we're talking to Emilia Dvorianova

Emilia Dvorianova is one of the best contemporary Bulgarian writers. There are numerous literary awards, including "Novel of the Year - 2015" by "13 Century Bulgaria" for "At the entrance to the sea", Hristo G. Danov National Prize for Literature, Ministry of Culture, etc. He teaches Creative writing at New Bulgarian University.


You are defending a dissertation in philosophy - "The Aesthetic Essence of Christianity". You have obviously been tempted by a scientific career in philosophy. What are your favorite philosophers today and why? What philosophy would you recommend to your readers?


It happened by accident. I never thought of myself as a "philosopher". I decided to study philosophy because it was interesting to me and at this tender age I came to the conclusion that it is very appropriate for a writer. Somehow I knew I was a writer, "mystically" convinced. I was interested in Christianity, I chose a thesis topic, it became more than good and I was offered to continue. I hesitated for a long time, precisely because I was not tempted in such a career. But I decided, I wrote my dissertation - not for the sake of my career, but to continue working on the subject. To this day, I read much more philosophy and theology than literature. I have a favorite philosopher I have not parted with since she appeared in Bulgarian - Soren Kirkegor. It seems to me that I can read it endlessly. He is a Christian philosopher and esthete. But people who read philosophy do not need to be advised by philosophers, they choose their own.


What is going on in your life to refocus on literature? I suppose it was not easy to assert the beauty of Christianity in front of the scientific atheism that prevailed in our country…


I was 16 years old when I found out I was a writer. How? Why? I have no idea! Nothing special had happened except what was happening inside the person. But it was really a reorientation because I graduated from the High School of Music. I was a good pianist, I had invested a lot in the piano. However, literature won, and music, as well as philosophy, remained the great love of my life. As for my dissertation, this is a very long account of the twists and turns of interest in my doctoral studies. Of course, it was not easy, but from today's point of view it is just plain fun. But I defended through 1991 much later and after the end of communism.

At the entrance to the sea

Emilia Dvoryanova

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Recently, Professor Mihail Nedelchev dedicates a literary portrait entitled "The Novelist". There he pays particular attention to the seven novels you have published so far and calls you a "novelist in the full sense of the word". Will it be pleasant for you to remain in the history of Bulgarian literature mainly as a novelist?


I just think in that form. At 16, I wrote my first novel. At puberty, people usually write verses, I just grabbed this "big bull" by the horns. I had to prove to myself that I was not in the grip of illusions, to confirm the imaginary idea of ​​myself in reality. Today I teach creative writing and often young people come to me who want to be writers. I ask them: And what did you write? They usually give me a few-page story, convinced that this is enough. Aren't they going to write yet? The desire is enough to make the dream a reality… But it is not! Everyone can dream, wish… but the verification in reality is a complex procedure and in it a "virtual world", where everyone is what he imagined, does not exist.


Is your scholarly work "The Aesthetic Essence of Christianity" a theory or program that you then transform and develop in your novels?


If you are a believer, you have no place to hide God. But for me, the books I write are neither "program" nor "project". They are a meeting. They can't depend on me alone.

Can you talk about two periods in your creative development - before your passion for feminism and after? Are your novels subject to such periodization? You say that from the position of an Orthodox Christian today you see in your feminism your former short-sightedness…


I do not know. These "periodizations" are made by critics, literary critics. For me, everything is written way. This time I went through different interests, curiosities, but mostly important existential nourishment. Every novel of mine is a search for an answer to a question that stood out to me as painfully important. The trouble is, novels never answer, and they themselves are a big question. That's why the road just doesn't end.


Feminism was indeed such a question, at a time when it was still holding on to the realities of life. I was called "elemental feminist" when I wrote "Passion or Alice's Death." This is symptomatic. I never became an "ideological feminist", and feminism is just that - ideology. Ideologies kill literature. At one point I became uninterested. Feminism is not the answer to anything, ideologies are not the answer to life. I passed it. When I come to today's over-ideologization and replacement of my authentic meaning, I already find it harmful. 

You write that "the book comes and with this very arrival the writer goes to meet her, meeting her as if outside, outside herself, intercepting her ...". How Do Future Writers' Creative Writing Courses Help Meet Their Book? Have you ever felt that you are nourishing someone's graphomania? How do you handle it?


Today, there is almost no young writer who does not attend such courses. They have become part of the literary business. They obviously need them in the context of modern life. It is more and more difficult for a person to walk the road alone or simply with heartfelt friends. Group forms are today's forms of communication. They do not raise the issue of graphomania because people have to be kind. Perhaps this is also the reason why in the last 10-15 years I have not come across a book that surprises me ?!


You claim that only Dostoevsky's religious subjects do not annoy you. But aren't your novels Christian in the first place, namely that the Gospel is the key to understanding them? I ask because they usually read you through feminism, existentialism, Freudianism, postmodernism, etc. And you profess to be an Orthodox Christian. How do you want to be recognized today?


There are no "religious subjects" in my novels. I would not decide! I lack such self-assurance, and why to tell such loaded, meaningful stories is always some form of "replacement". However, Dostoevsky also has no "religious subjects" - they are always "indirect". I don't think of "telling" the gospel anywhere in the way that Jose Saramagu or Nikos Kazanzakis does. This does not mean, however, that the deepest foundation of at least my last books, At the Entrance of the Sea and Peace to You, is not faith. I hardly find it worthwhile to write about something else.


I love the thought of Nicholas Gomez-Davila, though I would say it in quite a different way: "Every purpose other than God disgraces us." I would say: When you love God, all other questions become insignificant. And how they will recognize me is not up to me. I try to completely abstract myself from such "desires". Reading depends on the optics of the time, and everyone has the right to read one text as they need it. Of course, if one does not have the capacity to recognize important layers in one work, then the reading is rather limited and superficial. Against this, the author has nothing to do.


You say that your favorite writer is FM Dostoevsky and you do not get tired of reading it. In his novel "The Karamazov Brothers," the middle brother, Ivan Fyodorovich, is characterized by the fact that he speaks cleverly about Christianity and writes good theological articles, but is crucified internally between his faith and his unbelief. Is this the attitude of the dispossessed of the Church, one who views his knowledge of Christianity as fashion and philosophy rather than Revelation? Have you ever caught yourself creatively flirting with your knowledge of the Christian faith?


Knowledge of Christianity is a useful thing, it is a culture. They are terribly absent from today's man, and he is therefore largely "uncultured". People are less and less able to read older art and literature, precisely because of a lack of such knowledge. Recently, I am horrified that it is becoming increasingly difficult to talk to my students on topics other than "everyday". I do not say 'topical' because they are not particularly interested in politics. And the "Karamazov question" is completely atypical for the modern man, beyond his horizons. It is called "indifference" to such existential themes.


But knowledge has little to do with faith. Could it be speculated? I don't know, but I don't. This is "self-defense" knowledge. If one is not sincere, they simply "deny access" to themselves. I'm convinced of that. "Hide from the wise, and reveal to the infants and the foolish." And why should one delve into and speculate on something that does not bring him "prestige"? Which isn't cool? The believer today is a good smile, a bad joke. Especially if he's a Christian.


In your essay, Why I Don't Write Mass Literature, you explain that you do not like this literature because "it simply minimizes the world as a world, constantly minimizing itself, powerlessly ridiculed, or just as powerfully dented." In the end, you give an interesting quote to illustrate your thoughts: “One cannot forbid one man to make a large wax doll and kiss it. But if this man with the doll comes and sits with someone in love and starts caressing his doll, as the lover caresses the one he loves, the lover will be unpleasant. "


Then what would you say about wax doll lovers trying to convince everyone that they are in love with real people? Are there more writers who pretend to be creators of real Literature? Are there any in our country and by what to know them?


I don't know if I would write this article today, it's from the 90 years. Not that I give it up, it seems to me that the words in it are fair. But today I am "more gracious." People are conquered by the simulacrum world. There is no way out. And in this world, what is "true" literature? Do you need it? Who can access in this fast-paced time the slow reading she requires? If I go back to the metaphor I used then, which, by the way, is from Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, today both lover and beloved are wax dolls. Such a world only needs mercy.

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