I grew up with the works of Stephen King. As a child, I waited anxiously for the appearance of each of his books: "It", "Kudzho", "Pet Cemetery", "Tomichukala" ... Stephen King's "Horror" was a sensation among my generation - the children of the 90 years.
At the university I was surprised to learn that in Bulgaria, long before Stephen King, Bulgarian artists created their own "horror works". Already in the 20 years of the XX century a small group of our writers tried to make their literary breakthrough in this way. These writers are called "diabolists" (from "diable"). Diabolism is not widespread in Bulgaria, so today it is known mainly among the specialists in Bulgarian literature. There have been some sporadic attempts to promote it, the last of which is the publication of a collection of selected works by Bulgarian diabolists, entitled "The Devil."
Here are the conditions for the emergence of Bulgarian diabolical fiction in the 20's of the XX century. Unexpectedly, life takes on a tragic hue. With the end of the wars, national ideals collapsed. Geo Milev invades, who loudly asks, "Wonderful, but what is the Fatherland?" Categorical denial of the boundaries and order that Fatherland and God command. It is time for a parade of Evil and Fear. Again, Geo will anticipate, but he will also wish: “We want to see barbarians, bullies, pechenegs today - with a flame in our eyes and with iron teeth. Barbarians, a new race. "
The new thing that lies ahead of Bulgarian literature and Bulgarian readers in the early 20's of the XX century, immediately after the wars, is the aestheticization of the Terrible and the Terrible. With this daunting task, young artists, educated abroad, acquainted with Western fashion trends and decided to adapt them to the Bulgarian environment - these are the Bulgarian diabolists. Among these young and intelligent Bulgarians stands prominent writer Vladimir Polyanov.
We will say more about it because along with Svetoslav Minkov, he is the ancestor of Bulgarian fiction and the horror genre in our literary tradition. As far as qualities go, Vladimir Polyanov and the luminaries company Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe or Dean Kunz - all of them, however, all work in the same literary genre. That is why it is advisable for fans of “horror” in Bulgaria to read something created on home soil and to be interested in the Bulgarian “masters of horror”.
The writer Vladimir Polyanov was born in Rousse on May 6 on May 1899. Interestingly, he gets two names - Georgi-Vladimir. George calls him because he was born on St. George's Day, but his godfather insists on his name being Vladimir, so for a while the future writer bears both names. In 1905, his family moved from Ruse to Sofia. After the Balkan War, his father and mother divorced, and in 1918 his father died.
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During the First World War, the future writer was at the Military School. There he meets with Hristo Smirnenskiwho is an infantry junkie. Vladimir Polyanov made his debut in The Power magazine in 1918 while still at the Military School. Signed first with "D. Polyanov "and then as" Vladimir G. Polyanov ". After two semesters of philosophy in Sofia, then, in 1920, he went to study in Graz, Austria. He has written several stories before. His main expression in his first creative years was his participation in the collection Aquarius, which was published on the occasion of the Vaz anniversary.
Vladimir Polyanov studies in Bulgaria, Austria, Germany and Poland in the most diverse fields: medicine, philology, philosophy, theatrical art and diplomacy. On this occasion he says: "I've taken a little bit from everywhere, but it's all unorganized and spontaneous. "
Regarding his diabolic stories, V. Polyanov says: “Personally, I am of the generation that has survived wars, pogroms, poverty, hunger, disappointments for the victims in vain. A generation that is boiling in anger and thirst for revenge against the perpetrators of the great evils and the fire for transformation, for the transition from one world to another. As for diabolism, I cannot say specifically what directed me to it. "
Polyanov considers his stories to be purely psychological, related to his personal experiences, feelings and moods. This is indeed the case - psychology is leading in the clarification of images, but it is a unifying element. For example, a disembodied creature comes and takes the dying protagonist beyond (the story of Death), the protagonist briefly living a foreign life - the painted in his apartment criminal (narrated by Erich Reiter), etc.
There is something remarkable about Vladimir Polyanov that makes him a high-class writer and to which the criticism has not yet received enough attention. After stopping writing diabolic fiction, he turns to realistic works. His most successful one is the novel "The Sun's Off". And in the field of realism V. Polyanov remains a writer depicting the awful in our lives - he is still the same "master of horror". The "Extinguished Sun" is a metaphor for the Bulgarian hopes for a better life after the wars and the Ninth War (9 June 1923).
The following sad findings are present in the novel.
"In this country, the honest are not allowed to live."
"In this country, all people are crazy and blind, who are thrown into the darkness and exterminated. A sunbeam does not penetrate anywhere. There is no sunshine in this country. The sun is gone! I've been in existence for thirty years. For as long as I can remember, I don't know a peaceful day. Only wars, coups, again wars, massacres, revolutions, gallows. It's dark in this country. Tell me where in the world this is! Yes, Mexico, Albania. But I refuse to live in such a country. Life is so good, and what do we do during the greatest flowering of culture? No, I'm leaving. "
"Lord, truly your sun has gone out over this country!"
"There was not a single sunny day in this country. In politics, disputes were settled through murder. In the fight for something better, the brightest personalities were killed and monsters grew over their corpses. Talents were chased away or malicious. In this country the best flower was the thorn, and the reward for the most virtuous aspirations was the crown of it. The underclassmen respected and settled their lives, while the honest died from poverty. "
The writer Vladimir Polyanov deserves the place of "lord of horror" in Bulgarian literature. He treats the subject of the horrible in our lives not only through his diabolical works, but later, through the pages of his realistic novels. In diabolism, the suggestions are based on fantastic elements, while in "The Sun is Extinct" - on the nightmarish post-war reality in Bulgaria. It remains to be hoped that his works will become available to a wider range of native readers.
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