Ivan Hristov – The Concept of Time and Identity in the Bulgarian Literary Modernism of the 1920s

This paper examines how the concept of time and identity in Bulgarian literary modernism changed during the period between 1920 and 1930. The conditions for, as well as the results of this change are also analyzed. In 1920, the concept of time in Bulgarian literary modernism was still cyclical. In his article, “Native Art,” the Bulgarian expressionist Geo Milev proclaimed the postulates of the new art. According to Milev, this art would have to retrace its steps back to mythological man, towards “the primitive man of proto-being – to Adam.” Milev called for a representation of a mythical time and mythical space in art, favoring the past. According to Eleazar Meletinsky, “the urge to go beyond the limits of social-historical and temporal-spatial frameworks in order to manifest a pan-human content was one of the signs of the transition from the realism of the 19th c. to modernism, and mythology, by virtue of its iconic symbolicness, turned out to be a comfortable language to describe the eternal models of personal and public behavior, of the essential laws in the social and natural cosmos.” The paper will pay particular attention to the influence of Oswald Spengler’s book The Decline of the West (1923) upon the formation of Bulgarian modernists’ concepts of time and identity. According to Spengler, western culture would be replaced by an ascendant Slavic culture. Modernists from the Sagittarius Circle sought a place for Bulgarian culture within that new upsurge. They gave preference to the 19th century, the time of the Bulgarian Revival, exchanging cyclical time for historical time. They chose the past as their starting point, yet were oriented towards the future. They demanded that Bulgarian reality be expressed in art. During 1925-27 Bulgarian modernism transformed from contra-modern into a modern project. Concepts about time and space are examined in detail, while the concepts of continuity and tradition, as well as cyclicity and historicity are analyzed within the context of Bulgarian modernists’ writings.

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юни 25, 2015 · 8:21 am

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