Our Life Magazine (1901 - 1902; 1906 - 1907; 1911 - 1912), briefly named "Observer" (1910 - 1911), has been one of the major periodicals since the beginning of the last century. Like the temperament of its editor-in-chief, the magazine occupied a different position at the time. The publication does not stand firmly in any of the camps and circles that have emerged, it does not follow absolutely any artistic tendency and doctrine, and in its search for a special gap tries to create something new and succeeds to some extent.
The background to the idea and design of the magazine is scarce in fact, since Strashimirov's relatives want his archive to remain secret to the general public. Our Life (The Observer) is a monthly magazine for literature and criticism. It occurs in 1901 and goes out to 1912, though it has endured many interruptions during those eleven years. Its publication is a stage of the complex and rich biography of the writer-publicist - Anton Strashimirov. Only twenty-eight years old, when he conceived the publication, Strashimirov is already a well-known and sought-after author.
Striving for independence, he decided to start publishing a stand-alone magazine that brought together young authors, combating conventions in literature. Along with the "young" magazine does not pass without the participation of well-known names. We co-edit with the editor-in-chief Stoyan Mihaylovski, Kiril Hristov, Dimitar Strashimirov (Anton Strashimirov's brother), GP Stamatov, St. Runevsky. These basic names may be tentatively called the "literary circle" created around Strashimirov.
The cover of the magazine is artistically interesting for the time, though only in black and white. The spelling of the title and subheading are graphically shaped with different font size and thickness, black color tinting and specific ornamentation of the letters are observed. This type of layout is similar to the cover art of the Hyperion Magazines Ivan Radoslavov, Libra and Flame of Geo Milev etc. Of course, "Our Life" ("Observer") can be viewed as one pale stage.
Like the main title "Our Life", later "Observer", until the return of the new old "Our Life", so the title undergoes changes. The first subtitle is "Journal of Literature, Criticism, Theater", later changed to "Monthly Publications Literature" and the last two years (1911 - 1912) is "Monthly Literary Magazine". These seemingly minor changes summarize the ideas of the editorial board, and more specifically the perimeter of its trajectory. The line along which the magazine moves is drawn, and each subtitle is a new starting point. Initially, the publication was for literature, criticism and theater, but in the following issues, in a note from the editor-in-chief, the theatrical chronicle closed ("Due to the small volume of the magazine, the editorial board decided to abandon the keeping of the promised theatrical chronicle" - "Our Life", vol. 2, year. 1).
"Our Life" magazine by Anton Strashimirov
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Bulgarian readers have the opportunity to touch the luxury edition and read it in Bulgarian
The new subtitle, "Monthly Publications and Literature Magazine," already speaks of getting into historical and public issues that were in pain at the time. For example, from the 2 booklet, a permanent column on the Tribune has started to emerge, addressing a number of socio-political issues. Articles and works with a similar focus are starting to be published. Particularly important in this respect are the travelogues of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, which capture the author's trembling journalistic thrills. And so until the last two years, when Our Life (Observer) has absolutely shortened its reach and remained in the mainstream of literature and what is happening in it.
The variety of issues that the magazine covers and looks at, and later abandon or replace with new ones, actually illustrates the interests and concerns of the editor-in-chief and the subsequent disappointments that lead to the phrase: "I often saw myself in my country alien. " Through variations of title and subtitle, not only the structure of the magazine is shaded, but also the portraits of the man, the publicist and the creator - Anton Strashimirov.
As we said, the first book comes out from the St. Sofia "in November 1901, but still 1902" Our Life "unexpectedly stops. This interruption is explained by the fact that during the relevant year Anton Strashimirov was elected a deputy from Vidin, on the list of the Radical Democratic Party, which necessitated his transfer to the Democratic Review as head of the literary department.
In 1906, four years later, the magazine was renewed, but with a different concept. Contributors are no longer realist writers, but "new" or so-called. "Young" like Teodor Trayanov, Hristo Yasenov, Orphan Wanderer, Dimo Kyorchev, Trifon Kunev, young people publish on the pages as well Jordan Yovkov, Georgi Raychev, Konstantin Konstantinov, etc. The very idea of the editor-in-chief, Anton Strashimirov, about literature has changed. His stay in Switzerland gave him the opportunity to encounter the new trends that prevailed at that time and to acquire modern genre principles.
All this, along with the patiently prepared soil in Bulgaria from the Thought Circle and several other magazines, allow Strashimirov to take a leading position among his young associates. Despite its lofty goals and innovative directions, surviving only five years with major interruptions for various reasons, the magazine finally ceases in 1912. The wars split the associates, one part dies without being able to finish what was started, others take different social and political paths, and Editor-in-Chief Anton Strashimirov is passionate about new ideas.
Despite the interruptions and difficulties, the publication still manages to take its place in our literary periodicals. Through published works, critical articles, reviews, etc. he managed to build his own worldview of cultural life. The most important thing in the poetry department is the clearly defined and delineated border between the two main currents in poetry at that time - realism and modernism. During the first anniversary, realist authors like Kiril Hristov, Stoyan Mihailovski, Tsanko Tserkovski, etc., and after 1906 the border was drawn. Strashimirov transformed the magazine into a fortress of the "young" Teodor Trayanov, Hristo Yasenov, Borina, Todor Hristov, Trifon Kunev, Sirak Skitnik, and so he opposed it to the first, traditionally thinking, authors.
Interesting is the fiction department, which covers the works of a large group of writers with different ways of writing. While there is a conditionally connecting line in poetry, fiction lacks ideological-artistic unity. Notable works published during the first anniversary are the idylls of P. Yu. Todorov, works by G. Stamatov, legend of Ramadanbegovi sheds by Anton Strashimirov. At the same time, stories and essays of Tsanko Tserkovski, Dimitar Strashimirov's "Cholera", the unsigned short story "Close" and many others are published.
After Anton Strashimirov's breakup with some of the authors who participated in the first anniversary, new names began to appear on the pages. Georgi Raychev, Iliya Ivanov-Cherny started publishing. The stories "Starry Evening", "New Spring", "One Song", "Father", "Blue Crocuses", "Elka", "Rusalsk Night" by Yordan Yovkov also appeared. At that time Konstantin Konstantinov also published there, and in the last anniversary, the author with the pseudonym Anonymous appeared for the first time, behind which the author of the book Bogomil Legends (1912) - Nikolay Raynov.
In dramaturgy, things are relatively uniform. The dramaturgical works are mostly the work of Anton Strashimirov. On the pages of the magazine, he prints dramas, comedies, stage scenes, dramatic sketches, farces and the libretto “Eastern motif”. Here in 1906, the first publications of Mother-in-law appeared (Book 5, Year 2).
Critical articles, reviews and annotations on the appearance of new books occupy an important place in the structure of Our Life (Observer). They are predominantly negative and clearly illustrate the biases of the editorial board. The very first booklet opens with Anton Strashimirov's extensive article "Thinking About Our Home Fiction". Later, the article "Past Present (Thoughts and Notes in Life and Literature)", in which the state of literature is viewed through the prism of times, also appears. Articles are also published in which attempts are made to outline the main features of new literature.
As in every periodical, in Our Life (The Observer), there are many disputes between authors with different worldviews. An interesting example is between Dimitar Polyanov and Ivan Vazov about the authorship of the poem The Caravan or the involvement of Strashimirov in the dispute between Dimitar Blagoev's "Modern Times" magazine and Dr. Krastev's "Thought".
In the five years of its existence, Our Life (The Observer) has managed to capture many of the contradictory features of the early twentieth century. This is what puts Anton Strashimirov's magazine among the most important issues of the period.
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