Applying the triple distinction ‘major’ vs. ‘small’ vs. ‘minor’ literatures: interliterary contacts in Sofia and Tiflis/Tbilisi between 1918 and 1924

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Yordan Lyutskanov


Minding (Dominguez et al 2018, 281 – 287) and following (Ljuckanov 2014), I will apply the triple distinction 'major' vs. 'small' vs. 'minor' literature to the analysis of textual artifacts from the Russian southern (post)imperial periphery/margin/outskirts. I will explore, first, translations of Bulgarian national 'classical' poetry published by Russian refugees – becoming – emigres in their newspapers from 1920 – 1924, focusing on the translations of two works central to Bulgarian national literary canon both then and now: "The new cemetery of Slivnitsa" by Ivan Vazov (representative of the phase of 'Realism' in Bulgarian literature) and "Armenians" by Peiu Iavorov (indicative of its 'early modernist' phase). (Both phasal designations will be recon­sidered with the aforementioned triple distinction in mind). I will explore, second, a festschrift published in Tiflis in 1919 containing tributes by Russian, Georgian and Armenian poets in the respective languages. Ca. 1918 – 1919, each of the three nations experienced a dramatic turn in their status on the territory that became Republic of Georgia on 26 May 1918: from a titular nation of an empire, Russians became a Prothean entity definable as refugees, emigres, and an ethnic minority; from a vernacular plurality (and imperial minority), Georgians became a small nation – state; from a 'vehicular' plurality/minority in Tiflis/'Georgia' (and imperial mino­rity), Armenians became an ethnic minority in a nation – state, with its own nation – state as Georgia's neighbour.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Small and Minority Literatures and Literary Historiography