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ESSAYS ON THE BULGARIAN FOLKLORE

Author: Mihail Arnaudov

 

SUMMARY - The article discusses the evolution of “science” of the people - folklore, ethnography, ethnology - after the liberation of Bulgaria and the creation of a national state. It discusses the institutional aspects: museums, archives, academic institutions, and major figures: Arnaudov, Vakarelski, Dinekov; also, social and political implications, problems and contradictions, conceptual and methodological issues.

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Folklore, ethnography, ethnology

Nineteenth century is called “era of science of the people.” This knowledge covers indifferently on the language, songs and popular proverbs, customs, ancient manuscripts, etc., all confused in one idea and political science. After the liberation of 1878, the patriotic spirit continues to live in the “science of people” which gradually emancipate. This spirit has characterized the social sciences today, while undergoing regular metamorphoses. The state, which crowned the national movement and was created after the baffles and calculations that the major powers have advocated on part of the Ottoman Empire, must now consolidate the national identity. The construction of a new Bulgaria has made the price of renewed attention that has been paid to popular culture and in view of its “nationalization” to the needs of the nation-state.

Here are some dates of the official political history of Bulgaria in the 20th century. After the liberation of 1878 was created the principality of Bulgaria. However, many territories with Bulgarian population remained under the Turkish state: Rhodopes, Thrace, Macedonia, while the Eastern Roumelia remained relatively independent. In 1885 was made reunification of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Roumelia, followed by the Serbo-Bulgarian war. The independence of the Kingdom of Bulgaria was proclaimed in 1908. A series of catastrophic wars followed: Balkan (1912-1913), war between Allies or second Balkan War (1913), First World War (1914-1918), two Rebellions and two Coups d’etat, and Second World War (1939-1945). The year 1945 is the beginning of the world based on “popular democracies”, the influence of the Soviet Communist regime as single party authority. With the collapse of the USSR and the disintegration of the Socialist “camp” in 1989, the country is slowly and with difficulty advancing on the road to democracy in the West. During this hundred years of alternate forms of state government (monarchy, republic), the socio-political systems (democracy, dictatorship, totalitarian regime), ownership and economic organization (state-private ownership and later re-privatized), the capitalist relations become established via a “revolutionary” state socialism beginning to re-shape, and so on. It is a century of dynamics, dislocation and hardship suffered by the people and State. Thus the nation state is experiencing ideological transformations, but what about the people?

At least three facts should be emphasized. First, ethnic reconfigurations in which incessant flow of various peoples - Turks, Pomaks, to a lesser quantity of Greeks, Armenians, Jews and others - go to “their” nation states, old and new, while the Bulgarians in Thrace and Macedonia, Banat, North Dobrudzha and elsewhere are immigrants in Bulgaria. This process occurs on a massive scale, at different times, so uncontrolled during the war and, subsequently, with formal agreements for the exchange of populations. There is also one of the last adventures of the communist regime - the process of "rebirth of the eighties" - which, with the forced change of names, of repression and propaganda, was to erase the Bulgarian Turks from the ethnic map of the country. Second, the drama of the Bulgarian society lies in the utopias that were maintained: on the national ideal, on thereunification, on the construction of a whole nation  with a full extent territory, and so on. Those things persisted in the official propaganda, but also in the popular imagination. Third, it is once again the people who had to pay the price of the great socialist experiment: collectivization of agriculture, industrialization, society within closed borders.

What is the role of “science of people” in these processes, and how to serve its subjects? Of course, it has its own autonomous development - training and division of scientific disciplines, specialization, institutional stabilization, personalities, relationships with the world of scientific thought. It also has an important commitment and a strong social motivation, with its successes and its mistakes. It has never been isolated from society and has not lost its democratic quality. However, we will mention here some of its shortcomings - ideologization, conformism, lack of reflexivity; also, developing unreasonably a fragmentation from its major scientific institutions, personalities, ideas and scientific paradigms.

 

Institutions of folklore

Interest in the “popular” folklore and the typical “imagination” of the nation at the time of the Bulgarian Renaissance received institutional support and development by the nation-state. Institutions legitimize scientific knowledge, they try to make it known and nationally accepted. In addition, they organize cultural practice, extension of knowledge and highlight the symbols and values of cultural heritage.

The folklore collection is crowned by the museum. Here, the objects become exemplary. They have the advantage of being “real”, “authentic” and not “dead”, isolated from their contexts of use. Those are presented in new relationships and new compositions, in permanent and temporary exhibitions or treated in scientific analysis: tableware, jewelry, fabrics, clothes, tools and building, monuments to the past and the community identity. The creation of “popular” museums gives them national dimensions. Thus, the People’s Museum in Sofia was founded in 1892. Its ethnographic department was opened in 1906, as People’s Ethnographic Museum, on the initiative of Ivan Shishmanov, who was the Minister of Education. The museum itself was growing and especially after the First World War. Since 1921, its Izvestiya ( “News”) appeared regularly. Material culture and folk art were methodically and systematically studied. The opening of a department of music, initiated by Vasil Stoin, was an important moment in the history of its development. This department produced, in the 1920s and 1930s, systematic recordings of Bulgarian folk songs with melodies from various regions of the county. This collection was significant in terms of its coverage and its results. The work that was done to supplement the funds and scientific research and a series of exhibitions within the country and abroad (Paris 1900, Liege 1905, Geneva 1914, London 1922, etc.) The main objective was traditional village culture. The building and much of the museum were destroyed in the bombing of Sofia in 1944. After the war, the status of the Ethnographic Museum changed. Since 1949, it is merged with the Institute for Ethnography of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), founded in 1947. It is nowadays called "Ethnographic Institute with Museum" of the BAS.

Outside Sofia, ethnographic museums exist independently in Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Pazardzhik. Near Gabrovo, an ethnographic museum at live premises, Etar, has opened its doors. The historical museums of local and regional level, whose network grew and stabilized under the centralized socialist state (1944-1989), usually have departments and ethnographic exhibits. Employees are linked more or less on qualified basis. Several chitalishte, even villages, have ethnographic collections of amateurs. There are also specialized museums: the Fisheries (Tutrakan), the culture of roses and the production of rose oil (Kazanlak), etc.

The various collection campaigns in the field of folklore produced archives which are stored for popular songs (with texts and melodies rated), tales, legends, proverbs, riddles, descriptions of rituals and festivals, and others, as well as photos, drawings, films (cinema and video), sound recordings. Such records are close to the museum collection to the extent that they retain all “works”, i.e. occurrences with values in themselves, not just documents which illustrate a fact or an object that would be of value. The documentation center is the oldest Narodopisen Arhiv (Archive for Popular Writings) of the institute's Etnografski Muzei (Ethnographic Institute and Museum). Then the musical archives of the Institute for Science and Arts of the BAS. Within the Institute of Folklore was created Nacionalen Centar za Sabirane i Sahranenie na balgarskiya folklor (National Center for Collection and Preservation of Bulgarian folklore), which is being worked out on archive database of Balkan authentic folklore. Folk archives are also in local museums, universities, schools, chitalishte, and among individuals. The collection of professionals and amateurs are the source of many issues with traditional folk material in Bulgarian newspapers.

Among various issues the magazine itself was founded in 1889 by Ivan Shishmanov, Sbornik za narodni umotvoreniya, nauka i knizhnina (Collected works of popular science and letters). In 1913, it is published by the BAS under the title Sbornik za narodni umotuoreniga i narodopis (Collected works of popular literature and culture). To date sixty volumes were published, and this unique collection is in itself an institution. It is not only a place of publication, but a way of organizing the collection and research in folklore and ethnography. The initial project was broader, like most cultural enterprises of the state construction. Three parties - scientific, literary, and works of the popular spirit - together form the three pillars of the new national culture.

From number 27 in 1913, the Sbornik became foremost collection for folklore. It included records, descriptions, research on popular culture from various regions of Bulgaria (region of Elena, № 27; North Dobrudzha, № 35; Rhodopes, 39 and 54; Kyustendil region, 32, 42 and 45; Sofia region, № 43; Blagoevgrad region, № 58, etc.), localities (Koprivshtica City, № 46; Bansko City, № 48). It published writings as Narodna viara i religiozni obichai (Faith and popular religious folk customs) of Dimitar Marinov (№ 28), Narodna Astronomiya i Meteorologiya (Meteorology and astronomy popular) by Yordan Kovachev (№ 30), Balgarskoto obichayno sadebno pravo (Bulgarian customary legal right) (№ 33) and Balgarskoto obichayno nakazatelno pravo (Bulgarian criminal law) (№ 37) of S. Bobchev. Some volumes exposed parties representing the Bulgarian folklore - songs of epic Yunak (chansons de geste) (№ 53), walks (№ 60, Parts 1 and 2) - with new records, conclusions and a scientific apparatus. Suppliers of materials and authors are Sbornik's faculty, staff, priests, students, collectors who are enthusiasts, but also scientists folklorists and ethnographers of the University and the Academy.

Founded before the Liberation under the name Balgarsko knizhovno druzhestvo (Bulgarian Society of Letters) in 1869, Braila (Romania), and changed its name in 1911 to Balgarska Akademiya na Naukite (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), this institution provided until 1944 the three parts - historical and philological, physical and mathematical, and law - which discussed in scientific work and few standing committees of scientific work organization (lexicography, historiography, etc.) The state policy of reconstruction, which was on the Soviet model, transformed the BAS into an organization of dozens of institutes and research laboratories in various scientific fields. Established in 1947 as an Institute of Science of the People, and in 1949 as Institute of Ethnography with Museum, the folklore institution had sections of ethnogenesis and historical ethnography, material culture, public culture, spiritual and folk art, and popular architecture (dated from 1953). Currently the Institute of Ethnography with Museum includes the following sections and departments: material culture and traditional folk art appliqué, traditional spiritual culture and socio-normative ethnology, Ethnographic Museum, Archive of popular writings, etc. The Institute of Folklore includes sections of folklore, oral folklore, folklore music and dance, plastic folklore, as well as the archives mentioned above. In academic institutes of Musicology and Art, there were sections of Folklore music, Ethnomusicology, Art (popular) with applications.

Courses in folklore and ethnography are given in universities at Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Shumen, which were created during the seventies. Folk music is part of the Visshe muzikalno uchilishte (High School Musical), currently Darzhavna Muzikalna Akademiya (State Academy of Music) since the thirties. During the mid-nineties, with the assertion of university autonomy and the liberalization of curricula, new courses have emerged through the initiative of individual scientists and groups. Not until now there has been in Bulgaria provided various opportunities for training and qualification in the science of folklore, ethnography, ethnology, anthropology cultural and social, with all ramifications and variations of the science of peoples and humanities. Meanwhile, work of intensive research is done in seminars, courses, expeditions, and conferences.

 

Personalities in research and theory

Whether related or independent institutions, the major figures in science have given a strong impetus to this area of research as evidenced by the pioneering work of Ivan Shishmanov. Several celebrities have been working with him and after him, but it is impossible to list them here on their merits. Three of them, whose personal and professional life intersect and fulfill the past century, deserve a brief presentation. Those are Mihail Arnaudov, Hristo Vakarelski and Petar Dinekov.

Mihail Arnaudov (1878-1978) was born in Ruse. He graduated in Slavic Philology at Sofia and specialized in Leipzig, then in Paris, Berlin and London. He majored a doctorate in Prague on the Bulgarian folklore. Arnaudov has been teaching comparative literary history and principles of science at the University of Sofia during the thirties, where he taught also Bulgarian folklore and comparative popular culture. In 1934 appeared his Ocherki po balgarskiya folklor (Writings on the Bulgarian folklore), one of the reference books in this field. By “folklore” Arnaudov means popular spiritual culture, but also the science which studies in a narrower sense the science of folklore, which is a science more generally with “systematically developed principles”. He studied rituals, myths, legends, ballads, local traditions of singing; Studii varhu balgarskite obredi i legendi (Studies on the Bulgarian rites and legends, 1920, 1924); Folklor ot Elensko (Folklore from region Elena, 1913); Baladni motivi v narodnata poezia (Ground ballads in folk poetry, 1924). As Minister of Education from the last government before 9 September 1944, he was convicted in what is called the People’s Court. After his release from prison until the end of his life, Arnaudov writes, edits and re-publishes the works of literary history and folklore.

Hristo Vakarelski (1896-1979) was born in the village of Momina Klisura near Pazardzhik. After finishing his studies of Slavic Philology at the University of Sofia, Vakarelski started work as teacher. Later he specialized Slavic Ethnography in Poland (1926-1927), and on his return works in the Ethnographic Museum in Sofia as an assistant, headmaster, and then director. At the Institute of Ethnography with Museum, he directed the material culture section until 1962. He is one of the most productive Bulgarian ethnographers and author of Etnografia na Balgaria (Ethnography of Bulgaria, 1974), which was first published in Polish in 1965, and German in 1969, and about a thousand other short articles. Vakarelski shows an almost complete harmony that can exist between the institution and the personality of the ethnographer, collector, scientific and public personality.

Petar Dinekov (1910-1992) was born in the village of Smolsko near Pirdop. He studied Slavic Philology at Sofia University and specialized in Poland. From 1938 he was assistant, then lecturer and professor at the University of Sofia. He teaches literature and folklore of Bulgaria. Demonstrating scientific and literary interests at large range, Dinekov helped the organization and development of academic science, directed  a section from the Institut za Literatura (Institute of Literature) at the BAS. He was director of the Institute of Folklore since its founding in 1973 until 1982, and the Kirilo-Metodievski Nauchen Centar (Center for Scientific Research Cyril Methodius). He is the author of Balgarski Folklor (Bulgarian Folklore, 1959, 1975, 1980), and a large amount of research on the history of science and folklore with the links between folklore and literature.

 

Activities of folklore and ethnography

The science of the people and culture have always been popular in Bulgaria, and played assertive and major social role both because of objective historical circumstances and because of unavoidable national ideologization. Mihail Arnaudov explicitly says when he explains why the education and development of folklore is indispensable. Bulgaria was “so rich in folklore materials, as rarely other country in Europe has been and there was a great need to strengthen its national traditions”. This is not just a patriotic impulse. The Bulgarians, like most of the Balkan peoples have possessed, until recently, a popular culture rich and vibrant. This is one of the benefits of modernization of the late economic and public life. Decades after the first findings were made by Shishmanov, a decline of ancient culture occurred in the thirties and it became possible to store in some areas hundreds of songs with melodies and ancient texts, to reconstruct on the basis of stories and memories interesting ritual traditions. Destroyed as a way of life, the world of popular culture is alive in both memory and inheritance. For the national state, it is the possibility of “production” of qualitatively new symbols and an identities. It is a value added to support the interest in Bulgarian culture and more generally to Balkan cultures. These lands have been a “cradle” or “crossroads” - two metaphors which are widely used and adequate - to many rich cultural traditions and customs. In this situation, despite regular calls, especially during the last ten years, to move the interest focused on the past from contemporary times, all the activities will befall for a long time between a culture from original folk, inherited from the past and contemporary social life.

The Bulgarian folklore science has been focused on several trends, durable and strong. They are manifested in various ways in the evolution of visible science for Bulgarian people in the twentieth century.

National identity was already target of the efforts of the Bulgarian Renaissance. The character, morals, culture, values had to be established, accepted, known, studied, and integrating in the processes of identification. It all begins with the collection, recording, publication, dissemination of materials of folklore and everyday life, as valued traditions, heritage, knowledge, creation, poetry, art, etc.. The role of institutions that have recently been created is important - the Sbornik and the Museum. Scientific research was already in the hands of specialists who were trained at the University and working on the themes of origin, roots, mythology, the “typical”, the “specific”. More or less ideologized, institutionalized in the national state, this approach has pre-scientific and para-scientific events. M. Arnaudov suggested a “scientific nationalism” more singular when it characterizes the beginning of “academic period” as the “era of nationalism and deep private exaggerations, which wants to show the home domestic or borrowed, in the light of a theory of freedom with all practical considerations”. The facts should not be arranged in the service of a national delusion, ”but we must prove that we deserve our freedom to devote ourselves to the cultural work and earn the right to be recognized as a
people capable of the world of real scientists and thinkers”. Thus the national existence should justify a more definite objective.

Disasters and national disillusions of the two great wars, the impossible coincidence of ethnic and state borders, the problems of immigrants focused on the issue of ethnic or ethno-cultural unity, are all of further importance. In this context, attention to the Bulgarians in Macedonia is understandable (collections of Marko Cepenkov and Kusman Shapkarev occupy a significant place in the first volumes of the Sbornik), as is the important regional research developed in the Rhodopes at a time when most of this region is located outside the borders of Bulgaria until 1912. However, folklorists and ethnographers Bulgarians do not lend themselves to a superficial nationalism. For example, in comparative studies of Balkan issues, such as Martviyat brat (Dead brother) and Vgradena nevyasta (Immured bride), the genealogical assumptions are usually influenced by the nationality of the author - Romanians are for the Romanian, Greeks for the Greek, and so on. The Bulgarians are no exception.

During the second half of the century the proclamation of ethnogenesis became one of the major problems of Ethnography science in Bulgaria, conditions were created for revival of theories on Thrace, Protobulgarians, etc. And more generally, attempts were made to re-interpret this in mind with the material of the folk heritage. The national idea is the engine of rehabilitation for periodic mythological theories, where comebacks are made on assumptions such as that made by G. Rakovski or mystification “Veda Slovena” published by Stefan Verkovich. Major national celebrations, such as 1300 years of existence of the Bulgarian State in 1981, had created conditions for production of a speech with lasting solution to the science of people, who, on one hand solve specific scientific problems and, on the other, create logos and emblems for the community. As stated by P. Dinekov: “The interest in folklore from the Renaissance has been and continues to be today the completion of a deep inner longing to the spiritual unity with the whole people and the entire ethnos. Folklore expresses more clearly the traits of our national spirituality in the past [...] But if today folklore has ceased to be an actual psychological and characterological peculiarity, it continues to play its role as a symbol”.

The words of Maxim Gorky, quoted in all books of Marxist science of folklore, however, introduce another nuance: “The people is not only the force that creates all the property available, but also the sole and inexhaustible source of values spiritual”. This is a kind of social rehabilitation for workers and masses, ignored and excluded from the world of scholar art and literature. The question is not simply that the national culture in class society, as Lenin says, includes two cultures - Democratic Socialist on the one hand, and Autocratic Bourgeois, on the other - but in the allocation of historic values only or primarily to the first of these two cultures, so also in folklore, as being this party. This view is too extreme for the Bulgarian mentality, where socialist period rather cultivated a symbiosis of two ideologies: national and social, through which folklore is studied. A sociologization conduct in such a perspective is reflected in an overstatement of the establishment by certain social classes and “progressive” groups, as well as by developing projects for a utopian socialist culture.

As for the circle problem identification, methods and scientific approaches, here we fall into a whirlpool of contested concepts, all dependent on the organization of institutions. Since the beginning of the century a variety of foreign words were put into circulation with Bulgarian equivalents - Volkskunde, Völkerkunde, “ethnography”, “ethnology”. What is remarkable is that in most cases, both sides remain in circulation - as synonyms or equivalents with grades justifying the “excess” terminology.

Newly formed Bulgarian terms or forged in other Slavic countries are narodovedenie (“science of people”), narodoznanie (“about the people”), narodonauka (“science of people”), narodopis (“written on the people”), narodni umotvoreniya (“works of the popular spirit”), narodno tvorchestvo (“people work”). Different disciplines may be pertinent, as suggested Arnaudov: The Bulgarian science as ethnic and spiritual has two main purposes: first, Bulgarian ethnography, and secondly, Bulgarian folklore. While Ethnography deals with racial properties and physical appearance of the daily life of the people, material appearance, character, clothing, housing, means of subsistence, customs, etc., Folklore focuses on the inner life, thought and creation, song and art, etc.

This design is one that is long-established even today. The narodovedenie is often identified with the ethnography and, more rarely, to the science of folklore. For some time it is called ethnology. The distinction that we observe between ethnography and folklore of science has a long history, but the limit has always been vague and hesitant. In his Program article, commonly cited and used, I. Shishmanov called folklore “the original culture of ancient people”, and defines it as “the rich heritage of our ancestors”, “paternal inheritance”. It includes mostly “works of the popular spirit”, slovestnost (in words), but also folk art, archaeological monuments, people, music, instruments, folklore for children. Collect and describe this heritage is a task of ethnography, as shown in the title of the article.

Different sciences, literary history, ethnology and psychology of the people are responsible for its analysis. As we have seen, M. Arnaudov follows a different principle and advocates folklore as a science categorically separate from folklore as such. It introduces a European perspective and a disarray in the final argument by referring to the term ethnology, once opposed to the folklore (such as Völkerkunde is for Volkskunde). In this case, ethnology is a theoretical science, while folklore is descriptive, empirical. This vision exists today, despite strong resistance, especially during the socialist period, when some argued that the “two names stand for the same science”.

In the distinction of ethnography and folklore as science, specialization leads to a posterior narrow folklore as oral poetry of the people. In fact, I. Shishmanov already coursed theory of folk poetry, Y. Ivanov presented to his students the Bulgarian folk songs, P. Dinekov talked about the Bulgarian folk poetry. The breakdown by sectors of literary philological chairs and curricula has no theoretical claims. Later, in the Soviet model of organization of science ethnography was given a greater balance. Folk poetry, folklore, art and music are popular in its field. The situation remains the same in Bulgaria until the seventies, when a new generation begins to prefigure the work of ethnography and science of folklore. Ethnography studies the ethnic people as a class with its ethnicity and social culture. It is placed among the historical sciences and tends to its object. In this experiment, the focus of ethnographic occupations is popular culture as a type of cultural system of society, lineage and ethnic communities, etc.

Shortly before in the 1970s T. Zhivkov develops the idea of folklore as artistic culture, created under the conditions of independent work (agricultural and artisanal), having therefore a process of “classic” evolution in the pre-capitalist era, especially in the countryside. The historical folklore, combined with sociological analysis and a systematic approach, is a cultural system whose components are mutually linked, including folklore, directed (musical) and plastic (technical), or spheres of outputs (songs, stories, physical creation) or mechanisms functioning (work, rituals, celebrations). With this vision, the center of gravity moves from texts, works and genres to the actions and processes.

The ethnographer and folklorist T. Zhivkov was looking for typologies in the history of culture. States and “classic” model associated with the past are then defined. Ethnography and the science of folklore remain devoted to their empirical occupations in the description of cultural heritage and in the reconstructions they continue to collaborate with the museum, archives, Sbornik. A truly productive methodological movement is underway, the research fields are increasing, a series of “white spots” in knowledge about traditional culture disappear. However, the eighties also show differences between theory and practice - concrete studies progress on the beaten path. And regardless of the fact that within the two disciplines are relevant contradictions - contemporary ethnography, folklore contemporary - this is outside their main focus, as an essential but peripheral. It is an attempt to go beyond the image of folklore as living antiques and think as universal culture. This folklore can already be studied from the perspective of anthropology, sociology, and culture.

In Bulgaria, the Eighties represent the moment of an explosion of ethnology, of ethnodisciplines and ethnonotions. Attempts were made to distinguish the ethnomusicology as the science of musical folklore according to the criterion well known, the universal and the global response to the traditional and ethnocentric. Apart from ethnolinguistics are distinguished ethnosociology, ethnoanthropology, ethnopsychology, etc. In the professional discourse have become frequently used terms such as ethnologies of personality, religion, art, literature, space, village, city, mountains, change of socialism, of the newspaper, etc., of all possible types of the human world. Should not, instead of new disciplines and sub-disciplines, apply instead an approach and ethnological point of view? This is probably the opportunity to look at the objects in question as a place, product, end result of the activity of human communities, “bottom” and “inside” of the manifestations and variants of the unofficial.

The anthropological approach is not remote, but also not too hurrying to advance. The knowledge about man as such is completed and processed through an emphasis on the experiences and interpretations of people - a trend and a “hermeneutic turn” in contemporary anthropologies. This is evident in recent research on oral storytelling, popular religiosity, composing music, etc. The focus on local and regional emerging outside of the national paradigm, issues of identity - so many moments that define the transition from ethnography to anthropology, which also characterized the anthropology of folklore as the anthropological approach to popular culture. All those are new challenges emerging for humanity in the 21st century.

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Addendum: On 22 August 1846 the English gentleman magazine "Athenaum" published an article on folklore, signed by someone Ambrose Merton. This proved to be a pseudonym for artisan William John Thoms. The latter introduced the term "folklore", which he defined as "the traditional beliefs, legends and customs, current among the common people". Everything that until then in England and English speaking countries was understandably under the name "popular Antiquities" or "popular Literature" was transferred to another calling "by a good Saxon compound Folk-Lore, i.e., the Lore of the people". Further, "folklore embraced manners and customs observances, superstitions, ballads and proverbs ..."

As we have already mentioned, Bulgaria entered on path of Capitalism comparatively later. By the first half of 20th century the notion of Folklore was almost obliterated in the Western civilization; it was substituted by anthropology (physical and cultural), while only "pockets" of so called traditional culture existed in the remote province. In Bulgaria which at that time was steadily advancing as German satellite, those cultural processes were slower and altogether obliterated. Traditional rituals and customs still existed in overwhelming part of the country which was approximately 70-80 % agricultural. Thus second generation folklorists (Arnaudov, Vakarelski, Dinekov) found good soil for work as innovators in Bulgarian Folklore. Their job done is still unsurpassed.

The book "Essays on Bulgarian Folklore" was written in 1934 and by now has been issued in a third phototype edition. Those that came after M. Arnaudov could write little to contradict him, while some modern cultorologists (T. Zhivkov) outwardly rejected folklore and spoke about "structural anthropology".

An international dimension of Bulgarian Folklore research is scanty, especially those dealing with issues from the 20th century. A single best cited work in English language is "Bulgarian Folklore" by Assen Nicoloff (Cleveland, Ohio); this was manuscript written in the 1940s for the purposes of education in American College - Sofia. In the 1980s, the author re-published it with new reference literature and index..

Complementary information on Bulgarian Folklore can be found also in D. Koleva and N. Kolev short monograph,

http://www.archive.org/details/BulgarianTraditionsInThrace

 

 

Copyright © 2010 by the author.