The Macedonian Literary Circle in Sofia (1938 — 1941)


In 1938 young, and just beginning to write, poets and novelists, most of them born in or having parents from the geographic region of Macedonia, grouped together and started the pretentiously named Macedonian Literary Circle. It has been an object of multiple speculations in Skopje for more than five decades. 

There have been attempts to ascribe permanent Macedonian, and even Yugoslavian, identity to the circle, and the group’s activities have been presented as a link in the „genesis“ of „Macedonian“ literature, language and nation as a whole.

 It political acts, on the other hand, have been ascribed to the Yugoslavian Communist Party’s endeavours for changes in the eve of the Second World War, as well as during the War itself. The motives behind the appearance of such writings are political; and their decades-long presence in the history and literary criticism studies has become possible due to the lack of scientifically-based historical research on the issue in Bulgaria. The present article discusses the appearance and activities of the Macedonian Literary Circle as they were in reality — the fact of provoking an illusion of youth because of a political errand from the communist party, the tremendous exertion during the attempts to realize the illusion, and the brave, honest and worthy farewell to this illusion, which led to an outburst of fervent Bulgarian patriotism. 

The article consists of two parts. Part One reveals the way in which the Macedonian Literary Circle was formed in order to become a champion of the Bulgarian Communist Party’s policy among the young and educated Macedonian refugees in Bulgaria. It becomes clear that in the process of the circle’s formation the aim was redefined into a task of instilling Macedonian identity by means of literary devices. The circle’s members considered this to be both a task assigned by the party, and an urgent political expediency. 

The redefinition was a result of the Comintern influence (with its idea of the formation of a separate Macedonian nation) and the young writers’ political and literary naïveté. The article proves that the activities of the Macedonian Literary Circle are externally imposed and unrelated to the identity of Bulgarians, including the Macedonian refugees in Bulgaria. That reduced the members of the literary circle to about a dozen. Soon they turned their backs to their initial intentions and proclamations. 

The self-deceit that by writing on the subject of Macedonia they would create Macedonian national works (although they were clearly and unquestionably Bulgarian in character to all experts) turned them into literary outsiders. The most penetrating authors realized they had been trapped. They found a way out in their return to a wider interpretation of common Bulgarian issues. An argument evolved which put their ideological doctrine to the test and practically marked the end of their incongruous youth aberration.

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