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Contemporary Literature and Cinema in the European Southeast and the Question of Balkan Identity

This course provides an overview of Bulgarian contributions to the narrative arts of fiction and cinema today. Bulgaria is known for its folklore, choirs, opera singers and Christo (Yavashev and Stoichkov), but its literature is rarely translated and its cinema is seldom screened. This course shows why this attitude is unwarranted, but also what stands behind it: what are the likely cultural and historical, aesthetic and stylistic, marketing and publicity issues for such a notorious non-presence.

The course focuses exclusively on masterpieces: 5 books – (Ivaylo Petrov, Before I Was Born and Afterwards, Vera Mutafchieva The Case Djem, Yordan Radichkov, Fierce Mood, Georgy Gospodinov, The Physics of Sorrow and Milen Ruskov, Thrown into Nature) and 5 movies (Methodi Antonov, The Goat’s Horn, Georgy Djulgerov, Advantage, Rangel Valchanov, The Unknown Soldier’s Patent Lather Shoes, Yavor Gardev, Zift, Kamen Kalev, Eastern Plays). All these books and movies pose the question “Who are we, where do we come from and what is our destiny?” All of them address the question of identity and try to grasp what makes “us” different – what makes us “us” (if there is such thing). Balkanness is not on the surface, national and social identity seem to be more apparent markers. I argue that the Balkan aspect is crucial for both the formation and understanding of Bulgarian narratives past and present. The mystery of Balkanness as the internal other of Europe will thus appear as an optics towards a European self-perception.

The course is subsidised by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Bulgaria.

How to apply

Application forms are available from the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies either in hardcopy or electronic form ( The completed application form accompanied by payment in the form of a personal cheque, postal money order or bank draft, payable to Trinity College Dublin no. 1 account should be returned to: The Executive Officer, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, Room 5045, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Dublin 2. T: 01 896 1896, E:


€150 for ten 90-minute lectures, payable in advance (by 13 January 2017). This fee is non-refundable once the course has commenced. A concession rate (€100) is available to Trinity undergraduate and postgraduate students. The number of concession rate places in any given class is restricted to twenty per cent. Payment must accompany applications.

Time and place

Mondays, 5.30 p.m. – 7.00 p.m., in Room TBA, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Dublin 2.


The course comprises of ten lectures. Lecturing commences on Monday 16 January 2017. There is a one week break in each term (27th February – 3rd March 2017) when no lectures will take place.