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Western Visions

Author(s): Vitana Kostadinova
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - БАН

Summary/Abstract: The understanding of Occidentalism underlying this presentation does not concur with Ian Buruma’s definition: „Something else is going on, which my co-author, Avishai Margalit, and I call Occidentalism (the title of our new book): a war against a particular idea of the West…“1 I would rather use the term in the manner put forward by James Carrier in his preface to Occidentalism: Images of the West, as „the representation of the West by Western subjects“ (which goes hand in hand with projecting the Orient as the Other), and „that constructed by non-Western subjects“2. Lindstrom’s distinction (Carrier 1995) is even more useful; according to him „Occidentalism“ should be used only in regard to „the discourse among Orientals about the West“, whereas „the self-discourse of Westerners“ is called „auto-Occidentalism“.As an illustration of those visions of the West I would like to offer a parallel between the Bulgarian projections of the West in the early 20th century and the auto-images of the West as constructed by the texts translated into Bulgarian at the time. A sample of representations of the West in Byron’s Don Juan, translated in prose in 1919, reveals the author’s play with foreign stereotypes resulting in an ambivalent vision of Englishness in the text as seen from both the inside and the outside. Byron’s juxtaposition of East and West in Don Juan will be compared to the different levels of contrasting the Orient with the Occident in the Bulgarian press of the period — ranging from publications of literary criticism, such as „Eastern and Western Art“ in the Vezni journal, to the stereotyped images of individual West-European nations. As a follow-up, with a representative selection of data, the analysis of the Bulgarian images of the West could be associated with the processes of Bulgarian national identity’s construction

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 131-139
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Bulgarian