Issue 2, 2016

Гражина Шват-Гълъбова (Варшава) За някои геокултурни метафори
Grażyna Szwat-Gyłybowa (Warsaw) On selected geocultural metaphors

  • Summary

    This article is an expanded version of a lecture delivered in the autumn of 2016 upon receiving an honorary degree from the University of Sofia.

    The author focuses on the geo-cultural metaphor of the South in Polish and Bulgarian cultures. The starting point is the so-called keystone or dominant tradition, shaped in each case by the respective country’s monoculture of the “communist" era, which continues to exert considerable cultural influence in both countries. In her discussion of the metaphor of the South as an axiologically and emotively functionalized element of the two national imageries, the researcher tackles the way in which Romanitas or “Roman-ness” continues to be applied in modern contexts. In Poland, conservative circles tend to regard Roman-ness as something that’s been fully absorbed and incorporated into the philosophical fabric of “national” republicanism, whereas Bulgarian conservatives treat it as a component of the land’s material heritage, complemented in spiritual terms by the Thracian tradition of classical antiquity. Based on Rémi Brague's cultural typology, the author breaks new discursive ground by opening up for inquiry the cultural consequences of a nation’s various forms of interaction with its cultural roots and sources.

    Keywords: geo-cultural metaphor, tradition, Roman-ness

Рая Кунчева Изкушенията на националните идентификации и литературознание на аргумента
Raya Kuncheva The temptations of national identities and literary studies of the argument

  • Summary

    Memory, heritage and identity are concepts that enjoy overuse and popularity very few other concepts do recently. At world, European and national level, they determine the framework of cultural policies and research projects.

    The name Cultural and Historical Heritage and National Identity was given to the field the institutes of the humanities work in during the reform of the Bulgarian Academy of Science in 2011. Thus, the Bulgarian Academy of Science is in unison with the contemporary situation, which many historians define as the age of heritage. How does science respond to the worldwide advance of cultural heritage? The concept “memory of places”, introduced by Pierre Nora, as well as the problems connected with the collective memory, have given an impetus to a series of concrete studies. Memory is selective, it mutates, it feeds myths and consolidates identities, and it builds differences. It is the historisation of memory that gives us the chance to show ideologically charged historical knowledge as deliberate construction of memory. Historians, sociologists and philosophers such as Pierre Nora, Anthony Smith, Benedict Anderson, Dominique Schnapper and Jürgen Habermas base this article on conceptions of the nation. The second part of the article studies the methodological contribution of Grażyna Szwat-Gyłybow to Bulgarian humanities with her view of Bogomilism as a place of memory. The definition of the West as the “significant other” in forming the national cultural consciousness of the Bulgarians is a serious refutation of the stereotypes in the way Bulgarian identity is thought of. Grażyna Szwat’s study shows that Bogomilism, the spirit of denunciation, the eternal heretic who never tolerates the power of institutions, is not an inherent Bulgarian trait, but a construct, which receives different meaning depending on what ideological suggestions are sought.

    Keywords: Lieux de mémoire, cultural heritage, Bogomilism

Раймонд Детрез (Гент, Льовен) Партений Павлович revisited
Raymond Detrez (Gent, Leuven) Partenij Pavlovič revisited

  • Summary

    The 18th century in the Balkans is generally considered as a transitional stage from the late Middle Ages to the Enlightenment or the National Revival period. Research apparently focuses mainly on the “progressive” features of historical personalities – those features that announce the future. This appears to be the case also with Partenij Pavlovič, a cleric of Bulgarian origin in the service of the Serbian churches of Peć and Karlovci: many scholars characterize him as an early exponent of Enlightenment and National Revival in the Balkans.

    However, a close and critical reading of his autobiography and the autobiographical marginalia he used to add to some medieval manuscripts reveal that he was, in fact, a rather bigoted advocate of a conservative brand of Orthodox Christianity. His worldview was far remote from rationalism, secularism and religious tolerance typical of Enlightenment thinking. Partenij repeatedly triggered quarrels with representatives of the Catholic church about the notorious question of the filioque, which according to him is to blame entirely on the Rome. He thinks – as did, by the way, also the Patriarchate of Constantinople – that Ottoman rule is imposed by God to punish the Orthodox Christians for their sins, most likely for their preparedness to accept a reconciliation between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople and their reunification under the authority of the Pope. He strongly believes in the miraculous healing forces of icons and relics. He also seems to be convinced that earthquakes and other natural calamities are deliberately caused by God to punish Catholics who want to turn Orthodox churches into Catholic ones. Partenij looks forward to Peter the Great liberating the Balkan Orthodox Christians from Muslim dominance, but there is no trace of any Bulgarian or Slavic ethnic, let alone national awareness. Cyrillus and Methodius are venerated by him as Christian proselytizers and wonder-workers; there is hardly any attention for their role as the creators of the first Slavic alphabet and the Slavic literary language. Bulgarian and Serbian kings and tsars are referred to solely as protectors of Orthodox Christianity. There is no interest whatsoever in Peter as a reformer; he is perceived exclusively as a tool in the hands of God in order to fight Swedish and Turkish heretics.

    This might be disillusioning to those who prefer (as I do) Enlightenment to medieval religious obscurantism, but one has to accept the prevalence of the latter in the 18th-century Balkans if he or she wants to grasp how Partenij – and evidently most of his contemporaries – perceived the world around them and responded to it.

    Keywords: Partenij Pavlovič, Balkans, Orthodox Christianity, Enlightenment, National Revival

Кристин Димитрова Евгения е от Марс, Вазов е от Венера
Kristin Dimitrova Evgenia is from Mars, Vazov is from Venus

  • Summary

    This article attempts to shed some new light on Bulgarian female writer Evgenia Mars (1877-1945) and on the specific case of her national literary reception. Beginning her writing career in the early 20th c. she rose to prominence not without the help of several factors parallel to her literary production, namely, her popular salon, her active social participation and, last but not least, her friendship with the renowned Bulgarian poet Ivan Vazov. During socialism (1944-1989), she was, for all good purposes, erased from Bulgarian literary historiography. In the late 90s her name began to reemerge in essays, memoirs and monographs, most of them trying to bridge the time gap of her absence and to reconstruct her status figure. However, in their willingness to compensate for the unjust silence about Evgenia Mars, many researchers overestimate her real achievements, thus tipping the literary - milieu balance once again, this time in her favor, and depriving her contemporaries of their deserved credit.

    Keywords: Evgenia Mars, Ivan Vazov, literary salon, Anna Karima

Надежда П. Александрова Български истории за еничарите през Възраждането
Nadezhda P. Alexandrova Bulgarian histories about the janissaries during the Revival period

  • Summary

    The article encompasses a number of historical narratives that are written in Bulgarian between the 1760s and 1870s, and which deal with the notion of the janissaries. The study is based on sources of different kinds - Bulgarian history manuscripts, textbooks in Bulgarian history, textbooks in Ottoman history, articles and academic studies on the subject, and a number of introductions and endnotes to fictional texts, which also contain a claim of being veritable historiographical sources.

    The analysis displays two main versions of the stories about the janissaries. The first follows „the paradigm purity-decline“ (Kafadar 1991). The second projects synonymy over the notions of the janissaries, kircali, dağali and other criminals who formed gangs and attacked the population. Thus, the period between the 18th and the beginning of the 19th c. was given the name „the time of turmoil“ (Rakovski 1860). The two versions of the histories of the janissaries are an outcome of the synergic effect of three factors that interplay on the scene of the Bulgarian historiography in the above-mentioned period. These are: the European historiographical sources, regarded as very prestigious; the official Ottoman policy of reforms, built on the idea of the change from an old retrograde order to a new progressive one; and last but not least, the process of formation national consciousness of the Bulgarians who undertook this image of ‘the evil janissaries’ in their own efforts to build a sense of a common historical past.

    Keywords: Bulgarian history, Ottoman empire, purity-decline paradigm, janissaries

Дияна Николова Транспозиции на пасторалното в Бел епок
Diyana Nikolova Transpositions of the Pastoral in Belle Époque

  • Summary

    The text offers a reading of sociocultural and literary phenomena, unfolding in the French Belle Époque, based on the uses of the bucolic code and the transcriptions of the pastoral. I analyze the production of new bucolic loci, as well as the multiplicity of their meanings / significations that shape through their deployment in the registers of high and popular culture alike and in the phenomena generated by the interaction between them.

    Keywords: Belle Époque, pastoral, A. Gide, Mallarmé, moulin, folies, Montmartre


Николай Аретов Преплетените истории на Балканите
Nikolay Aretov Entangled Histories of the Balkans

  • Summary

    This paper presents the collective volume “Entangled Histories of the Balkans” edited by Roumen Daskalov and Tchavdar Marinov and published first in English by Koninklijke Brill (Leiden) and then by New Bulgarian University (Sofia). Modern Balkan history has traditionally been studied by national historians in terms of separate national histories taking place within bounded state territories. The authors in this volume take a different approach. They all seek to treat the modern history of the region from a transnational and relational perspective in terms of shared and connected, as well as entangled, histories, transfers and crossings. This goes along with an interest in the way ideas, institutions, and techniques were selected, transferred and adapted to Balkan conditions and how they interacted with those conditions. The volume also invites reflection on the interacting entities in the very process of their creation and consecutive transformations rather than taking them as givens.

    Keywords: Balkans, Entangled Histories, nationalism, languages, Ottomanism