Yovkov is not a humanist! - it has been claimed lately. But to talk about it "beyond good and evil", I personally find insufficient. Because Yovkov aims to introduce us to the world of human kindness. And he does it - with the help of Peter Mokanina, Seraphim, Lutskan… These are not beyond the good, but are his diverse expression. Yovkov's kindness inhabits pure human hearts, unsullied by malice, envy and selfishness. This kindness, I think, is difficult to grasp and teach by people with hearts tainted by malice, envy, and selfishness. So Yovkov sets requirements for us to read, realize and explain his work. It requires us to be moral in order to grasp its morality and pass it on. Because can an immoral person embrace a moral message? No. He will discredit him with his cynicism.
Job's morality should not be brought out of reasonable conversation about literature, no matter how boring it may seem to the contemporary, to listen to virtue and virtue (instead of interests). And this is what Yovkov constantly reminds us: Virtue and virtues exist! Look around! They are around us, in simple things and in ordinary people. Here, that scrawny guy on the bench outside, you see him - Seraphim. Nothing and no man, but when you listen to what he tells you and what he does, he is like an angel of a biblical parable.
"He found Seraphim sitting on the bench and as he did yesterday, he cut his bread with a jar and had breakfast. Enyu stood before him, looked at him for a long moment, then said,
"What did you do?"
- What have I done! I did nothing to anyone! Seraphim replied meekly.
"You gave Pauline money, the one who was here last night asking for money from me." I was in them now, she told me. How do you give money to someone you don't know? That he may lie to you may not return them.
"Ba, she'll give them back to me." Let her take her husband to the hospital, the doctors can help him. And my money will return it. To us, among us, do you know how it is - When the Lord is upon her and she is upon me. I'm not in a hurry.
Enyu bit his lip and paused.
- What about a coat? What will you buy a coat for? - he said.
- That I have a coat! I go it! Seraphim took his coat from the bench and unfolded it. It's my coat, it's okay…
He smiled and shook his head slightly as if he were counting the patch or remembering something. It's been ten or more years since she was about to buy a coat. "
Let's remember the story "On the wire" - about the white swallow and the sick girl. There is the memorable image of Peter Mokanina.
"Nonke, that chile saw the swallow," said the peasant, and looked at Mokanina. - Hey, it was in that village! Come on let's see her too!
"Shall we see her, Uncle?" The girl said, her eyes clear.
Something rose in Mokanin's chest, choked him, his eyes twinkled.
"You'll see her, child, you'll see her," he said loudly. "I saw her, you will see her." I saw her with my own eyes, white like that, white. You will see her too. May God let you see her, child, heal her… Oh, you are young. You will see her, I tell you that you will see her… and you will recover, child, do not be afraid!…
It is very important to emphasize Mokanina's words. Let's note: he is extremely excited by the sight of the sick girl: "something rose in her chest ши suffocated him, his eyes narrowed." child, you will see her! ”So, the first and most important thing in his message is hope. The gift of hope. That is why Yovkov puts this phrase in the first place. This thought expands at the end of Mokanina's words: “May God let you see her, child, may you heal her, you are young. You will see her, I tell you that you will see her… and you will be healed, child, do not be afraid!… Here is the point of Mokanina's "speech". The serious emphasis is on these two things: the bestowal of hope and blessing, not the lie told with excitement - that he himself had seen the swallow somewhere ("white one, white").
We get to the dreamy and wonderful Lutsk, the flower seller. This fan of beauty with such an innocent and pure soul, perished on the front. At the very end of the story, "Last Joy" is the most poignant scene, directed to the readers' imagination: "By chance, they passed by the body of Lutsk.
- Look at this one! The colonel continued. - Look at his face, see his outstretched arms. As if he could do it, he would fly against the enemy again.
The young lad listened as much as the esteem obliged him. He stared at this faded and lifeless face, noticing the second glance and that strange grace that had stood on him. He followed the gaze, followed the outstretched hand. His eyes met the white flower, slightly shaken by the wind. He stopped his horse and stared at the corpse once more. Poor man! He thought. "At the last minute he seemed to be trying to tear that flower away!"
Now back to the question of humanism. Humanism, as a trend in culture and literature, on the one hand, should not be confused with the kindness radiated by many of Yovkov's characters, on the other. Let it be clear that announcing the existence of human virtues and expressing this thing artistically in your work does not automatically make you a humanist. Humanity is not limited to humanism. There is religion, and in Platonism, and in any serious conversation about morality. These references are not accidental: "May God let you see her, child" ("On the wire") and "When God be with her and she with me." ("Seraphim") Nor is the name of Seraphim - one of the angels - of God. Svetlozar Igov makes an interesting analysis of Yovkov's story "Vulkadin talks to God", which has a lot in common with what has been said so far. In particular, through reflection on the image of Vulkadin.
"Isn't the old man Vulkadin a Balkan Job, does he not lead the image of Yovkov's hero and his unanswered questions to God, to the archetypal biblical image, which has long become a mysterious symbol of human rebellion against the ruthless God?" (…) God does not answer man's prayers.
Prayers are unanswered.
Both the Bible Book of Job, and the parable of Jordan Yovkov about a "Balkan" Job suggest that God answers human questions in silence.
But this silence means nothing.
This silence means that the answer to the questions that one expects from God is in his own responsibility.
Responsibility - for your love and hatred, for your actions and your idleness, your choice and your rejection. "
Yovkov does not condemn the evil, nor does it excel at the good, but makes a clear distinction between the two. His characters are hardworking, however, with a mellow appearance. Their appearance is deliberate to show that these things that happen to them are everywhere around us. This means that his characters are devoid of exoticism that serves as a reference to superhumanity and / or uniqueness.
They often compare the two greatest Bulgarian master storytellers, Elin Pelin and Yordan Yovkov. S. Igov very well grasped the differences between the two: “In this sense we can distinguish two types of writers. Some in which the whole is the result of spontaneously arising and ordered elements (works). And others, in which a preliminary complete idea determines the origin and arrangement of the individual elements (works). Elin Pelin and Yordan Yovkov are a clear example of these different literary attitudes in Bulgarian literature. In this respect, they are even antipodes. ()
Elin Pelin and Yovkov differ not only in the way the individual narrative is constructed, but also in the way in which the individual narratives are interconnected in larger epic spaces (cycles, books). In Elin Pelin, the stories exist for themselves. In Yordan Yovkov, in the vast majority of his work, stories exist to create a larger, unified, epic space.
John Crowe Ransom, one of the representatives of the American New Criticism, distinguishes between lyrical and prose structures in one place by a clever comparison. Lyrical work, in his opinion, is like a liberal state - the whole (creation) exists to secure the rights of the individual (the individual metaphors). The prosaic structure, on the other hand, is like a totalitarian state, in which the elements (individuals) exist to secure the existence of the whole. This difference could also be related to the way the individual works (stories) in the works of Elin Pelin and Yordan Yovkov function. In Elin Pelin the whole (book) seems to exist to secure the autonomy of the individual elements (stories). In Yovkov, in the overwhelming (and by far the most representative) part of his work, individual narratives exist to ensure the functioning of book cycles. And self-contained books (cycles) are linked together in an even greater epic space. "
In conclusion, the following statement can be made: “For Yovkov (() the higher ethics and spirituality are a manifestation not of the human, but of the divine in man. (…) What Yovkov wrote is a mystical message, a heavenly sign for the crisis-stricken and post-war Bulgarian spirit. ”(Violeta Ruseva)