The literary field through the eyes of Boris Minkov


Boris Minkov

Photo: Maya Lubenova

Boris Minkov is one of the most authoritative names in our literature. He is the author of novels and short stories, of books with literary studies, of textbooks, and is the editor of Stranitsa magazine. He manages to “stand” with dignity on both sides – of the writers and of the literary critics and historians – in which the balance is quite difficult. However, Boris Minkov succeeds and is respected with his work in both directions.

In an interview in “Kultura” magazine, when asked by Marin Bodakov what kind of literary criticism he dreams of, he replied that “adequate criticism of a novel can only be another novel, of a ballad – another ballad, etc. Book against book , gradually the opposition of this “against” is removed and the written becomes a work. This “against” that falls is the only territory of creativity – so large that no one can possess it. Works exist only in their mutual critical position to others.

And this is as much an ideal as a universal model for criticism: even the briefest review (like any reading) marks always “another work” (what could have been), fixes in its fragile, timeless structure a of its infinite possible likenesses. If one approaches the practice of criticism by thinking of these cosmic inexhaustible possibilities, then there is no daily sinking into routine, no emptiness and compulsions. Then criticism can be dreaming itself.”

Boris Minkov’s new book is called “The Hanging Fields of Bulgarian Literature” and in it he manages to get as close as possible to the dream criticism he talked about in the interview. His aim is for these “hanging fields” to “perform a role of a kind of (receptive) nests,” “hanging is the structure of the nest in which (our) literary production nests,” he says. “Hanging devices are the webs of tradition,” as and hanging is “the only long duration in which art lives”, writes Minkov.

The book refers to a desire for connectivity in our literature, to detect these hanging fields, to “jump” between works and authors, an emphasis on trends and perspectives. Boris Minkov examines literary processes, exploring various connections and intersections between classical and contemporary works, based on previous studies and analyses.

In the book, the literary field is seen as general, as a whole, but also with many possibilities for deviations that give new directions and occasions for analysis, for creative searches.

Hear more in the conversation with Boris Minkov.

Photos – Maya Lyubenova and Stranitsa Library

Worked on the publication: Milena Ochipalska

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