On the existence of Macedonian literary criticism in the XIX century
To write about the Macedonian literary criticism from the XIX century means to study the history of the Macedonian literature from this period. It seems that literary criticism, as one of the three disciplines in the science of literature, in addition to the history of literature and the theory of literature, has been paid the least attention in Macedonian science. The previous notions about the non-existence and discontinuity of the Macedonian literary criticism today can be refuted by simply bringing to light the large number of critical and essayistic publications, overviews and reviews, but also polemical texts scattered accross the pages of the periodicals. This means browsing a large number of newspapers and magazines in the hope that unknown texts and authors belonging to Macedonian literature will appear from somewhere, which we have not heard of or which have been linked to some other aspects of literature.
From the many names who wrote at least one critical text or took part in some kind of polemics, we will list: Teodosij Sinaitski, Konstantin Petkovic, Konstantin Miladinov, Rajko Zinzifov, Grigor Prlichev, Kuzman Shapkarev, Stefan Pop Ivanov, (Makedonovic), Trajko Kitanchev, Georgi Balaschev, Hristo Pop Stoilov, Grigor K. Aleksiev, Krste Misirkov, Evtim Sprostranov, Ivan K. Bozhinov, Evtimica Janceva, Atanas Badev and others. Some of the newspapers and magazines in which we managed to find at least one work of literary criticism are: Macedonia, Collection of folklore, science and literature, Svetlina, Zhivaja starina, Denica, Novini, Vesti, Minalo, Balkan, Caregradski vestnik, Glas Makedonski, Den, Loza, Nadezhda, Izgrev, etc., despite the even larger number in which there were no such texts.
Since the global periodic scheme of the Macedonian criticism of the XX century has been relatively precisely prepared, although in individual researchers it differs in certain aspects, which is quite normal, it is completely neglected compared to the XIX century. Therefore, under the general denominator of constitutive period, and according to our views, understandings and research, we propose the following orientation scheme:
- Period of conception and establishment:
- a) First phase: beginnings (T. Sinaitski, K. Petkovic, P. Zografski, K. Miladinov). We frame this period from 1839 to 1861, i.e. from the appearance of the “Preface” by T. Sinaitic in the book Uteshenie greshnim by K. Pejчиinovikj until the death of the Miladinov brothers; b) Second phase: establishment (R. Zinzifov, G. Prlichev, T. Kitanchev, K. Shapkarev). This period contains the publications from 1861 to 1891, i.e. after the death of the Miladinov brothers until the appearance of the Young Macedonian Literary Society (MMKD) and the magazine Loza.
- A period of full bloom and established criticism:
- c) Third phase: full bloom (G. Balaschev, D. Matov, HP Stoilov). This period includes the publications from 1891 to 1903, i.e. from the appearance of the MMKD and the magazine Loza to the Ilinden Uprising and the book Za makedonckite raboti by K. Misirkov; d) The fourth phase: established criticism and stabilization of critical thought (K. Misirkov, E. Sprostranov, K. Karadjulev). This period includes the publications from 1903 to 1912, i.e. from the Ilinden Uprising and the book Za makedonckite raboti by Misirkov until the beginning of the Balkan Wars, which ends the part of the Macedonian literature which by its characteristics belongs to the XIX century.
Answering affirmatively to the question about the existence of Macedonian literary criticism in the XIX century, on this occasion we single out four cases that show the development of a polemic scene (Grigor Prlichev and the text “Critic and translator”), the critic-criticised relationship (“The Dejkov case”), the criticized-critic relationship (“The Bitrakov Case”) and the need for criticism (critical echoes and the significance of the Macedonian Bloody Wedding by Vojdan Chernodrinski).
Since this is a completely new study and knowledge of certain aspects of Macedonian literature from the XIX century, we believe that there are still new and undiscovered authors and works that will only enrich the Macedonian literary criticism of this century. At the same time, we should emphasize that the list of authors and works is far from exhausted, and on the contrary, with the opening of libraries and archives, i.e. with the digitalization of library and archive funds, this number will still increase.
What, in fact, does Grigor Prlichev say in “Critic and Translator”
If we consider Grigor Prlichev as the greatest Macedonian poet of the XIX century, then it will not be immodest to add more literary titles: polemicist and critic. He may be one of the greatest and most important Macedonian polemicists and critics of this time, one of the top masters of the word in these fields.