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FREUDISM AND COUNTERACTION IN BULGARIA

Author: Stoju Stoev

Editor's Note: We are going to present in our column of bulgarian writers a rather controversial author S. Stoev and his critique on Sigmund Freud and Neo-Freudism. This has been extended in two books, from which the first one deals with followers of this important line of thinking from the period before WWII and the second is treating the ramifications of Freud's theory after the Great War. Both books are issued as separate editions and can be read thoroughly as such.

 

This is the first book from bulgarian philosopher S. Stoev /1924 - ?/, which represents his doctoral thesis from year 1965. We haven't been able to find any facts about his lifetime activities and except that he has been lecturer in the Institute of Philosophy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He has retired in 1989 and this tribute to his important exploration on Freudism in Bulgaria is presented without further references. In order to satisfy some curiosity from the side of the western readers of this article and we should make a parallel with another controversial author and his book from about the same caliber - namely, philosopher Zhelyu Zhelev and his book "Fascism". The latter was banned for some 20 years and after the democratic political transition, subsequently its author was re-habilitated and as leading dissident in Bulgaria was elected first Democratic President in the country. The former /i.e., author Stoju Stoev/ has remained anonymous, however his magisterial research in psychoanalysis is still unsurpassed and will remain so in the grey streamline of bulgarian literature.

The book itself is a difficult reading, as it is for any piece of research on Freud and collaborators. Our effort to handle such an exhaustive material with a minimum deviance from the original outlook of the author, incidentally has led us to new discoveries after having read and re-read the monograph several times.

The problems arise from several outposts and we should try to clarify in a following order - viz., i./ it has been a presumptuously difficult task to interpret S. Freud and his scholarly approach as an entity, since his voluminous workload comprises more than 50 bulk titles or so. With respect to this, bulgarian followers of this scientific current are rather backward and specifically for the time frame of research for this book we have no more than a half-dozen titles in translation, which makes a bulgarian language rather poor transcendent of the original ideas of S. Freud; ii./ on another canvas has been laid a great number of secondary titles on Freud and his Viennese School, furthermore it has comprised a tremendous work for title-bearer S. Stoev to find and refer some bunch of 20-30 literary works of that time sequence /i.e., that is Bulgaria and its pre-communist society in the period between the two World Wars/. Most of this references are extinct now and we have been using the book at hand as a first rate compendium on the subject; iii./ as a matter of fact, Freudism has been counteracted by Marxism for a long period of time and it has been not only the communist East, but also capitalist West that has been making an embargo on anything connected with this school of thinking. The problem has released tension in the 90s of the past century, however by that time other global challenges have appeared on surface of mankind existence and have masked the original impetus of Freud's thinking. We are not going to comment on this and its international repercussions.

Our debacle on Freudism in Bulgaria will continue in a somewhat less consolidated manner. In this respect, separate characterization should be given to Freud's disciples in the country and some considerations should be attempted to generalize this important line of thinking on a worldwide scale. A word of caution should be marked for the following paragraphs, since as we have mentioned above and no materials "de visu" have been available for the author of this review. In that case, all literary sources from the proponents of Freud in Bulgaria are omitted and anyone interested in more details can find a direct reference for them in the book from S. Stoev. If that seems rather a harsh approach to the topic and we apologize in advance.

We begin our list with Prof. Ivan Kinkel - viz., the role of that scholar from russian descent is quite important for bulgarian university science from the period in the 20s - 30s of the past century. He has had many contributions in different fields of knowledge and in this particular article we should stress his role as a critique for meta-psychology. His position acquires much more weight, when we take into account the fact that he was the sole adherent to Freud with a university title. He has coined the earliest popularization of psychoanalyses in the country and has been an ardent critique to its politico-social enemies, whomever it be but mainly from the streamlines of Marxism /i.e., the latter have been afraid, that such theories as Freud's cosmopolitan ideas could supplant their own conception of communist future for the mankind/. A further portrait with literary sources for I. Kinkel will be presented in one of our next editions for this booklist.

The name of Lybomir Russev is mainly connected with the doctrines of racism and eugenics in this country. Indeed, this syndicate leader with rich political biography and Nietzschean type of thinking is one of the early propagators of Freudism in Bulgaria. He has been a school teacher and later worked as Inspector for the Ministry of Education. After the "coup d'etat" in 1934 and the advent of fascism in the country, L. Russev has been one of the most volatile scions of nationalist literature and Hitler's propaganda. He has contributed numerous articles for the leading cultural magazines and newspapers, together with several monographs on such topics as mental education, literary psychology, etc. His main importance for the cultural life in Bulgaria at the period between the World Wars is rather obnoxious and he has been readily proclaimed as fascist writer by his intrepid socialist critics. We mention his name here, as an early attempt to understand the role of psychoanalysis for human education. Further elucidation is necessary on this author and some biographical notes should be well fitted, whatsoever.

Our next adherent to early Freudism is Buko Isaev. This scholar from jewish descent and graduate from the Faculty of Law, Sofia University - viz., he has been the only bulgarian with formal training in the Viennese School of Freud from the 1930s. Our biographic details on this author are rather scanty, since he never practiced law after finishing his studies in Sofia. He is known for his 2-3 books on Freud and psychoanalysis written in bulgarian, which are really of high professional merit. The destiny of this author from the late years before the beginning of WWII is rather unclear, subsequently he was expected to migrate to Palestine and avoiding the horrors of the holocaust. The importance of this writer is rather periphery and he is accepted from bulgarian critics as a writer of Zionist literature.

Given the importance of this booklist and we should proceed to a group of writers, which should be adopted with the title of Marxist critiques of psychoanalysis. These are in a row of chronology and not least in importance - viz., bestowing A. Iliev, M. Dimitrov, T. Pavlov and some other of less importance. We are not going to proliferate our comment on this group of authors, since Marxists could never comprehend the essence of Freud's concepts on "sexuality & dreams", "unconsciousness & ego", "totem & taboo", "civilization & society", etc. It is presumptuous, but still correct to append this cohort of pseudo-Freud adherents and to a group of eclectic idealism. They have no importance at all to understanding the psychology of modern times, nevertheless they represent some interest to be included in the literature review, per se.

Our journey in the vistas of psychology should finish with its most exuberant member from this side point in Bulgaria. We have in mind Dr. Andrey Andreev - viz., first full time translator for Sigmund Freud in bulgarian language. This extraordinary man has been absolutely forgotten by his socialist mentors for a long period of 40 or so years, when in the early 1990s have appeared some new translations of Freud in the air of democratic changes. However, the job done by A. Andreev couldn't be easily surpassed /i.e., he translated and published in year 1947, firstly from the original "S. Freud. An Introduction in Psychoanalysis" and secondly a biography from Stephan Zweig on the titular "S. Zweig. Biography of Sigmund Freud"/. Surprisingly and to the author of these lines, further check on the lifetime activities of the above translator has revealed some unexpected data. He has graduated Veterinary medicine from Berlin, with a Doctorate in animal behavior and some early publications in bulgarian language on the principles of ethology. This early adherent to the streamline of socio-biology believed, that human conduct can be extrapolated from the behavior of animals - viz., a revolutionary idea that was later put into circulation from Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz. Unfortunately for scholar A. Andreev, bulgarians have the faculty to be first-in and last-out as of the premises in the hall of fame.

 

 

Copyright 2006 by the author.