"Bulgarian" Books: The Contrary Cases of Stanislavov, Zheferovic and Paisy Hilendarski

Dr. Matthew Gibson Gibson
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The so-called Bulgarian revival took place from the writing and distribution of Paisy of Hilendar's Slavo-Bulgarian History (1762), a book which attempted to resuscitate a concept of Bulgarian nationhood and the fortunes of a suppressed national church. However, Bulgarian book historians like Kutinchev and Petar Atanassov also claim the works Abagar by Philip Stanislavov’s (1651) and Zheferovic’s ’s Stematografia (1741) as being a reexpression of a Bulgarian identity, despite the fact that Stanislavov was a Catholic not an orthodox bishop, publishing a religious work in a Bulgarian variant of Slavonic, while Zheferovic - who actually identifies himself as Bulgarian - was printing a work containing the saints and heralds of all 'Illyrian' nations, and was funded by Viennese Serbs. Nevertheless, the paper will show that scepticism about nationalist interpretations of these books, along the lines set out in Benedict Anderson's 'Imagined Communities', must be tempered by the fact that Paisy's own work presents a very strong sense of Bulgarian national identity at a time when there was no recognised Bulgarian nation, nor even local cyrillic printing and schoolbooks. The paper will also seek to demonstrate that although the two earlier works are not part of a conscious 'Bulgarian revival', they nevertheless demonstrate a conscious Bulgarian identity under conditions which Anderson presumed not to encourage such feelings.

Keywords: Bulgaria, Ottoman, Orthodox, Catholic, nationalism, Serbia, Macedonia
Stream: Books, Writing and Reading
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Matthew Gibson Gibson

Lecturer, Culture, Media and Communication, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey, UK

Matthew Gibson's research interests include Yeats, European Gothic, Deconstruction and Slavonic Book History. He is the author of Yeats Coleridge and the Romantic Sage (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000) and Dracula and the Eastern Question: British and French Vampire Narratives of the Nineteenth Century Near East (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Having spent many years in Eastern Europe he is now writing an English language history of the Orthodox Slavonic Book with a colleague, Dr Noel Brackney. His chapter 'Publishing under the Yoke: a Short History of the Bulgarian book from Paisy of Hilendar to Peyo Yavorov' will be appearing in Books without Borders: the International Dimension in Book History, ed Robert Fraser and Mary Hammond (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Ref: B07P0075