Plamen Antov



    The study, in the first place, summarizes some of the main features of the historical novel genre, with a special emphasis on its connection with the national epic novel. But this is not an ultimate goal, is made in view of the discussion of Under the Yoke (1889/1894), the Bulgarian national epic novel – whether and to what extent it is a historical novel? – In the second, more important part, the research focuses on the synchronous reception of the novel through аn analysis of two detailed critical studies, appeared simultaneously in 1896, presenting the eyes of the “young” around the “Misal/Thought” magazine. The problem of whether the essence of the “nationality per se”, the “spirit” of national history and “destiny” can be understood “from outside”, by the foreign reader, the European man, is at the center of the discussion. The structural reflections of the opposition between Literature and History in the form of the antithesis Work–Author are also studied. Namely, how in the spirit of neo-Kantian aesthetics the figure of the author Vazov is divided into an artist who difuses in the Work (in the role of a “naïve” everyday life descriptor of the era) and a poet, bearer of its philosophical-historical meta-consciousness. It is the second of them that is to blame for the failure of Under the Yoke as a historical novel (of national-epic type): the author-Vazov did not understand the broad “spirit” of the Age and History: he has humiliated, parodied History by “translating” it into the language of literary fiction/lie: Literature seen as an involuntary (and therefore “serious”) parody of historical truth. On this basis, the study formulates a genre aporia (double bind), referring to another great work from/for the same era – “Notes on the Bulgarian Uprisings”: historicity in the historical novel is possible only as an “object of desire”.