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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 14 | volume III | April-May, 2000



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 14April-May, 2000

Landscapes and Still Life

The Figures of the Love Discourse in Bulgarian Literature from the 1950ies to the 1990ies

p. 1
Jordan Eftimov

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By seagirls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
    (T. S. Eliot, The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock)

    The manner in which the topic of love is applied in the Bulgarian literature of the last few decades is what this text will be concerned with; by the manner of application dominating in the Bulgarian literature of this period love was made to be the most significant way of opposing the social pressure, love – which may be taken as a shield protecting us from social obligation, or else as a crack towards writing in contrast with or despite social obligation.

    In the beginning, we shall deal with the 1950ies which, after the establishment of the socialist canon and censure, brought the first literary scandal (though not in Bahtin’s sense of the word), related to the several cycles of intimate poetry by Ivan Radoev, published in the official (at the time) magazine of the Bulgarian Writers Union, known under the ‘peaceful’ name of Literary Front. There is no philosophy in them, no concealed allegories, no profound allusions or use of satiric language. Then why was it that they provoked a scandal?
    The scandal was provoked for a very simple reason – the appearance of a poet (the author’s voice in the poem) who is in love. The author is not in love with the social utopia, but, simply, with a person from the opposite sex. Today this fact may sound incredible, but in the countries of the former Eastern block the literary history inevitably includes this episode: it seems as if lyricism is being born all over again, as if with the help of the avangard literature from between the two World Wars it reaches its peak, and now that they have reached theirs, it seizes them, starting from the very beginning.
    The intimate lyrical poetry from the 1950ies, that so irritated the authorities of that time, is incredibly simple, both in its expression and its purpose. As a matter of fact, it deals with a time contemporary to the author, filled with emotions and deprived of history. It is important that the intimate lyrical poetry transfers from a utopia to the concrete life of the poet encountering the problems of “all people”. So, lyrical poetry should sound lyrical rather than epical, more like an elegy than like an ode –

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