The Adamic Myth in Stoyan Mihaylovski’s “Poem of Evil” Cover Image
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Адамовият мит в произведението на Стоян Михайловски "Поема на злото"
The Adamic Myth in Stoyan Mihaylovski’s “Poem of Evil”

Author(s): Grażyna Szwat-Gyłybowa
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN
Keywords: Bulgarian literature, modernism, Poem of evil, Christian anthropology, Mihaylovski, myth of the fall

Summary/Abstract: The present article reflects on the Poem of evil (1889) by Stoyan Mihaylovski as an original attempt to introduce a new language of artistic reflection into Bulgarian literature on the universal theme of religion. Making use of a paraphrase of the biblical theme of the fall, Mihaylovski makes his own interpretation; he poses the eternal question about the source of evil in man, looking at it from the perspective of the age he lives in; and searches for invariable in what is variable. In my article I examine the text of the poet in a manner consistent with the hermeneutical strategies of Paul Ricoeur. My goal is not the reconstruction of the artistic influences on the works of Mihaylovski, but an attempt for exegesis of the anthropological model presented in the poem, which, after Ricoeur, I call “Adamic myth”. Ricoeur turns the archaic symbols preceding the very concept of “evil” into a subject of hermeneutical analysis that enables the drawing, from the complex tangle of Middle Eastern and European myths, of four types of narrative structure about the origin of evil and its scope. Ricoeur’s typology covers basic cosmogonic and anthropological myths that have remained to this day not only as artistic facts, but also as still active mental structures. These narrative models have their own history, intertwined into the history of European cultures and literatures that, along with the dynamics specific to individual periods, remain proof of their adaptation. The “Adamic myth” understood as a universalized structure of thinking based on the Judeo-Christian (or rather the Jewish and the Christian) tradition, is situated at the very centre of the Christian tradition. This myth has been deeply rooted in the Church-Slavonic literature of the long Bulgarian Middle Ages, but this does not give grounds to predetermine its place in the constantly changing map of the new Bulgarian culture. The question of the positioning of the “Adamic myth” in it is gaining significance, especially in view of its fascination by the gnostic anthropology of modernism. The Poem of evil by Mihaylovski represents an interesting attempt of the writer to avoid the pitfalls of dualistic thinking and the anthropological pessimism related to it.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 46-61
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Bulgarian