Bagryana, Elisaveta (also Bagrjana; Pseudonym of Elisaveta Belcheva)
Bagryana, Elisaveta (also Bagrjana; Pseudonym of Elisaveta Belcheva) 1893–
Bagryana is a Bulgarian poet, editor, translator, and writer of books for children. She projects an exuberant love of life in her verse, expressing the joys and sorrows of freedom as an artist and as a woman. She has collaborated with Ioran Vasilev on biographical works and has translated her own work from Bulgarian into French.
For many years Elisaveta Bagrjana was identified with the concepts of her first collection, Vechnata i svjatata (1927)—taken as categories of woman's love—but her later works have changed fundamentally the view of this great Bulgarian poet. Bagrjana was considered, and by some still is, the exponent of the emancipated woman, primarily because of her concept of love, and her poetry has, therefore, usually been interpreted simply as love lyrics. For this reason the main core of the poetic confessions of Bagrjana has been overlooked, the extreme tension between opposite attitudes and emotions, between the dreams and expectations of life on one hand, and, on the other, their accomplishment, or even more often, their non-accomplishment. (p. 353)
There is a definite trend from optimism to pessimism in Bagrjana's poetry … although her faith in the future and her enchantment with life are never completely crushed, and in her poems of recent years this faith appears to be reborn. Her new confidence is an acknowledgement of the human values compiled throughout life, as well as by the simple joys of everyday life; its opposite pole is the now constant presence of her own death.
In the early poetry of Bagrjana, the lyric self indulges in bold and ambitious dreams of her future, a passionate, dramatic surrender to man's love. Everything seems possible and attainable. Her strength and her will can cope with any demand,...
(The entire section is 2239 words.)
In general, when reading Bagryana's poetry, one cannot withstand the impression that whatever she has written or accomplished bears the features of a well-prepared, systematic and well-disciplined esthetic activity….
Bagryana's first collection of poems, entitled Večnata i svjatata (The Eternal and the Sacred), appeared in 1927 and became a literary événement. Without going into detail, one could say that the novelty of this volume consisted in a clear rejection of the hitherto dominating streams in Bulgarian literature and an acceptance of the exceptionally rich traditions of national oral folklore as a source of artistic inspiration. What Bagryana inherited from this tradition was simplicity and directness of expression. The poetic world of Bagryana is built up of objects and phenomena which surround us. By its concrete character, the early poetry of Bagryana was a reaction against symbolism; by its personal tone, it contrasted with the revolutionary rhetoric of Khristo Botev … and the old-fashioned patriotism of Ivan Vazov…. If anything, Bulgarian poetry moved more easily in the world of politics, in the world of heroic actions, in the world of war and revolution than in the inward world of intimate confessions. The turnabout accomplished by Bagryana was twofold in its consequences: the intimate tone of her poetry has manifested itself not only in a turn toward the internal...
(The entire section is 2026 words.)