And this would end the seemingly everyday controversy between the critic and the critics, and the case would be just an ordinary event, if not for the extensive note of the Novini newspaper editorial office just below Bitrakov’s text. Its full content reads: “From the stated answer, as its esteemed author will note, we omitted and did not publish one part (the last) for two reasons: a) because its content does not correspond to the subject, it is not a response to the criticism placed in ‘Novini’, and personal attacks against Mr. Critic and b) because we have also omitted a part of Grondovjanin’s criticism with inappropriate expressions. We do this also because we believe that all personal disagreements and obscene expressions in various criticisms and responses to them, as well as in articles and correspondence dealing with social and scientific issues, should be avoided and find no place; they take away much of the dignity of intellectual works and of their authors ”(B. R., 1897: 3).
Whether due to personal impatience, or due to the clumsily written primer or due to the unsustainable criticism of the critic, harsh words were exchanged between S. P. Ivanov and A. Bitrakov. The reasons can be all three, but the most important for us is the reaction of the Novini office, which obviously had a lot of work to do in editing, i.e. censoring the obviously extremely offensive words addressed between the critic and the criticized. If Bitrakov’s assessment was that Pop Ivanov’s text was “pornography”, then we can only assume what else these correspondences contained.
Did Vojdan Chernodrinski’s Macedonian Bloody Wedding once need literary critics?
We can answer this question immediately and very easily. But in that way any further discussion would become pointless, which, nevertheless, this drama of V. Chernodrinski deserves. Therefore, we will first list the basic data that refer to it, and along the way we will address the overall dramatic engagement of Chernodrinski and the reasons for the success of his plays.
First and foremost, he used the Macedonian vernacular in the dialogues of Macedonian Bloody Wedding. Of this he remarked: “although I do not know the spelling of our Macedonian language well, I still decided to write in my mother tongue, and for the only reason: to enable the so-called simple Macedonians to understand each other more easily, and enable the scholars to speak in the speech spoken by their mothers, because the latter can not understand what their sons are saying…” (Чернодрински, 1976: 39). The statement is critical enough by itself, aimed only at the Macedonian intelligentsia which began to allienate, used a foreign language and for foreign purposes. Hence, the spirit of the action of Chernodrinski and the Macedonian drama troupe “Skrb i uteha” “in the first place, was revolutionary, i.e. engaged political and national theater that had to maintain its reputation and prestige” (Aleksiev, 1984: 19).
The drama Macedonian Bloody Wedding was inspired by a real event that took place in the Thessaloniki vilayet, more precisely in Valandovo, in the summer of 1900. Therefore, in the preface of the play, Chernodrinski points out that he did not write anything, but copied from the bloody history of Macedonia. At the same time, he addressed: “Mrs. Critics, Readers and Viewers”, with a request to take into account all the events that led to the realization of the play (Чернодрински, 1992: 96). Success was inevitable: the play, written in the vernacular Macedonian language, convincingly showed all the troubles of the Macedonians under Ottoman rule. Attendees at the premiere held on November 7/20, 1900 in the hall of the “Slavjanska beseda” in Sofia followed the play with admiration.
This admiration spread and transferred beyond theatrical circles. In a short time it was performed over a thousand times in Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia. The press constantly wrote about it, and later about Chernodrinski’s other plays. Macedonian Bloody Wedding was written about in several newspapers in Sofia, Belgrade, Thessaloniki, Shumen and Constantinople: Den, Reformi, Shtampa, Brankovo Kolo, Deb’rski Glas, Makedonija, Avtonomna Makedonija, Narodna borba, Beogradske novine, Otechestvo, Vesti and others. in the period from 1900 to 1911. Many of these reviews and correspondence are anonymous or signed with initials. To some of them, however, we can determine the Macedonian ethnicity, as in: D. P. (teacher) from 1911 („Прѣдставление на ‘Макед. Кървава Свадба’ въ с. Косинецъ, Костурско“, Вѣсти, бр. 48) or the editorial note of Meletij Makedonski from 1911 („Македонската кървава сватба изиграна съ голѣмъ успѣхъ“, Дебърски гласъ, брой 32). The reception was excellent, the audience satisfied, and the critics more or less dumbfounded by the appearance of the “fourth Slavic literature”, which was, in fact, Chernodrinski’s greatest achievement.
If we summarize the impressions expressed about Macedonian Bloody Wedding and some later plays by Chernodrinski (Happiness, Evil for Evil), we will be able to summarize it with the words: “The audience was filled with tears” and “the acclamations had no end”, which ended this “unprecedented success.” And now, let us return to the beginning and repeat the question: did Macedonian Bloody Wedding by Vojdan Chernodrinski at the time need literary critics? The answer is: no. It did not need additional promotion, it was saying by itself what the critic could not find appropriate words for. In this case, the audience was the only necessary critic.
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