuals - in an imagined communities. The second position considers the reading act as a field of competing strategies and thus it see the implicit audience not so monolithic. It posed it in the tension between two limits - the universal communitas and the anonimous conventionality/ plurality of the typical reader's role.

In the next part the analysis goes further, re-considering and revising all three positions mentioned. The methodological tool for this revision is the insight of Benedict Anderson's book The Imagined Communites. Anderson investigates the role and structure of the fictional reader's community, created in the great national novels during the late XVIII and XIX century. He demonstrates that these forms of fictional literary communication are necessary categories of the modern (national) solidarity and identification.

Огнян Ковачев, Готицизиране на електронната паяжина
Ognyan Kovachev, Gothicizing the Electronic Web


This paper observes the play of the Real and the Imaginary, actualized in a parallel dimension of cognitive and aesthetic ruptures. The ruptures are caused by two disparate phenomena: the Gothick Literary Revival (1764-1820) and the World Wide Web culture nowadays. Besides their external dissimilarities the two phenomena have important common places. Both the Gothick and the Web might be described as hosts of fictions haunting multidimensional architectural metaphors: the Gothick edifice and the Web site. My observations aim at naming and visualizing the modifications of such a powerful ghost-fiction as the Sublime. They are based on the back-and-forth oscillation between its (pre)romantic Burkean mode, the Kantian and the Romantic ones, and the (post)modern technological frames. The rise of the Gothick more than 200 years ago can be defined in terms of Wolfgang Iser's literary anthropology as a new kind of explanatory fiction, which grants primary importance to the instruments of fantasy and imagination. By means of them human beings stage out the strife between Nature and Culture crucial for the late 18th and the early 19th century. The Gothick fiction also acts as an anti-hierarchical and decentring agent disguised in the trappings of a faked or mock medievalism. As a result of the epistemological shift the inability of the Gothick writers/readers "to be present to themselves" is being transformed in a desire to produce uncanny fictions, in which the Imaginary considerably transgresses and even conquers the realms of the Real. This kind of fictionalizing of the unnameable in my essay is referred to as "Gothicizing". Its ultimate borderline is the Sublime. In the long run from the Gothick to the Web the Sublime has passed through various frames: The Burkean, the Gothick, the Kantian, the Romantic, the Lyotardian and the technological ones, to mention a few of them. Whether in the former more private and transcendental modes, or in the latter predominantly public.

Габриеле Шваб, „Само да не бях длъжен да правя изявление“: Естетика на отрицателността на Изер
Gabriele Shwab, "If Only I Were Not Obliged to Manifest": Iser's Aesthetics of Negativity


In relation to the empirical world, the imaginary as otherness is a sort of holy madness that does not turn away from the world but intervenes in it. Negativity provides the structure underlying the interaction between text and reader. Wolfgang Iser the two epigraphs chosen for this section contain in a nutshell the most pressing concerns in Iser's work. Literature as an instrument of “holy madness” figures as a kind of cultural broker whose main role consists in intervening in the empirical world. Defying ontology, fiction, Iser asserts, is most tangible in its impact on the reader: "The more fiction eludes an ontological definition, the more unmistakably it presents itself in terms of its use. If it is no longer confined to an explanatory function, its impact becomes its most prominent feature." Yet how are we to determine this impact? "It has always been assumed that fiction can produce realities," writes Iser almost laconically. Yet, in light of his claim that negativity structures the interaction between text and reader, his insistent question "Why do human beings need fictions?" leads to a quasi-paradoxical answer: fictions become our uncanny doubles, reflecting to us something we otherwise cannot perceive. This "holy madness," this haunting attraction to our self-produced doubles, eternally recreates our world, albeit to produce difference rather than similarity. Mirroring something in us we can never see or fully grasp, literature suspends us forever in a productive negativity, a "space between" the knowable and the unknown. This “space between” needs to remain free of empirical manifestations yet paradoxically manifests itself in our empirical world.

Фернандо Кабо Асегинолаза, Поезия и хипертекст: чувство за предел
Fernando Aseginolaza, Poetry and Hypertext: The Sense of a Limit


When we browse the different and multifarious sites that deal with literary contents in the Web, and specially when we read hypertextual theory, there seems to be an amazing disproportion between the attention paid to hyperfictions and to what we could call, in general terms, hyperpoetry. It looks as if the electronic textuality were a more suitable or appealing medium for narrative than for lyric texts. Of course there are plenty of poems posted on the Web, but just a small part of them are explicitly intended for the new medium so that they may profit from the fresh possibilities offered. Anyway we could also be suspicious about the relevance of this sort of contentions and wonder whether we are not simply importing into a new frame a conceptual template that is strange to it. So when a supposed disparity in respect to the presence of these genres (literary genres, after all) is alleged, perhaps we are just in front of the misconception of the categories due to the new electronic environment. And certainly the prefix hyper- is not necessarily a warrant of proper theorizing.

Николай Аретов, Идентичност и другост. Да мислим Другото
Nikolay Aretov, Identity and Otherness. To Think the Other


This text is an introduction to the next articles and offers their basis and their context. The author tries to define the key notions Identity, Other, and their variations. He also puts them in their Bulgarian context and presents two projects that stay behind them.

Олга Тодорова, Между стереотипа и действителността: Евреите в българската словесност от началото на ХIХ век до Одвобождението
Olga Todorova, Among the Stereotype and Reality: The Image of the Jews in the Bulgarian Literature from the Beginning of the 19th Century till the Liberation


The first part of the article is a short summary of the factors that formed attitude of Bulgarian national revival people towards the Jewry. During the Revival as it was during the whole Ottoman period the negativism towards them prevailed. Thou it had its deep ground in the very Christian religion tradition, that negativism was featured by real social-economic and political motivation also - the Bulgarians were antagonized from the more privileged statute the Jewry enjoyed in the Ottoman state, from the non-agrarian “parasitic” occupation of the Jewish population, from its underlined loyalty to the sultan’s power, etc. The negativism towards Jewry was also fed with the active “import” of anti-Semitism from neighbour Orthodox countries and Russia. And at the same time for Bulgarians the 19th century was an epoch of acquiring the contemporary bourgeois values and breaking the medieval religious attitudes. That process was stimulated by the reform acts during the Tanzima period, which founded certain favourable legislation and institutional atmosphere for gradual transition of Bulgarians and Jewry from the stage of “parallel co-existing” to that of adequate, unembarrassed from religious and ethnic prejudice communication. The second part of the article systematizes and analyzes the basic motives and plots concerning the Jewish item, and its performance on the pages of our pre-Liberation literature (press, fiction, religious literature, private letters, etc.) A clear tendency of gradual overcoming of the inherited from the past anti-Jewish stereotypes can be stated. But even having in mind that during the Revival epoch the negative approaches towards the Jewry more and more function like prints, the author nevertheless concludes that taken as a whole the Jewry image in the Bulgarian Revival literature is too close to that of the evangelic archetype for the “wicked Jew”.

Рая Заимова - Образът на „турчина“ – между Ренесанса и Просвещението
Raia Zaimova, The Image of “the Turk” - Between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment


The author adduces examples from French travelogue books, as well as from novels and poetry, which reflect different contacts between Christians and Muslims in the Balkans. The presentation of the evil “Turk” is deduced against the background of the Christian virtues (16th-17th century) and the Western (Catholic in particular) interpretation of specific images. The evolution of France’s conceptions is followed about the Ottoman Empire and the image of “the Turk” related to it, which had acquired an enlightening colouring.

Иван Павлов, Хранителната норма през Възраждането
Ivan Pavlov, The Food Norm during the Bulgarian Renaissance


Establishing the food norm is perhaps the most important study in the Renaissance world. Its fluctuations are connected with the most significant change in regulations reaching the highest possible social context. The base change in the manner of feeding was connected with the fasting periods after the Bulgarians were converted into Christianity when the transition from one culture to another was realised. As a specific model of fasting in the Christian Orthodox community the behaviour of the Greeks whose Patriarchy was also the leading one for the Bulgarian Christians during the Renaissance. The fasting norm was observed and recovered by foreign travellers across the Bulgarian lands during this period. Fasting periods are the most stable religious ritual, which has remained essential in the Bulgarian mentality. During the period of the Turkish dependence the external signs of the Christian Orthodox church were strongly decreased. Some protection measures for preserving the fast were taken. A religious discourse was formed, nevertheless and it included some influences of ancient studies of Esculapus and Galaenus. By the respective food a given body status was achieved: prognosis and warnings to rule and regulate the body through following certain food and religious regime. This regime was based on a wide scope of hygiene, prophylaxis, feeding and labour habits. The food control grew into everyday control. Thus gradually a church and monastery discourse was formed based on the requirements of the Christian Orthodox church in order to keep the fast in the first place. The fast dogmas were gradually slackened in the 10th century due to the penetration of the ideas of the European Enlightenment from Serbia, Greece, etc. It is worth noting the food norms of the Bulgarian craftsmen's guilds as well as the introduction of Turkish administrative food portions and forms of Islamic charity, connected with the feeding of the population irrespective of their faith.

Юлия Йорданова, Rhapsody in Blue: Българският литературен проект на Америка
Yulia Yordanova, Rhapsody in Blue: The Bulgarian Literary Projection of America


This paper presents the subject of the image of America in Bulgarian works of literature: from the traditional folklore on the subject of emigration, through the Bulgarian travelogue prose and poetry up to the present-day pop song. This broad framework, in terms of genres and time period, is offset by the emphasis laid on the period around the 1930s, when the most sweeping emigration wave began from Bulgaria to America, and when a number of works of art were produced in this connection. A sui generis centre of the comparative textological analysis is Atanas Dalchev’s poem “Novelette”, dated 1925. It builds the image of America as the radical Strangeness with respect to the modern Bulgarian of the post-Liberation period, who was becoming already europeanised. Gravitating around this were all the other pieces of writing on the subject of that time: the labour songs of the Banat Bulgarians of the 1930s, the travelogues by Boris Shivachev and Svetoslav Minkov, and the short stories by Matvei Vulev dated to that period. In a broader perspective, works preceding and appearing in the wake of Dalchev’s poem have been considered like Aleko Konstantinov’s travelogue “To Chicago and Back” of the 1890s, and pieces of contemporary Bulgarian poetry, mostly of the 1990s, including also a popular song of Todor Kolev from the last decade of the 20th century. The phrase “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring in the title of this paper points to the extraliterary criticism of the study which, alongside the Bulgarian literature in prose and in verse covers the songs from traditional folklore, to present-day pop music. It also presents the general idea of America persisting in Bulgarian arts and culture and converging around the semantics of the English word “blue”. The paper takes advantage of the homonymy of this word in the title of Gershwin’s Rhapsody, in order to consider the ambivalent image of America: as an image “in blue colour”, symbolising freedom...

Димитри Роболи, Понятието за другостта в литературата на Романтизма от XIX век
Dimitri Roboli, The Concept of Otherness in the Literature of 19th Century Romanticism


La quête de l’autre est souvent associée, dans la littérature romantique, au mythe du barbare. L’homme du XIXe siècle est un passionné du voyage et, par conséquent, l’activité littéraire ne peut se concevoir que sous l’influence des pays que l’on visite. Las du monde dans lequel il vit, avide de sensations nouvelles et désireux d’entrer en contact avec les hommes d’ailleurs, l’écrivain romantique part à la découverte de l’Autre et le rencontre sur la terre de l’Orient. Etre naturel par excellence, débarrassé du social, vivant pleinement chaque instant de son existence, il constitue la figure essentielle de l’altérité et s’oppose à l’univers clos et prisonnier de ses règles que représente l’Occident. Le XIXe siècle permet, grâce au développement des échanges maritimes et à la modernisation des transports de côtoyer ces étrangers qui, jusque là ne nous étaient connus qu’au travers les livres. Ma conférence s’inscrit dans la perspective de ces nouvelles données et a pour ambition d’étudier la réaction des écrivains qui ne se contentent pas d’identifier l’Autre mais ambitionnent de le cerner et de le superposer à l’image de leurs semblables. Je propose donc de voir comment se forme, dans l’œuvre romantique, l’image de l’Autre, quels sont ses aspects fondamentaux, et d’appréhender l’approche que tentent les écrivains et qui les fait passer du stade de l’alter à celui de l’alter ego. Car la quête de l’autre n’est finalement qu’une autre façon de se découvrir.

Жюли Бош, От гърците до хуроните, или Западът в огледалото на примитивните племена: образи на езичеството в произведенията на Фонтенел, Лафито и Шарл де Брос
Jouli Bosh, From Greeks to Hurons or the West in the Mirror of Primitive Tribes: Images of Paganism in the Works of Fontenelle, Lafito and Charles de Bros


En 1724 paraissent deux ouvrages aux visées différentes mais à la méthode identique et foncièrement nouvelle : les Mœurs des sauvages américains, comparées aux mœurs des premiers temps, du père Joseph-François Lafitau, et le traité De l’origine des fables de Fontenelle. Le premier, jésuite qui avait longtemps séjourné dans le Nouveau monde, cherchait à prouver la rémanence universelle de la révélation faite par Dieu aux premiers hommes, déformée mais jamais perdue au fil des avatars des croyances humaines. Le second, rationaliste sceptique soucieux de remettre en cause les dogmes établis, cherchait au contraire à discréditer la croyance religieuse en montrant que son fondement est intrinsèquement lié à la fable. Malgré ces divergences de perspective, les deux auteurs eurent recours à la même stratégie : leur méditation sur le christianisme contemporain emprunta le détour d’une réflexion sur ce qui représentait l’altérité absolue au XVIIIe siècle, les sauvages d’Amérique du Nord, pour les comparer avec le peuple qui fondait la civilisation occidentale, les Grecs de l’Antiquité. Lafitau part du principe que les Iroquois et les Hurons, malgré l’étrangeté de leurs coutumes, longuement décrites et représentées dans son ouvrage, sont proches des nations anciennes qui ont vécu avant l’invention de l’écriture, et qu’ils offrent donc un vivant tableau de l’humanité originelle où l’on retrouve une étincelle, altérée mais toujours vivace, du monothéisme des premiers âges. Fontenelle, lui, met en parallèle les pratiques des sauvages contemporains et celles des anciens peuples pour éclairer la similitude des êtres humains à un certain degré de leur développement intellectuel. Il définit ainsi une mentalité primitive, indépendante du temps et du lieu, et met à nu la fonction fabulatrice inhérente à l’esprit humain.

Катерина Крушева, Европа и европейците в публицистиката и писмата на Гео Милев
Katerina Krusheva, Europe and Europeans in Geo Milev’s Letters and Journalism


A basic question for the text is the Geo Milev’s attitude to Europe and Europeans presented in his letters and articles published in Bulgarian newspapers and magazines. Analysis pays heed to several crucial concepts such as nationality, European identity and otherness (explicated in his articles) and Milev’s standpoint on them. According to his correspondence and works the examination differentiates two turning points in Bulgarian artist’s position: 1. From military nationalistic one to the cultural internationalism (in 1913), and 2. Transition to socially motivated internationalism (in 1923).

Никита Нанков - За квадратурата на кръга: мотивът „nevermore“ на По и българският литературен (не)модернизъм
Nikita Nankov, On the Quadrature of Circle: Poe’s ‘Nevermore’ Motif and the Bulgarian Literary (Non-)Modernism


An article is focused on the structuring ideological, aesthetic and poetical functions of the motif ‘Nevermore’ (presented in Poe’s poem The Raven) into Bulgarian literature. The first stage of examination deals with the adoption of the motif in Bulgarian symbolist poetry especially Debelyanov’s ‘Nevermore’ (1907, 1908, 1910), Yavorov’s ‘Shepot nasame’ and Trayanov’s ‘Tazhen privet’ (1909, 1912, 1928). Next stage of the analysis shows that the motif ‘Nevermore’ (in Elin Pelin work ‘Salza Mladenova’) can be used as a stepping-stone in the study of the parody dialog between Bulgarian modernist poetry and non-modernist literature. This way of thinking outlines two perspectives to analyze the motif: 1. Examination of relationship between The Raven and four famous Bulgarian literary works, on one hand, and, seeing the parody as a dialog, gives an opportunity to discuss much more complicated problems such as identity of Bulgarian literature and its European or/and Balkan belonging, on the other.

Филипина Филипова, Пародирайки стила: нехудожественият дискурс и „Пътешествията на Гъливър“
Filipina Filipova, Parodying Style: Non-Fiction Discourse and Gulliver’s Travels


The present text sets out to examine the transformation of the parody and satire in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Analysis is concerned on the problem of non-fictional discourse as an important issue of the parody, which is presented as a second plan of the text. Using the parody, as analysis shows, Gulliver’s Travels undermines the imperatively established manners of speaking typical of Augustan’s epoch in England. That is why non-fictional texts are very important in Swift’s work – not only functionally but as texts framing the epoch as well.