The writer Vasil Popov (1930 - 1980) was born in the village of Mindya, Veliko Turnovo. He graduated from high school in Sofia, followed a few semesters of law in absentia, but remained without a university degree. According to many representatives of the literary criticism in our country, this great artist did not receive due attention in his lifetime. It is our duty to (re) discover and read it today. Because one day he will be studying at school as one of the classics of Bulgarian literature. Next to Emilian Stanev, Jordan Radichkov, Nikolai Haitov, Ivaylo Petrov…

We need to know about Vasil Popov that he is a native talent. He was not cooked, and he did not prepare himself exactly to write books. He said: “For twenty-five years, I went to construction work, mines, met, made friends with drillers, installers, bricklayers, miners, purchasers, locksmiths, pumpers and all kinds of people. I also have a few well-known gingerbread men and friends, and I knew a lot about their fate, their lives, their jobs. I slept in their booths, went into their jobs, worked for a while in a mine. I have lived by construction - Panagyurishte mines, Gorubso, Batashki water-power road, Devnya, at different times. ”And since things happen to him a little, very casually, he is inclined to go to extremes. Either or. Either a writer or a miner. Or a companion with writers and artists, or a companion with bricklayers and reinforcers.

Vasil Popov scandals his behavior, both in his personal life and in his work. He marries several times. He likes to go to the pubs late and write when he gets home. Marin Georgiev recalls: "Something was frightening and dangerous was radiating from Vassil. His voice outnumbered the other voices, and it seemed always to you. It seemed gloomy and threatening to me - at that time I was only eagerly watching and listening. There were legends about Vassil. For his power of rudeness (with one stroke he broke a marble table); about his unceremoniousness with women (our eternal companions - an occasion for quarrels and heartwarming), and there were just a few on his table. Here he was pouting, angry and angry, something tense and confidential, telling them something, hugging them with a heavy hairy paw, sticking his head, mouth to ear or face to face. At that time, drinking for him was still a holiday, a festive end to his hard day's work, which usually ended at the bar. Vasil Popov is a real bohemian. He likes to spend his free time having a cup in a noisy company. He is one of the most famous and greatest conquerors of women's hearts among the socialist highlife of Bulgaria.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes a dedication to his Bulgarian translator - the young Rumen Stoyanov (far right), in the company of writer Vasil Popov

From left to right: Seraphim Severnyak, Nikola Indzhov, Cuban poet Nicholas Gilen and Vasil Popov

Vassil Popov is especially keen on his belonging to the contemporary, at all costs he strives to be fashionable, to keep up with the fashion. This is the key to reading his fiction. It is modern, purposefully modern and born of what is written both in the west and in the east. In an interview, he shares:

"For me, modernity is a pain for the modern man, the suffering and purification of his spiritual ups and downs through art. And will we replace "history" with "modernity"? I think we should replace indifference with participation, belonging. "

I will mention a little more about his description of modernity in the novel "The Time of the Hero" (1968). However, the contemporary described, I would say, is a cosmopolitan. Disfigured. Resident of the big city (no matter who). And with bourgeois thinking. This is very important to realize! According to Nicholas Gomez-Davila's definition: "The bourgeois is everyone who is dissatisfied with what is and is happy with what is." These are exactly the characters of "The Time of the Hero." The modern inhabitants of the modern city. This city may be Sofia from the 60, but it could be Paris or London - why not!
V. Popov writes about this work: “The novel seeks to reflect the great social transformations in the spirituality of the modern man. (…) The novel is a chronicle of spiritual conflicts, a reassessment of the concepts of love, honor, dignity, friendship. The characters want to see themselves real, to truly understand and to know themselves - both themselves and their time, the time of change. ”Vasil Popov is brilliantly managing his goals.

The great social transformations after the end of World War II have caused urbanization throughout Europe. Villages are being abandoned in large numbers and cities are becoming larger and larger. An urban culture is created that bears specific signs. For this urban culture and its representatives in an exceptional way for Bulgaria, V. Popov writes in "The Time of the Hero." The contemporary spirit is exposed to the reader.
True, many people would not like such suggestions. That is exactly what V. Popov is attacking and they have the power to censor him. For about a decade, his novel is doomed to oblivion. The official opinion of the critics in Bulgaria is that the book is obviously “borrowing from other people's recipes, transferring other people's problems, images and pictorial techniques into our reality. And this “grafting” is so badly done, so obviously shackled, that I do not believe it will remain hidden even for the most superficial reader. (…) The 'intellectual' form, this time too, plays a bad joke on its author, sounds like a parody or a bad translation, and at the same time reveals a marvelous intellectual scarcity. "

It is clear that criticism of that time would not endorse this kind of suggestion about the "socialist" person. Because in the novel "there is no morality at all," and the three main characters are "three contemporary essays, ordinary users in the most primitive sense of the word." It is not clear, however, that Vassil Popov actually describes the bourgeois thinking of the individual, which characterize them these are the disadvantages. And it, this thinking, can "grow" everywhere. The critic seems to think of it anyway, writing: "You will say: are there no such people? No dispute: they exist. "

So I highly recommend Reading Hero Time! With the help of this novel, it will be seen that during the 60s Bulgaria did not intellectually live "on its own" (inside the socialist bloc) and alone in the world, isolated from the world fashion trends. On the contrary!
Here are some quotes from the novel that confirm it. Inside, the problems of both art and alienation are treated. Alienation is a philosophical problem that has become particularly popular in the cultural world since World War II. It was this alienation that led the modern man to all possible and known mental anguish.

"First, historically we need a clear and illustrated, popular - he emphasized this word - art, aesthetic we are in the period of early consumption of aesthetic goods and they should be like tasks, our way of life - clearly clear, simple and capable. for consumption by the masses. We need to educate huge masses of people in such art. And, thirdly, politically, we do not need copyright, because authorship always casts doubt on the objective reality, and we are now facing a very old and stable, still very strong world to afford the luxury of doubt. Are you happy?
"You were born a politician," Maria said.
"Do these three women live for someone, or is this today's era, that everyone should live for themselves."
"Calud stood right on the shore (...) and thought (...) no values ​​could be created at such a time."
"Previously, horror was sought out of personality, now man turns to himself, to his own horror.
(…) This is my horror, because modern art will no longer tell, it wants to capture what it is now. Do you understand now? It catches the moment, saturates it with everything that was or could be in the future, without lesson, without plot, without story. This can only be done by the individual in his loneliness, in his isolation, or in his alienation if you will. "

Many insightful words about Vasil Popov find S. Igov (back in the 80s): "Vasil Popov tried to overcome the descriptive, naive optimism and thematic schemes of the literature at that time, to introduce philosophical subtext into prose, to study life in frontier situations, to reveal deeper and tragic layers of human spirituality. Some of his narrative experiments shocked traditional thinking at the time and, by chance, his works led to lively discussions and violent attacks. "And most importantly, Vasil Popov" entered our literature with a thirst for modernization. "

A very laudable but ambitious affair, which certainly provokes ridicule in the more conservative spirits. However, this Hemingway from the village of Mindya (as he calls it not without irony Emilian Stanev) succeeds. He gets out of the mine, throws the pick and engages in culture. As he modernizes himself (learning stubbornly Spanish and English), while scandalizing - he creates. The dispute and scandal are part of the essence of Vasil Popov. One of his favorite thoughts belongs to Elijah Beshkov (a highly respected artist): "Art does not deny or affirm, it denies and affirms at the same time." .

Vassil Popov (in his interview): “Recently I tried to explain to a loved one that the writer lives a thousand lives, not to mystify our profession, but because he really is: prototypes and heroes, images of living and dead people are constantly pass through the crossroads of the writer's heart. And what will remain in our word will be judged by our readers and… time. ”With his creative work, he really managed to secure at least a thousand lives.
Wise his thought, which makes him one of his favorite children of his time (we realize him late), on "Generation 68". To me, it is a sign that the book "The Time of the Hero" is appearing just 1968.

"He who has no historical consciousness, he also has no political consciousness."

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