National Scientific Forum, dedicated to the 90th Anniversary of Ivaylo Petrov’s Birth

On 22 November, a National Scientific forum on the occasion of 90th anniversary of Ivaylo Petrov’s Birth was held. The forum was organized by Modern and Contemporary Bulgarian Literature Department at the Institute for Literature – BAS and New Bulgarian Studies Department at the New Bulgarian University. Greetings were delivered by Dr. Tosho Donchev, director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute, who pointed some Hungarian translations of the most important works of Ivaylo Petrov, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bissera Dakova and Assos. Prof. Dr. Plamen Doynov who told about the fateful match in the two institutions’ intentions on firstly independent but subsequently combined into one forum initiatives about Ivaylo Petrov.

In his report "Art Is My Morality" Prof. Bozidar Kounchev (Sofia University) shared his thoughts about the writer he personally knew - Ivaylo Petrov – which was a lyrical prelude to the celebration. Prof. Kounchev outlined three dimensions of Ivaylo Petrov’s personality: political, biographical and philosophical. In her report "Heard by Life (to the Psychoanalytic Reading Of "Before I Was Born And Afterwards")" Rosica Chernokozheva (Institute for Literature) identified Ivaylo Petrov’s novel as a novel, demanding a psychodramatic and psychoanalytic reading and ran parallels between Sigmund Freud’s concepts of the act of creation and the message that each of Ivaylo Petrov’s characters brought in his story. In his text "The Biographical Narrative And The "Confused Notes" by Ivaylo Petrov" Julian Zhiliev noted Ivaylo Petrov’s consistent work against the official requirements in the description of the process of collectivization in “Haika za valzi" (Wolf Hunt) and defined „Martvo valnenie” (Groundswell), “Predi da se rodq I sled tova” (Before I was born and afterwards) and “Obarkani zapiski” (Confused notes) as preparatory stages towards "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) novel. In her report "Ivaylo Petrov’s Prose and Domestication of the "Fear of Plebes" Assos. Prof. Maya Gorcheva (Plovdiv University) shared her interest in "Obarkani zapiski” (Confused notes) as provoked by the small number of self reflexive texts in our literature. In his text "Smurtna Prisuda” (Death Sentence) By Ivaylo Petrov Or Why Bulgarian Political Novel is Absent" Assos. Prof. Vihren Chernokozhev (Institute for Literature) focused on Ivailo Petrov’s novel, derogatorily passed by critics as an “official novel”, on the hidden story about the meaning of the political, which runs in the novel. Why Bulgarian political novel remains unwritten? "Bulgarian political novel is fragmentally written, parceled as a partisan novel", said Chernokozhev. In her report "The Lie We Cannot Live Without" Dr. Emilia Alexieva (Institute for Literature ) stopped on Ivaylo Petrov’s book "Lajlivi Hora” (Fake People) and interpreted the lie as an illusion, talked about the sweet poison of lies, which move, create dreams. Katia Kuzmova – Zografova’s report (National Literary Museum) - "Ivaylo Petrov - The Writer As An Artist" told about the other talent of Ivaylo Petrov – the painting – and illustrated her observations with wonderful graphics, courtesy of the writer. Prof. Inna Peleva (Plovdiv University) stopped in her report "Ivaylo Petrov - Between Escape And Return" on Petrov’s megastory, on writer's work on the self release, on the selection of the fictional I - identity and the impulse for self-change, the expression of which were his texts.

The afternoon session, organized by the New Bulgarian Studies Department at the New Bulgarian University, was entirely devoted to Ivaylo Petrov’s novel “Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt). "The intention of the New Bulgarian Studies Department is to give attention to the character and alternative works from the period 1944/46 - 1989/90, which form a kind of an alternative canon of works in Bulgarian literature", said Assos. Prof. Plamen Doynov. In his report "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) Case in the Literary and Political Context Between the late 70s and early 80s of XX century" he analyzed the sociopolitical and socioliterary environment, in which the novel appeared in 1982. "Why "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) was not rejected by the official critics and what was the alternativeness of the novel against the doctrine of socialist realism" were the issues, around which Plamen Doynov built his text. He stopped on the factors that explain the recognition of some alternative works, otherwise unacceptable ideologically, as an achievement of the socialist literature and highlighted the features that defined the novel "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) as an alternative to socialist realism. In his exposé of the report "On The Polemical Nature of "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) Genre, Again" Prof. Mihail Nedeltchev read the book through the New Fiction Syndrome and the Social Novel Syndrom, as also through three antinomies: the novel is / is not a rustic novel, the novel is / is not about the collectivization, the novel is / is not a social novel. In his text “The Hidden Debate About the Theodicy in "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt)” Prof. Ivan Stankov (University of Veliko Tarnovo ) considered the novel as a work, which consisted of five gospels. "Gospels, in which there is not a single good news - this is one of the saddest books in Bulgarian literature", said Stankov. Dr. Maya Angelova from Veliko Tarnovo University read in her report "The Uses Of Silence In “Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) Novel ” Ivaylo Petrov’s book through the importance of silence. Nicolay Radev told about how the novel was issued in 1986, about the publisher’s strategies in its implementation, as well as for his personal time with the writer. Nikola Ivanov suggested a parallel between reading "Haika za valzi” (Wolf Hunt) and "Lovecat na divi patici” (The Wild Ducks Hunter), outlined some common features in thematic and stylistic aspect between the two books, recalling that "Lovecat na divi patici” (The Wild Ducks Hunter) was released 20 years before Ivaylo Petrov’s novel. Georgi Grozdev proposed some possible comparisons between Ivaylo Petrov’s novel and other Balkan artists’ books, which developed since the 60s the collectivization theme, seeked some parallels with "Gulag Archipelag" by Solzhenitsyn and "Besove” (The Devils) by Dostoyevsky, as also with some Thomas Hardy’s novels. Elena Ognyanova told memories about Ivaylo Petrov. In the ensuing discussion George Grozdev’s poll with Ivaylo Petrov was discussed, as also the character of rustic in the novel, the internal and the external (intimate) themes of the novel, the complication of the autobiography approaches in the novel, compared to earlier works of the writer, the perception of autobiography as an internal structure of the novel and as a specific styling approach of Ivaylo Petrov, the importance of genre and the “blasting” of genre system by the writer, the opportunity to talk about an alternative work in an aesthetic way, without sociological aspects. Mrs. Ophelia Petrova shared memories of the process of “Haika za valzi” creation and thanked the Institute for Literature and New Bulgarian Studies Department for the wonderful words, expressed on the forum.