Dr. Peter Galchin


“A Return to the Old Native Roots” is Part II of the study called The Macedonian Literary Circle (1938 – 1941). Part I reveals the fact that this circle was created with the purpose of becoming a promoter of the Bulgarian Communist Party’s policy among the young and educated members of the Macedonian immigrant community in Bulgaria. An attempt was made to use the circle in order to create “Macedonian” literature, through which to instil “Macedonian” consciousness in this group of people for political purposes. Part II reveals the dramatic, first quiet and timid, and later – open, clear and emphatic refusal to complete the absurd task. The circle also refuses to accept the Comintern thesis concerning the Macedonian question. Its former followers now become fervent Bulgarian patriots and champions of national integration and cultural unity of the whole Bulgarian people.

At the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1940 the Macedonian Literary Circle became a ground for arguments in the following directions: International-Macedonian, Bulgarian-Macedonian, a Macedonian nation with Bulgarian as its official language or having a separate linguistic norm, etc. While arguments develop, the members of the Circle gradually realize that it is an absurd idea to create “Macedonian literature” on the basis of Bulgarian literature, by Bulgarians by birth and ancestral memory, and most of them – speaking official Bulgarian as their native language. Another reason that contributes for the realization of this absurdity is the fact that the Bulgarian literary public accept their work as patriotic literature, which has as its subject the Macedonian region as part of the Bulgarian lands. They realize that “Macedonian” authors isolate themselves in their self-identification, that the international situation that has motivated them at first has changed and now it is unfavourable, etc.

In the middle of 1940, the members of the Macedonian Literary Circle in their literary activities, quite tacitly at first, abandon the subject of Macedonia and bring common Bulgarian and social problematic issues to the foreground. Afterwards they start interpreting Macedonia as an original and inseparable part of the Bulgarian territory.

When in the spring of 1941 the political status quo of the Balkans has been changed and parts of Western Thrace and Macedonia come under Bulgarian administrative government, the members of the circle rejoice in this, seeing in it the national unification of the Bulgarian people. So they start contributing with their writings to the cultural integration of the “new lands” with Bulgaria as a whole. This is illustrated with analyses, and most of all, by following their participation in the editing and writing of the weekly newspaper Literaturen Kritik (A Literary Critic), with which they were deeply involved for a few months.

Finally, the study relates the lives of the members of the Macedonian Literary Circle after Germany’s attack upon the Soviet Union, and the following formation of a large antifascist coalition. Their activities after World War II are partly discussed in the study as well, in order to show how after the War different political reasons, ad hoc policy and party discipline make some of them get involved again in a large-scale campaign for the artificial creation of a “Macedonian” nation. Afterwards, when circumstances have changed, many of the former members of the circle openly condemn the circle’s Comintern-driven policy, which has attempted to divide Bulgaria in order to make two countries out of one, as one of the members has described it.

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