The conference, entitled "Worlds and Utopias," is organized by the Institute of Literature at BAS. It took place within two days, 13 and 14 November 2018, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski ".
Two exhibitions accompanied the Science Forum. Visitors to the University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski “had the opportunity to get acquainted with and view a number of curious archival documents kept by the Institute. These include the student's book, the poet's drafts, the first editions of his books. In the second, archival materials and objects from the fund of the Hristo Smirnenski Museum House found a place in the Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum, Sofia.
It is time to note that, at the beginning of the conference, Atanas Kapralov, director of the National Literary Museum, announced that renovation was underway at the Hristo Smirnenski Museum and that it would open doors for visitors again in 2019.
During the forum literary critics and scholars from the Institute, from Sofia, Plovdiv, New Bulgarian, Shoumen, Veliko Turnovo University, NATFA and the University of Library and Information Technology, teachers from the capital presented their contemporary readings of familiar and unknown, artistic and non-fiction texts of the classics. New approaches to his work sparked lively and lengthy discussions. A number of key issues related to the works, to the artist Smirnenski, to his memory, to the context in which he was creating were addressed. There is debate about the literary heritage and its fate, about the functions of national initiatives.
Prof. Michael Nedelchev opened the conference with a plenary, program report. The theses of the literary historian on the curious and extensive theme "Hristo Smirnensky in the Fields of Symbolisms and Ideologies" suggest that neither the ideological nor the symbolic of the artist should be circumvented, but rather rethought according to their specific features.
Beauty, illness, suffering, despair, hope and love as the focal points and as ideological-thematic nuclei in Vedbal's works, as the poet himself sometimes signed, have been examined precisely in several separate reports, respectively, Irene Alexandrova, Mariana Mineva, Jordan Eftimov Morris Fadel, Tatiana Ichevska, Vera Hincheva.
They were also absent in depth, groundbreaking interpretations of specific texts. Svetlana Stoycheva (as well as Mariana Mineva) interpreted the canonical cycle "Winter evenings", and Marin Bodakov quite rightly reminded us of the famous "From the diary of a reporter" feuilleton. Maria Ogoyska offered a precise analysis of the immortal work, The Tale of the Ladder, in view of the strong biblical-religious symbolism in it.
The intertextual deployments were also indicative. Dechka Chavdarova revealed, interpreted and clarified the dialogue between Hristo Smirnenski and the Russian symbolist Alexander Blok, while Krassimira Katsarska presented the closeness and differences between the Bulgarian poet and Jiri Volker. The place of the celebrated artist has emerged in Europe, worldwide.
There are also a number of texts that partly corresponded with each other. Cleo Protohristova and Wenceslas Scholze, for example, focused on the ideological and the revolutionary in the poet's lyrical works, while Yordan Nanchev focused on symbols and critical fragments. Maya Gorcheva carefully followed the path of the artistic texts to the book as a cultural fact. Peter Velchev revised the poet's poem, and the texts of Vladimir Yanev and Katya Zografova paid particular attention to the humorous, parody and satirical of Smirnenski. Zografova also introduced us to her idea of a cultural complex in which the Hristo Smirnenski Museum House will be renovated. Julian Zhiliev re-read the criticism of the creator of the 20-ies of the XX century, while the focus on Violeta Ruseva fell on the literary-historical personality. Alexander Hristov stared at the rarely-seen prose poems.
At the end of the fertile and fruitful conference, Lyudmila Malinova announced that Smirnenski's books had been included in the lists of forbidden readings before 1944. Therefore, she is judging by an unknown document found by her so far.
The forum is over wishing for more critical thinking, for a new edition of the multifaceted heritage of Hristo Izmirliev, known today under the pseudonym Smirnenski. The different approaches, ideas, intersections, oppositions managed to create a broader, more complete and modern vision for the creator, for his achievements.