About Bulgaria - ICN

The Bulgarian literature is the oldest Slavonic literature. Its foundations were laid in the 9th C., after the brothers Constantin-Cyril the Philosopher and Methodius created the Slavonic alphabet (Glagolitsa) and made the first translations of religious texts. Their work was taken up by their students who were bid a reverent welcome by Knyaz Boris in Bulgaria.
In the 9th-10th centuries the Old-Bulgarian literature acquired international significance and marked high artistic achievements through the life-work of Kliment Ohridski, Konstantin Preslavski, Yoan Ekzarh, Chernorizets Hrabur and the activities of the literary School of Ohrid and Preslav.
The 13th-14th centuries saw a new even greater efflorescence of the Old-Bulgarian literature. The oldest preserved Old-Bulgarian monuments date from that time: Boril Synodic, Sofia Psalter, Manasses Chronicle, the Gospel of Ivan-Aleksandur, Tomich Psalter.
The wide linguistic, literary and translation activity of the so-called literary schools at monasteries (Turnovo, Kilifarevo, etc.) led to dissemination of Bulgarian manuscripts and books in other countries: Russia, Serbia, Walachia, Moldova.
During the long years of Ottoman rule (1396-1878) the Bulgarian literary activity was concentrated in monasteries. The beginning of modern Bulgarian literature was set with the completion in 1762 of Slav-Bulgarian History by the monk Paisiy Hilendarski.
Sofroniy Vrachanski is the author of the first printed modern Bulgarian book: "Kiriakodromion..." (1806) and of an original autobiography.
The literature of the second half of the 18th C. and the beginning of the 19th C. is mainly educational - see the works of Petur Beron, Neofit Rilski. The struggle for national and church independence during the second half of the 19th C. and for the recognition of Bulgarian literary language define the literary works from that period - the poetry of G.S. Rakovski and P.R. Slaveikov, the prose of L. Karavelov, the dramatic works of V. Droumev.
The highest literary achievement of the Bulgarian National Revival is represented by the poetry of Hristo Botev who fell in battle against the Ottomans in 1876, leading an insurrectionary detachment.
An undisputed classic of modern Bulgarian literature is Ivan Vazov (1850-1921), author of novels (Under the Yoke), poems (the collection Epopee of Those Forgotten), short stories, dramatic works.
At the end of the 19th centuries and the beginning of the 20th centuries a modern upheaval is observed under the influence of European literature. Pencho Slaveikov, son of P.R. Slaveikov, became a central figure in the Bulgarian literature and culture. For his poem The Song of Blood he was proposed for a Nobel Prize in 1912, but he died in the same year.
Aleko Konstantinov (Bai Ganyo) and Stoyan Mihailovski are famous for their satirical works.
One of the major masters of Bulgarian verse is Peyo Yavorov. The Bulgarian symbolism is incarnated in the poetic works of Nikolai Liliev, Kiril Hristov, Dimcho Debelyanov.
Classic authors of short stories, insightful cognizers of Bulgarian village-life are Elin Pelin and Yordan Yovkov. The social issues dominate in the first works of Geo Milev, Nikola Fournadzhiev, Asen Raztsvetnikov, who later focus their attention upon expressionism and modernism, philosophical assessment of everyday life or object poetry. The social revolutionary poetry reaches a height in the poetic works of Hristo Smirnenski and Nikola Vaptsarov. After 1944 the social realism dominates in the Bulgarian literature. Apart from the numerous dogmatic and schematic works one can point out the brilliant prose of Dimitur Talev, Dimitur Dimov, Emiliyan Stanev, the poetry of Elisaveta Bagryana and Dora Gabe.