The Making of a Nation in the Balkans: Historiography of the Bulgarian Revival

The Making of a Nation in the Balkans: Historiography of the Bulgarian Revival

The Making of a Nation in the Balkans: Historiography of the Bulgarian Revival

The Making of a Nation in the Balkans: Historiography of the Bulgarian Revival

Synopsis

"The book contains a presentation and critical consideration of the ideas of historians on the major problems, processes, events, and personalities of the era of the Bulgarian (national) Revival. It is dominated by the effort to understand how the Bulgarian Revival has been conceived of and imagined while keeping a certain distance from the various views presented, whether critical, ironic, or simply that inherent in the presentation of another person's view." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

A few paragraphs to explain the motivation behind this work would seem to me appropriate. Generally speaking, the book contains a presentation and critical consideration of the ideas of historians on the major problems, processes, events, and personalities of the era of the Bulgarian (national) Revival. I trace how the Bulgarian Revival was viewed by historical scholarship, and how notions and representations have changed over time. In so far as historical scholarship is meant to reveal, and so help towards an understanding of, historical events, a representation of the movement of ideas and of the debates on various problems inevitably has a bearing on the past itself. The epoch is “contained” in the attempts to conceptualize, represent, and make sense of it. The various notions and narratives are mutually complementary or mutually corrective, and even entirely wrong ideas have some (negative) usefulness in showing what the Revival was not. The “truths” of the Bulgarian Revival can be glimpsed through the conflicting ideas about it, and through their evolution. My own views and opinions, where not stated directly, may be inferred from the manner in which the various authors' views and the polemic surrounding them are introduced and represented, and from certain general reflections, etc.

The Revival is often approached—and understood—by way of comparison with other regions, epochs, ideological trends, or events. The various analogies and more elaborate comparisons employed in making sense of the Bulgarian Revival are based on phenomena (and mental constructs) from two major areas that were, in fact, the source of the actual influences: Western Europe (“Renaissance,” “Reformation,” “Enlightenment,” “Romanticism,” the French Revolution, national liberation movements, and capitalism) and Russia (the “agrarian question,” “populism” and “utopian socialism,” “revolutionary democratism,” and the Russian revolution of 1905. These analogies or parallels between developments in Bul-

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