NATIONAL CONFERENCE "WHO'S AFRAID OF PENYO PENEV?" TOOK PLACE IN DIMITROVGRAD

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National conference with the participation of teachers and researchers of the new Bulgarian literature "Who's Afraid of Penyo Penev?" was held in Dimitrovgrad. The moderator of the event was Prof. Plamen Doynov, rector of the New Bulgarian University. He is a teacher of history and theory of literature, academic and creative writing, poet with numerous awards and laureate of the National Literary Award Penyo Penev for 2022.

The conference was hosted by House-Museum Penyo Penev. Participants were: Prof. Maya Angelova from Veliko Tarnovo University, Ph.D. Roman Hadzhikosev from Southwest University Blagoevgrad, Ph.D. Kristina Yordanova from Sofia University.

The event is part of the Days of Poetry ‘2024.

In his opening statement, Prof. Plamen Doynov shared: "The first ones I recognize as a possibility to fear Penyo Penev are his contemporaries, connected to the high levels of the literary-political pyramid with all the conventionality of the concept, the so-called literary nomenclature from the Union of Bulgarian Writers. There are preserved documents of the serious pressure he was put under between 1956 and 1959. Some were afraid of the party and city leadership of Dimitrovgrad, as well as citizens who did not like him. The others who were afraid were some representatives of his generation - Georgi Dzhagarov, Stanka Pencheva, Ivan Radoev, part of which is known as the brigadier generation or the next generation - Lyubomir Levchev, Vladimir Bashev, Stefan Tsanev.

Penyo Penev was feared by all uniformed socialist realist critics after 1956 until his suicide in 1959. Then he was criticized mainly because of his individual publications in the press, because of the poem "Days of Inspection", because of the so-called "Dobrudzhan cycle", because of his bottomless pessimism, etc.

After poet’s death, those who began to fear him seem to have largely changed their profile. The fear is shifting towards not reading Penyo Penev in its entirety, but continuing to read him selectively. On the other hand, the fear is also of what might come out of his archive. I see that this is an exaggerated fear. The problem with the fear of Penyo Penev after 1989 is very serious. This fear has spread to this day. I don't know if we should call it fear, but it is a special kind of panic from the hesitation of many Bulgarian literary historians, including teachers of literature, who are hesitant about how to tell about Penyo Penev. The big problem comes from the fact that we have stuck Penyo Penev with the era and so, we do not have an adequate narrative about the era of the communist regime, about the era of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, that’s why we find it difficult to tell about the work of Penyo Penev. This is where the big fear comes from for me. Can we tell it in its entirety, without keeping the important things silent, and at the same time, putting in parentheses that this is a significant poet, actually be able to tell an important part of Bulgarian literature from the 1950s. It's a complicated political decade, to say the least, and it's important, as a historical narrative, how we relate Penev's work to this era."

 

Last modified: 14:47:39, 30 April 2024

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