Ivan Shishmanov and the National Mythology Cover Image
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Иван Шишманов и националната митология
Ivan Shishmanov and the National Mythology

Author(s): Nadia Danova
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN

Summary/Abstract: This paper examines Ivan Shishmanov’s contribution to the refuting of some myths inherited from the age of the Bulgarian national identity forming, when the Bulgarian intelligentsia representatives who played the leading part 201 in creating the “imagined community” constructed the national narative and built up the myths needed. Shishmanov takes up a sober position on the important issue about the role of the Greeks and the Greek culture in Bulgarian history (15th –19th century). Following the myth widespread in the Bulgarian romantic historiography of that time about the long-standing hellenizing policy towards the Bulgarians, Shishmanov reaches the conclusion that up to 1830 the Constantinople patriarchate did not function as a Greek national institute. He stresses the necessity for each phenomenon to be examined in its concrete historical context. He opposes the accusation against the Greek clergy that is has sistematically pursuited and destroyed the Bulgarian letters. He rejects the romantic thesis about the entirely negative role of the Greek culture and education for the Bulgarians and arrives at the conclusion about the positive role of the Greek cultural influence over the Bulgarian history, ranking it among the Bulgarian national revival factors. Shishmanov is convinced that we can be well acquainted with our own history only if we examine the phenomena of Bulgarian society’s spiritual life in their Balkan context, thus he convincingly refutes the romantic myth about the “uniqueness, originality, exceptionality and exclusiveness” of the nation, a myth that eliminates the search for parallels between the particular peoples’ development. Exactly on the basis of the similarity in the peoples’ development he reveals the mutual influence and borrowings in the cultural life of the Balkan peoples. Shishmanov disproves the view inhereted from the foregoing age that in the 19th century there existed tensions and conflicts connected only with opposing to “the other” on national base, since the national mythology requires the nation to be absolutely united and integrated. He is deeply convinced that myths in history can thrive only upon the ignorance for “the other” and therefore insists that it is Bulgarian school’s duty to make the Bulgarian children acquainted with the culture of the neighbouring Balkan peoples.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 30-37
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: Bulgarian