The appearance in Bulgaria of translations of works by Hans Christian Andersen almost coincided with the country’s liberation in 1878 from a five century-long Ottoman domination. In point of fact, the first translations appeared during the first years after the liberation.
The development of the new Bulgarian culture and literature began at a time when the country was still under foreign domination (the period of the Bulgarian National Revival is generally considered to have lasted from 1762 to 1878). At that time there was little and only sporadic interest in foreign literature and foreign authors. True enough, some of the more educated people belonging to the élite of Bulgaria, who had travelled and studied abroad, translated or adapted some of the foreign works of literature with which they had acquainted themselves during the course of their studies, and this was a useful contribution to the country’s scanty book production. „Book production in Bulgaria at the time of the Bulgarian National Revival was at the service of national education in the broadest sense of the word. It helped children with their work at school and enabled adults to widen the scope of their knowledge and learn what was happening in the world.“ During this period, however, the works of Andersen did not reach Bulgaria. Nor was he mentioned by the Bulgarian press although he had passed through Bulgaria and taken an interest in its fate.
The liberation played for Bulgaria the role of a bourgeois & democratic revolution which gave a strong impetus to the growth of the country’s national culture and economics. It should be mentioned, however, that at the beginning of the 80s only a part of Bulgaria was an independent State. The whole southern part of the country called Eastern Rumelia (with Plovdiv as main town) was still an autonomous province under Turkish jurisdiction. For various political reasons a number of already well-known writers and politicians left the Principality of Bulgaria and gathered in Plovdiv. Here they began the publication of a few journals and newspapers. These newly started publications united the efforts and writing activities of politicians such as I. E. Gešov, Petko Karavelov, M. Madžarov, S. S. Bobčev, I. Salabašev and of writers such as Petko Slavejkov, Ivan Vazov, Konstantin Veličkov, Dimităr K. Popov and others. The majority of them were simultaneously engaged in social & political activities and literary work. Thus Ivan Vazov, who later became a classic of Bulgarian literature, was at the beginning of the 80s editor of the newspaper „Narodnij glas“ (People’s Voice) and the journals „Nauka“ (Science) and „Zora“ (Dawn) and at the same time a prolific poet and novelist and member of parliament. The same applies to Petko Slavejkov and Konstantin Veličkov.
In this atmosphere of impetuous development of political and literary activities attention began to be focussed on the achievements of other nations, too. „We have to hurry“, urged Vazov in his Narodnij glas, „what others have been able to achieve within a couple of decades, we have to achieve within a few years. History is moving now at the speed of steam and electricity. The nations that cannot keep abreast will simply be smashed by history.“ The periodicals were full of reports and articles on the political and cultural events in foreign countries and more and more translations of Russian and West European scientific materials and works of literature began to appear. Those factors accounted also for the appearance of the first Bulgarian translations of Andersen’s works.
The first translation into Bulgarian was made by the writer Petko Račov Slavejkov. It was „Pig’s Tale“ from Andersen’s novel „I Sverrig“. The translation appeared in the September issue 1881 (No. 6) of the first volume of the journal „Nauka“. That was one of the first more important periodicals in the field of science and literature. Editors at the time were Ivan Vazov, Konstantin Veličkov, S. S. Bobčev, I. Salabašev, and P. Nabotkov. In a communication of 12th March, 1881 the Editorial Board announced that “A Society of Science and Literature had been founded in Plovdiv“. One of the main duties of the society was the publication of the periodical „Nauka“. The Board declared that „every effort will be made to ensure sundry, many-sided and interesting contents of the journal and make it both useful and accessible to as many readers as possible . . . Contributors will be all salient Bulgarian scholars and men of letters living in Bulgaria or abroad.“
The translation of „Pig’s Tale“ has probably been made from the Russian. P. R. Slavejkov had a good command of the Russian language, was in possession of a lot of Russian books and journals, and made translations from that language when Bulgaria was still under Turkish domination. In contrast to other translations made rather freely, he followed here the Russian text throughout so the original could reach the reader quite unretouched. The translation was signed: P. R. Slavejkov.
The second Bulgarian translation of an Andersen’s work appeared also in Plovdiv in the newspaper „Marica“. It was the tale „The Emperor’s New Clothes“ (EK 9) published as a serial in No. 455 of 14th January, 1883. The translator’s name was hidden under the pseudonym „Daču-Popa“ given immediately after the title. At the end were indicated place and date of translation: „Moscow, 25th November, 1882“.
This unusual way of presenting a translation poses today some basic questions. To wit: 1. Who is the translator? 2. Why should he have used this pseudonym? 3. Why has the translation been dated in this way?
The first question would be easy to answer if the pseudonym were known to Bulgarian history of literature. Unfortunately the only comparatively full directory of Bulgarian pseudonyms does not contain it. A consultation with the compiler of the directory, Mr. Ivan Bogdanov, did not reveal anything either. Nor could we trace bibliographically some other translations or original works using the same pseudonym. It is obvious, then, that the pseudonym has been used but once.
Of considerable help in elucidating this matter is „Bălgarska hristo-matija“ (Bulgarian Reading Book) by Ivan Vazov and Konstantin Veličkov appeared in 1884. In part I are included both tales of Andersen mentioned above and already published in Bulgarian periodicals. However, the names of the translators are not indicated in the reading book.
This reader is one of the most interesting phenomena in the history of Bulgarian literature at that time. It has two parts, viz. poetry and fiction, and is intended for the upper forms of grammar schools. The reader helped both writers to implement the idea of acquainting the population of Bulgaria with European culture. As Ivan Vazov puts it in his memoirs, „Thus we compiled the first Bulgarian reader in literature – at the suggestion of Veličkov. We included translations of works (both poetry and prose fiction) by all famous classics and modern writers. A great many titles were translated by Veličkov, the rest was translated by me. Without this reader we would not have such a variety of nice excerpts from European literatures which were offered for the first time, not only to pupils but also to the general public. On another occasion Ivan Vazov writes: „Galahov’s reader served as an example. In addition, we used French textbooks and the Gerbel’s collections and some Russian materials as well. The French fragments I translated from the originals, the German and English ones from the Russian. D. K. Popov was entrusted with the task of translating something by Byron, otherwise he was not participating in this initiative.“
Galahov’s reader (and more specifically, the 17th edition which is closest in time to „Bălgarska hristomatija“) does not contain works by Andersen. Obviously, however, the compilers of „Bălgarska hristomatija“ were well aware of Andersen’s importance for European literature as they considered it worthwhile to include him in the selection as one of the „famous modern writers“. „Pig’s Tale“ published here is accompanied by a detailed biographical footnote about the „Danish poet and novelist“. Author (or translator for that matter) of the footnote is probably one of the compilers of the reader, either Vazov or Velickov, who wrote a number of similar notes for this edition of the reader. This is the first material on Andersen printed and published in Bulgaria.
Here again we face the problem of establishing the identity of the translator of the other tale, „The Emperor’s New Clothes“, which is included in the reader but the name of the translator is not indicated. A textual comparison of this translation with the translation which was originally published in the newspaper „Marica“ shows full identity. On the other hand, inquiries into the identities of contributors to, and editors of the newspaper „Marica“ in the period 1882-1883 did not reveal any such name as Daču-Popa or at least a similar name related to the translations of Andersen’s works. This could mean that the translator hidden under the pseudonym „Daču-Popa“ has been closely connected with the compilers of the reader. Indeed they have used his translation without bothering to indicate the translator’s name and probably deemed it only too natural to do so vis-à-vis a friend.
D. K. Popov, as mentioned by Ivan Vazov, has also been a contributor to the reader. He has been a friend of Vazov and Veličkov who lived at the time in Plovdiv, too. Vazov calls him in his letters D.p-v or Popeto. D. K. Popov has been the editor of a number of newspapers in which he has signed his feuilletons with the pseudonym „Pravov“. He has written poems and short stories and has made a lot of translations for Vazov’s journal ,,Nauka‘‘. In addition, he has been an active politician. To the second part of the reader he has contributed translations of works not only by Byron but also by Uh-land, Redwitz, Hebel and Hartmann, which has not been mentioned by Vazov at all. His only book „Prevodni stihotvorenija“ (Translated poems) includes works by these poets and also by Thomas Hood, Henry Longfellow, Lermontov, Kolcov, Džura Jakčič, Heine, Eminesco, and . . . Andersen. As a matter of fact, a fragment of Andersen’s „Melody of the Heart“ (first published in the review „Bălgarska sbir-ka“) is included in transcription and translation in „Prevodni stihotvorenija“ (p. 126). To have been able to discover Andersen’s poems, D. K. Popov must have been acquainted with his work fairly well.
If we take D. K. Popov to be the translator of the first publication of „The Emperor’s New Clothes“, we could answer the other questions, too, arousing from the use of this pseudonym, and decipher it. There are reasons to believe this is the most plausible hypothesis. To wit: 1. The initials of his name are identical with those of the pseudonym used (Dimităr Popov – Daču-Popa). His friends often used variants of his name in addressing him. For instance, they used to call him „Popeto“ (Vazov); 2. His stay in Plovdiv coincides with the two dates of publication of „The Emperor’s New Clothes“; 3. At that time there were only few translators in Plovdiv and none of them could be credited with having made this translation.
What induced D. K. Popov to resort to this pseudonym? It was perhaps sort of precaution on his part. He was a political dissident and opponent of the first Bulgarian ruler (Prince of Batemberg) and had emigrated from the independent Principality of Bulgaria to settle in the autonomous Eastern Rumelia. Having translated a satiric work mocking the vanity and stupidity of kings, he could hardly be expected to put his real name. And since this was a work of literature, not a journalistic material, he did not use his usual pseudonym „Pravov“ either.
As regards the last question about the somewhat unusual way of indicating place and date of the translation (Moscow, 25th November, 1882), it may be assumed that D. K. Popov was in fact in Russia on this very day and that it was there that he was able to trace some Russian translations of Andersen’s works and use them to make his own translation. In examining various periods in the life and activities of D. K. Popov using mainly information contained in periodicals monographs, and archival documents, we have been able to establish that just at the end of 1882 he may indeed have been absent from Plovdiv, all the more because the Plovdiv newspaper „Red“ (Order) edited by him was discontinued as from 17th September, 1882. On the other hand, it is possible that D. K. Popov may have put a fictitious date – just to be on the safe side.
We, therefore, believe to be in the right in considering Dimitar K. Popov the second translator of an Andersen’s work in Bulgaria. At the same time we are disclosing the translator’s real name, hitherto unknown to the historians of Bulgarian literature, and hidden under the pseudonym „Daču-Popa“.
In attributing the translation of „The Emperor’s New Clothes“ to D. K. Popov, we also accept the theory that it has been made from the Russian. This is the language from which most of his translations were made.
Two tales of Andersen appeared five years later in vol. II of the „Hristomatija za izučavane slovesnostta“ (A Reader in Literature and Linguistics) compiled by Stefan Rostov and Dimităr Mišev. „Pig’s Tale“, an excerpt from the novel „I Sverrig“, appeared here for the third time (the name of the translator P. R. Slavejkov was indicated); for the first time appeared a translation of „The Nightingale“ (EK 23) but, unfortunately, we could not establish the identity of the translator. By comparison with other translations it is quite different and has not been made by any of the later translators of Andersen.
The translations in the two readers were followed in 1892 by a translation of „The Fir Tree“ (EK 26) appeared in No. 3, vol. 1 (1892) of the review „Izvor“ (Source) published in Ruse. The name of the translator was not indicated.
The first separate booklet with tales by Andersen appeared under the title „Istoričeski razkaz za părvobitnij Slavej i kitajskij imperator“ („The Nightingale“ – EK 23). Translated from the Russian by B. N. Balkanskij. Dobrič, Pečatnica Opit, 1893.
The translator is little known to the historians of Bulgarian literature. As indicated on the title page, he was a teacher. In the short preface he writes himself that „the present booklet is a first attempt at literary work but others may follow if it wins the reader’s benevolence and support.“ The translation is dated 26th January, 1893, at Dobrič.
Other tales by Andersen appeared during the same year in a number of magazines for children and adults, to wit: „The Story of a Mother“ (EK 47) in Izvor, translated from the Russian by Ivan S. Andrejčin; „The Little Match Girl“ (EK 37), „The Hardy Tin Soldier“ (EK 12), and „Kjaerestefolkene“ (EK 24) in „Detinska počivka“ (Children’s Recreation), a journal appearing in Silistra. Of them the translation of „The Story of a Mother“ (EK 47) appeared, along with „It’s Quite True“ (EK 58) and a Polish tale, in a separate booklet published in 1895 in Vraca. This is the second Bulgarian book with tales by Andersen.
At that time Ivan S. Andrejčin, then teacher in Vraca, appeared to be the most assiduous translator of Andersen’s works. To „Bălgarska sbirka“, a journal published in Plovdiv, he contributed a whole cycle, ,,Iz prikazkite na Andersena“ (From the tales of Andersen), 1895-1896. A collection of selected tales by Hans Christian Andersen appeared in 1896, again translated by Andrejčin. In a nice preface „About this book and its translation“ he explains his motives for translating the tales. „Only the immortal works of literature, perfect in form and contents and arousing the interest of readers throughout the world, are worth translating“, he stresses in the preface, „and Andersen’s tales are one of these works“. In warm words he gives a vivid picture of Andersen’s literary work and regrets „that the translation has not been made from the original but from Russian translations. Occasionally some French and German translations have been used, too. An effort has been made to render the spirit of the tales – in so far as the translator has been able to grasp it in critical reviews.“ The book contains also „A Biography of Andersen“ written by Andrejčin and based largely on Andersen’s autobiography „Mit livs eventyr“. A portrait of Andersen is given at the beginning, an engraving by Yan Dargent after the photograph of Hansen, Schou and Weller in 1869, and this is the first portrait of Andersen Bulgarian readers have seen. As the translator puts it in the preface, „the author’s portrait is just one of the things one should not overlook in editing a world-known work“. The collection contains 27 tales which „may give the reader some idea of all other tales that are not included here“. The general impression of the book is that it has been edited with the utmost of care. It shows an enviable editorial culture as well as the editor’s respect and affection for the author.
Ivan S. Andrejčin has prepared a still more voluminous collection under the title „Prikazkite ha Hans Kristijan Andersen“ (Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales) Sofia, 1908. He states in a note added to the contents that „The Goloshes of Fortune“ (EK 10) has been translated by Miss Milana Stojanova, the other tales have been translated by the editor“. The portrait of Andersen, his biography and the preface are the same as in the previous collection. New are the illustrations by Vilhelm Pedersen, Lorenz Frølich, and other Danish artists; they have been reprinted from various editions used by the translator.
Meanwhile a number of magazines have published individual tales by Andersen. The names of the translators are not indicated but there are often indications that the translation has been made from the Russian. At that time a Russian translation of the complete works of Andersen was received and circulated in Bulgaria under the title „Sobranie sočinenij Andersena v 4-h tomah“ translated from the Danish by A. and P. Hansen. (Sankt Petersburg, 1894-1895). Thus Bulgarian readers had an opportunity at the end of the past century of getting acquainted through the Russian language with the whole work of Andersen, not with his tales only. In spite of that, translations were following the old line and it was the tales that came first and foremost. As an exception some translations were made of certain stories taken from „Picture Book without Pictures“. In some cases periodicals published translations of Andersen’s tales without giving the names of the translators.
The booklets appearing during the first decade of the 20th century contained a couple of tales translated from the Russian. Much more were the translations in periodicals. They were made by some of the writers writing for children and young adults like Ran Bosilek, Angel Karalijčev, Asen Razcvetnikov, llija Venov, etc. Illustrators were well-known artists such as Vadim Lazarkevič, Nikolaj Rajnov, Georgi Atanasov, Evgenij Vaštenko, etc. Thus the well-known Bulgarian magazine „Kartinna galerija za deca i junoši“ (Picture-Gallery for Children and Young Adults) published from 1907 to 1921 a lot of Andersen’s tales richly illustrated by Bulgarian and foreign artists and translated from the German by Georgi Palašev and from the English and Russian by D. Mavrov.
During the twenty years following 1910, Delčo Mavrov has been the most active translator of Andersen’s tales in Bulgaria. His first booklet, an exquisite edition of „The Snow Queen“ (EK 27), richly illustrated, contained a portrait of Andersen, a print after the portrait of C. A. Jensen made in 1836, and bibliographical notes. A short note on the title page indicated that the translation was made from the English.
The third collection of tales appeared in 1911 under the title ,,Andersenovi vălšebni prikazki“ (Andersen’s Fairy-Tales) and was published in Haskovo. The translation was made from English and no longer from Russian. No translator was indicated. We have been able to identify him only after we have traced and compared the texts of all Bulgarian translations of Andersen’s works. The text of any single tale in this collection has proved to be identical with the texts of the tales of Andersen appeared in the series „Junošeska evtina biblioteka“ (The pennyworth library for young adults) and published by the Kazanlăško Dolina Publishing House. All of them were translated by D. Mavrov in 1931 from English and German. However, differences in the place (Haskovo and Sofia) and date of publication (1911 and 1931) made it pretty difficult to find out whether the translator has been one and the same person, and we had to make extensive inquiries into the life and work of Delčo Mavrov. In the national bibliography of Bulgaria D. Mavrov appears as the author of a few textbooks in natural history for the grammar schools and, in addition, as the translator of a considerable number of books by English and German authors. We have been able to trace his descendants and they have been kind enough to provide ample information on his life and literary activities. As it turned out, he has made his translations chiefly from English, but occasionally from German, too and in some cases this has been indicated in the books themselves. To compile the present bibliography it was necessary to state the original language of the translation. Tracing his activities of a translator of Andersen’s, his descendants showed us in his library a collection of Andersen’s tales in English – Fairy Tales and Stories, – on the pages of which he had made marginal notes. On the contents of the book he had also marked the tales he had already translated and underlined some words in the text giving the corresponding Bulgarian word on the margin. This same wording we find in his 26 books with translations of Andersen’s tales. In some of them his name was not indicated and had to be specially traced. Another fact to confirm that D. Mavrov made ample use of English editions of Andersen’s, is the fact that many of the editions are illustrated by the English artist Helen Straton.
Next to D. Mavrov, another prolific translator of Andersen in Bulgaria, was the well-known writer, Svetoslav Minkov. He made himself familiar with Andersen’s works by the end of the 20s and set translating the major ones. „At the moment Minkov had Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales open in front of him and his translating went quickly. We read together and wondered over the glorious realm of the old magician Andersen, who, smiling shook his wand and revealed to us adults the wisdom and poetry of his tales while to the little girl with her eyes bright with joy he displayed the magic world of flowers and birds, of dwarfs and fairies, of snow queens and mermaids, all life-like in her child’s imagination“, – this is what Maria Tomova, the writer’s wife, writes in her memoirs. While translating, Svetoslav Minkov made simultaneous use of Russian and German editions of Andersen’s works, collating them and making references for all more complicated cases. On his relatives’ information he kept on working in the same manner ever since he made the translation of „Andersen’s Tales in 12 Richly Illustrated Volumes“. (Vol. I. Sofia, Kniga, 1930) to the end of his life, always improving his large number of editions. The 12 volume edition planned to be published by „Kniga“ in 1930 was cancelled after the first volume came out, but it was taken over by „Hemus“ and published from 1931 to 1939 as a complete edition with the first volume reprinted. This edition makes a new stage in the popularity of Andersen’s tales in Bulgaria. It represents them in their completeness. All volumes are richly illustrated by the best Danish and other artists such as: Vilhelm Pedersen, Hans Tegner, Lorens Frølich, Oskar Pletsch, Theodor Hoseman, Ludwig Richter, Oscar Andersen, H. Altemura and others. The language of the translation is rich and free of foreign words. The first volume contains a preface by the translator with biographical notes on Andersen. The edition came out in 37.600 copies.
After World War II Svetoslav Minkov reedited the same „Andersen’s Tales“ in two-, three- and four-volume editions with additional corrections. He also published translations of single stories in separate books. Of all the 30 books of Andersen’s tales published in Bulgaria from 1945 to the end of 1974, only five have not been translated by Sv. Minkov. What is more, in one of the books, namely „The Ugly Duckling“ (Groznzoto Pate) (EK 25) (Sofia, 1948) O. Karahodurova stands for the name of the translator whereas the translation is identical with Minkov’s other translations, which comes to say that for certain reasons he has made use of a borrowed name. In most of his collections he admits that he had worked collating A. and P. Hansen’s Russian edition and H. Denhart’s German one. This is a significant fact of his unusual conscienciousness as a translator. He has made use of other German translations as well. In his daughter’s library were found the two volumes of „Sämtliche Märchen und Geschichten“ with ticks for his choice of the tales to be included in his three volumes edition.
Svetoslav Minkov was greatly influenced by Andersen. An outstanding Bulgarian satirist, he has also written a number of stories for children, which as well as his other works are often published both within the country and abroad. According to Simeon Soultanow, one of the investigators of Svetoslav Minkov’s works, „his stories had two sources: the ancient Oriental tales of Scheherazade of which he made a free translation, and Andersen’s tales. Judging by the allegory of the images, the manner of writing and the atmosphere we can draw the conclusion that in their greater part, Minkov’s stories to a certain extent have been suggested by the extraordinary magic visions of the great Danish writer.“
His last large size editions have been richly illustrated by the well-known Bulgarian artists Boris Angeloushev and Ljuben Zidarov. Boris Angeloushev’s black and white drawings are deeply expressive of that universal spirit and great humanity of Andersen’s works. Ljuben Zidarov felt more inclined to illustrate „Andersen’s Tales“ with sketches; though he has added some one page coloured pictures (I.ed. 1964-1965). Here, his heroes are Danes on a Scandinavian background. In the second two volume edition all the illustrations are rich in colour, given in decorative manner. These illustrations brought Ljuben Zidarov the awards of the Central Committee of Dimitrov’s Communist Youth Organization in Bulgaria at the Annual Emulation for the best illustrated book and the highest prize – a gold medal -at the Second International Book Exhibition in Leipzig in 1965.
The last 15 years in Bulgaria saw the large circulation of the quarto editions of the „Wild Swans“ (Divite Lebedi) and other stories and the „Snow Queen“ (Snežnata Carica) and other stories with illustrations by the eminent Italian artists Benvenuti and Maraia. Some of these editions, published by „Narodna Mladež“, publishing house, came out in Russian, Hungarian and other languages as joint editions of publishers of juvenile literature in other countries.
During the period beginning with the first appearance of a book by Andersen in Bulgaria in 1893 to the end of 1974, his works have been published in 113 books, 101 of them being tales in Bulgarian, 4 in Russian, 1 in Turkish and 2 in Hungarian, while 5 of the books contain dramatisations or libretos on topics of Andersen’s.
Stating the exact number of copies printed for the different editions of Andersen’s works in Bulgaria at different periods was a difficult problem for the reason that the Bulgarian National Bibliography has started marking the number of copies printed as early as 1929. For earlier periods up to 1900 and from 1901 to 1928, we had to accept the average number of copies printed of fictions published in Bulgaria. As a result of these calculations the total number of the run from 1893 to 1944 amounts to 290.000 copies printed in 71 volumes in Bulgarian at an average of 4.090 number of copies printed. After the war, under the new conditions of cultural progress in Bulgaria, the situation has greatly changed. From 1945 to 1974 inclusive, 30 books of Andersen’s tales in Bulgarian have been published in 1.091.130 number of copies printed at an average of 36.970 per volume and seven editions in foreign languages with a number of 302.190 copies printed and an average of 43.170 number of copies printed.
Altogether in Bulgaria are published 108 volumes of Andersen’s tales in Bulgarian and other languages in 1.683.620 copies, the average run being 11.670 number of copies printed.
Besides the books, more than 300 single works have been published in periodicals and collections, reprints of which in reading- or text-books being excluded. These statistical investigations furnish a number of very interesting data: Of Andersen’s tales greatest popularity enjoy the following ten: The Emperor’s New Clothes (28 publications), The Ugly Duckling (26), The Nightingale (24), The Little Match Girl (24), The Tinder Box (23), The Wild Swans (21), What the Old Man Does Is Always Right (21), The Hardy Tin Soldier (20). The numbers are indicative of the preferences of translators and publishers of Andersen in Bulgaria.
Andersen’s works belong to every stage of the cultural and economic development of the Bulgarian people since the time of the liberation of the country from Ottoman domination. Each of these 1.683.620 copies has passed from hand to hand and been read by millions of people in small Bulgaria. From early childhood every one has been fascinated by the great writer’s tales and remember his great wisdom.
The high estimation for the great Danish writer finds expression not only in the large number of his publications but also in the numerous articles, sketches and notes on his life and activity. Some of them were read in the prefaces of his books, others appear in periodicals and newspapers. As early as 1912 insertes in „Venec“ (Wreath), the juvenile magazin, in its section „Kniznina“ (Book News), we read the following comment:
„Once read Andersen’s Tales can never be forgotten. They exceed Granny’s in beauty, for Granny is incapable of making a fir tree think and feel like a living human being; she cannot make us shed tears over „the Nightingale“ and experience the love of the „Wild Swans“ . . . What a magician Andersen is! His tales sound with music of the forest, theirs is the heady fragrance of the lilac, they speak directly to one’s heart . . . that is why we understand them. They make us share the joys of the fir tree, the sorrows of the nightingale and the troubles of the little match girl – they make us see the sense of life . . . They have both beauty and sweetness. Once read, they are never forgotten, as one cannot forget the thrill of New Year’s Eve, the joys and sorrow one has lived through … We warmly recommend them to our young readers.“
Sixty years later, Zdrako Petrov, a contemporary literary critic will write in his book „Meetings with Young and Old“: A knowledgeable man disbelieves the existance of gnomes . . . Andersen will no longer make his appearance wrapped in the splendid cloak of an ancient magician, but as a sagacious poet to whom the deepest well of human heart had long been known. The old conjurer is no longer that entertaining story-teller, but a descerning and desirous poet, one’s loyal friend in life . . . He will take you by the hand and show you round to see what is good, pure, magnificent in his world and if you have managed to preserve your heart from hardening and corruption you will take his word … If you ever happen to feel that you are losing the sense of poetry … go back to Andersen. Then you will know that poetry with him is genuine and serene like the white wings of the swans, deep like the footless mermaid’s love, like lb and Christine’s devotion . . . Andersen’s tales are fascinating at any age of life. A young child enjoys their imagery, a wise head finds corroboration, a ripe man – truth, an adult – peace.“
Another Bulgarian literary critic and essayist, Efrem Karanfilov, wrote a profound criticism on the „Ugly Duckling“. Svetoslav Minkov made a study on Andersen from which, though sick and with a palliative under his tongue, he read some excerpts at the ceremonial meeting on the occasion of Andersen’s 150th anniversary.
The House of Children’s Art and Literature in Sofia published in 1965 a selected bibliography of Andersen’s works and theoretical studies on him appeared in Bulgaria. The bibliography was compiled by Vasil Aleksandrov. Ten years later in the jubilee year 1975, the same institution published a new bibliography of the books of Andersen appeared in Bulgaria. It was compiled by Elena Furnadžieva and was prefaced by Magdalena Baeva with extensive notes about the life and work of the great Danish writer. The Royal Library in Copenhagen and the Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia are preparing a joint edition representing a complete bibliography of all Bulgarian translations of Andersen’s works. At the moment this bibliography is in press.
During the last few years some excerpts of Andersen’s book ,,En Digters Bazar“ (Pazarut na edin poet) were published in which he tells of his travels through Greece, Constantinople, Dobruja and on the Danube. The writer had a most enjoyable time in Bulgaria but the uprising at that time against the Turkish domination prevented him to go deep into the country. Nevertheless he was delighted with the beauty of the Bulgarian landscape. His warm words are dear to every Bulgarian heart: „I wonder if one could see high over the horizon of the country of the Bulgarian summer clouds like those I have seen over the green plains of Denmark! . . . But for those snowcapped mountains in the background. And isn’t that the capital of Bavaria that we see now! Those are the Balkan ranges. The setting sun gilds the snow-covered peaks with bright sunshine. A wonderful mountainous country! Your splendour fills the heart with reverence! Farewell thee, country of the Bulgarians!“