- Bulgarian literature
Bulgarian literature is literature written by Bulgarians or residents of
Bulgaria, or written in the Bulgarian language; usually the latter is the defining feature. Bulgarian literature can be said to be one of the oldest among the Slavic peoples, having its roots during the late 9th century and the times of Simeon I of the First Bulgarian Empire.
With the Bulgarian Empire welcoming the disciples of
Cyril and Methodiusafter they were expelled from Great Moravia, the country became a centre of rich literary activity during what is known as the Golden Ageof medieval Bulgarian culture. In the late 9th, the 10th and early 11th century literature in Bulgaria prospered, with many books being translated from Byzantine Greek, but also new works being created. Many scholars worked in the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools, creating the Cyrillic alphabetfor their needs. Chernorizets Hrabarwrote his popular work "An Account of Letters", Clement of Ohridworked on translations from Greek and is credited with several important religious books, John Exarchwrote his "Shestodnev" and translated "On Orthodox Christianity" by John of Damascus, Naum of Preslavalso had a significant contribution. Bulgarian scholars and works influenced most of the Slavic world, spreading Old Church Slavonic, the Cyrillic and the Glagolithicalphabet to Kievan Rus', medieval Serbiaand medieval Croatia.
As the Bulgarian Empire was subjugated by the Byzantines in 1018, Bulgarian literary activity declined. However, after the establishment of the
Second Bulgarian Empirefollowed another period of upsurge during the time of Patriarch Evtimiyin the 14th century. Evtimiy founded the Tarnovo Literary Schoolthat had a significant impact on the literature of Serbia and Muscovite Russia, as many writers fled abroad after the Ottoman conquest. Apart from Evtimiy, other established writers from the period were Constantine of Kostenets(1380-first half of the 15th century) and Gregory Tsamblak(1365-1420).
Medieval Bulgarian literature was dominated by religious themes, most works being
hymns, treatises, religious miscellanies, apocryphaand hagiographies, most often heroic and instructive.
Early Ottoman rule
The fall of the Second Bulgarian Empire to the Ottomans in 1396 was a serious blow for Bulgarian literature and culture in general. Literary activity largely ceased, being concentrated in the monasteries that established themselves as centres of Bulgarian culture in the foreign empire. The religious theme continued to be dominant in the few works that were produced.
The main literary form of the 17th and 18th century were instructive sermons, at first translated from Greek and then compiled by Bulgarians.
Abagar", the first printed book in modern Bulgarian (1651)] A literary tradition continued to exist relatively uninterrupted during the early Ottoman rule in northwestern Bulgaria up until the Chiprovtsi Uprisingin end of the 17th century among the Bulgarian Catholics who were supported by the Catholic states of Central Europe. Many of these works were written in a mixture of vernacular Bulgarian, Church Slavonic and Serbo-Croatianand was called "Illyric". Among these was the first book printed in modern Bulgarian, the breviary " Abagar" published in Romein 1651 by Filip Stanislavov, bishop of Nikopol.
Illyrian movementfor South Slavicunity had an impact on the Bulgarian literature of the 18th and 19th century. Hristofor Zhefarovich's "Stemmatographia" of 1741 is thought of us the earliest example of modern Bulgarian secular poetry for its quatrains, although it was essentially a collection of engravings.
Bulgarian National Revival
A new revival of Bulgarian literature began in the 18th century with the historiographical writings of
Paisius of Hilendar, " Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya". In the period 1840-1875 the literature came alive with writings on mainly revolutionary, anti-Turkish themes. The noted poet and revolutionary Hristo Botevworked in the late 19th century and is nowadays regarded as arguably the foremost Bulgarian poet of the period. Among the writers who engaged in revolutionary activity was also Lyuben Karavelov.
A typical feature of the period was the formation of an interest in Bulgarian folklore, as figures like the
Miladinov Brothersand Kuzman Shapkarevmade collections of folk songs and made ethnographic studies.
After Bulgaria achieved independence (1878) the national literature lost much of its revolutionary spirit, and writings of a pastoral and regional type became more common.
Ivan Vazovwas the first professional Bulgarian man of letters. The poet Pencho Slaveykovbrought other European literatures to the notice of Bulgarian readers. His epic "Song of Blood" (1911-13) dealt with the struggle against the Turks.
After the second World War Bulgarian literature fell under the control of the Communist Party and, particularly in the early years, was required to conform to the Stalinist style called "
* [http://www.slovo.bg/f/en/ Virtual Library of Bulgarian Literature Slovoto]
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