Emotional uses of the past The National Revival Period as Golden Age

Anna Alexieva.

The paper is focused on the mythologeme “The Golden Age” and its representations in the National Revival Period. It can be found in the official discourse and particularly in the popular consciousness, regarded as epoch of dignity and selflessness, which is almost always articulated under the sing of the emotional-pathetic tone.

Until The Liberation (3. 03. 1878) this mythologeme is used to signify the period of the Middle Ages, marked with symbolical images of “glorious kings”, “dignified patriarchs”, heroic battles and independent Bulgarian state. The sanctification of the past could be viewed as a function of the unsatisfactory of the present times’ life.

After The Liberation from Ottoman rule, the time of National Revival became more and more recognized as “The Golden Age”, as “the most Bulgarian time”, covered with the aureole of heroism, patriotism and the ethics – traumatically sought, but unsuccessfully found by a whole list of authors in their actual reality. No matter that at the same time National Revival is inscribed in the semantic range of the “time of slavery” in the same discourses as well.

During the socialist regime, National Revival time is also regarded as “Golden Era”. Its heroes are mythologized and placed in the pantheon of unforgettable death people, sharing a row with inevitably present communist authors. They are glorified in the same pattern, produced the memorable socialist heroes from their National Revival precursors. A period, essentially related with the idea of the cultural prestige of the society, estimated higher than the present time, because it bears the traces of the shared values and spiritual greatness of the predecessors. That’s why the past times are regarded as a pattern in moral and social aspect as well.

After the fall of the state socialism and the collapse of the totalitarian regime in Bulgaria (10. 11. 1989), two main tendencies can be traced. From one side, the mass consciousness maintains the mythologeme “The Golden Age”. A considerable part of the academic community insists on its high, idealized status as well. But, alternative voices are present too. There are efforts to deconstruct the myth and to desacralize it.