The Exotic Other - Presence and use in the discourse of the Bulgarian 19th century

Inna Peleva.

The observation of the otherness is a self-understandable segment of the research of each type identity. No matter of the techniques for self-description used, whatever "substantial" immanent differences to point out, an "I" - or a given "we" - inevitably postulates the presence of limits, beyond which acts are non-own. In fact "the otherness" is always so insistently being "here" and "now" that "the same" can be thought as its derivative - namely the inscapableness of the living with "the otherness" alienates "me" from their invisibility of nature, non-reflexive datum, mould their cognitive signs, manage the making of language thorough with they become objective, cognizable.

The texts of Bulgarian 19th century are good illustration for the types of commitment between "Bulgarian" ("our") and "others". It seems like the writhing before 1878 is based mostly on images of "the Turk", "the Greek", and "the European" when it constellates (usually on the principle of antonym) the describing of Bulgarian. The inertia world add that this is natural and understandable - exactly "Turks" and "Greeks" are the most closed aliens. "The Europeans" on the other hand caused the distances in consideration of owns, its possibility to be tested and qualified thorough the good and the bad names of the Continent - "development", "civilization", "enlightenment", "humanity", 19th century", "corruption", "lie", "revolution", "freedom", "fashion" and so on. Beyond the inertia it must be underlined that the past century operates with a quite richer distinction repertoire from one discussed most often. In fact, the critical perusal of pre-liberation literature (occupied mostly with writing about "the neighbor", the "the enslaver", the Phanariot", the too ambiguous West) creates deformed images of its ideological composition. According to these images the vision of the radical nationalistic project seems almost filling up the whole cultural space of that time group living. To speak about the "others" (not about "the Greek", the Turk", "the French", 'the German"), thorough which the Bulgarian realized himself, will turn out to be the same as to describe practices for identity postulating. These practices are apart from the fundamental, confrontational postulating modeling of the world in which the difference is always inimically.

From 1835 till 1874 were published more than 45 world-description which build a word image quite different than the image (as we most often think) used before 1878. The textbooks were translated and namely this involved their Bulgarian consumer in a series of transformation into one another, corrected mutually, and sometimes-dissonant identification scripts to which this text is dedicated. The description of the exotic in geography textbooks and the press turn out to be an important presence in the discursive construction of Bulgarian identity (we should say Bulgarian identities) in 19th century. In the theatre of labile (in fact) affiliations exactly it motives sometimes knowledge for the lack of similarity between "us" and that of the "most distant", other times a bitter guess for coincidence between "ours" and "theirs". Without careful analyzing perusal of the various types of use of the exotic in the Bulgarian writings from the past century many of the self-representations aspects and the myth about the "pure ours" build on that time texts, would remain unseen.