November 29, 2012

Book of Kings or a Bulgarian History, Which Teaches from Whence Came the Bulgarians, How They Became Rulers, How They Reigned and How Their Kingdom Perished and Fell under the Yoke

This book is the first published edition of Paisii Khilendarski’s 1762 Slaveno-Bulgarian History, which is considered the founding document of the Bulgarian National Revival. Paisii’s history encouraged the Bulgarians, who had been under Ottoman rule for centuries, to discover their national consciousness and to embrace the Bulgarian language. The work was so influential that it was copied by hand and excerpted many times, without Paisii being identified as the author or his name associated with the work. This 1844 edition, compiled and revised by Khristaki Pavlovich, also fails to identify Paisii as the author, and it omits some of the most important sections of the work as originally written, notably Paisii’s preface and his appeal to the Bulgarian people. It nonetheless was one of the earliest and most popular histories of Bulgaria. Paisii was definitively identified as the author of the Slaveno-Bulgarian History in 1871 by the eminent scholar Marin Drinov.

Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries

Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments Are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries is a Bulgarian translation of a liturgical work originally written in Greek. Shown here is the second edition. In 1837, when the first edition of this work was published, very few Bulgarian books existed for educational or even religious purposes. The Greek original is by the Hellenistic educator, Demetrios Nikolaos Darvares (1757–1853); the translation is by Raino Popovich, a Bulgarian teacher and founder of a Helleno-Bulgarian school, who played an important role in the Bulgarian National Revival. The cover page announces that the 1846 second edition was “published for the enlightenment of Orthodox Christians and their sons, with the support of the teacher, G. hadji Naĭden Ioannovich, resident of Tatar-Pazardzhik, supporter of Bulgarian enlightenment, and bookseller throughout Slavo-Bulgaria.”

New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The noted educational reformer, grammarian, and priest Neofit Rilski (1793–1881) was the first to translate the New Testament into modern Bulgarian. Rilski’s translation was critical to religious education, as most Bulgarians could not understand the existing translations of the Bible into Church Slavic. Financed by the Protestant British and Foreign Bible Society and sanctioned by the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Ilarion, Metropolitan of Tŭrnovo, the translation was a milestone in the Bulgarian National Revival and in the efforts of Bulgarians to achieve religious autonomy from the Greeks. Shown here is the second edition from 1850, which is reprinted from the first edition of 1840.

Writing Manual

Sava Dobroplodni (1820–94) was a noted educator, dramatist, and literary figure during the era of the National Revival in Bulgaria. In his role as an educator, he wrote many textbooks, including this pismennik (writing manual). Published in 1853, Dobroplodni’s guide was one of the earliest Bulgarian manuals of writing, or orthography, as well as the first to provide definitions of such literary terms as metaphor, synonym, and allegory. The book showed the Slavic, Greek, German, and French alphabets, offered rules for writing, and gave examples of good writing and samples of proper correspondence. Dobroplodni worked as a secondary school teacher in various towns and cities in Bulgaria and was an honorary member of the Bulgarian Literary Society. He founded and reformed schools and libraries, wrote and translated plays, organized theatrical performances, and published his last book, A Short Autobiography, in 1893.

Bulgarian Folk Songs

Naiden Gerov (1823–1900) was a renowned Bulgarian literary figure, whose accomplishments included composing the first poem in modern Bulgarian. His most important work was his Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language, which he worked on for many decades and which was published in five volumes between 1895 and 1904. Gerov’s lifelong interest in Bulgarian folklore is reflected in his monumental dictionary, in which he included many words from folk materials. Although he gathered much material, most of it was not published during his lifetime. This small anthology, Bulgarian Folk Songs, which appeared in Russia in 1856, was a response to the book of a Russian folklorist, Petr Bezsonov. Bezsonov’s compilation of Bulgarian folk songs came out in 1855, but it had errors about the rhythmic structure of Bulgarian folk songs and prompted Gerov to issue this work, which included just five songs but which had numerous notes and corrections to Bezsonov.

The Forest Traveler

Georgi Rakovski (1821–67) was an important Bulgarian revolutionary and writer who was one of the leaders in the Bulgarian struggle against Ottoman rule. He lived a life of constant intrigue against the Ottomans, which at times included spying, imprisonment, escape from captivity, organizing rebellions, and surviving a sentence of death that was not carried out. Rakovski published several newspapers and wrote many works intended to inspire the Bulgarian people, including The Forest Traveler, one of the most famous ideological works of Bulgarian literature. Written while Rakovski was in hiding to avoid arrest by the Turks, The Forest Traveler is an epic poem about haiduts, Balkan mountain men who engaged in both banditry and freedom fighting. While depicting the situation of a group of haiduts, Rakovski also described the oppressed position of the Bulgarian people. His work had enormous significance for Bulgarians during the 19th century era of the National Revival, and to this day it forms a part of the Bulgarian national identity.