Bibliography of the Bulgarian Revival Books (1801-1878)


The project aims to digitize the repertoire of the Bulgarian Revival print literature within the period from 1801 to 1878. The fundamental nature of the research has been shaped by the fact that the existing print versions of bibliographic massif differ structurally, quantitatively and in content; they do not lend themselves to a quick and truthful analytical processing of the bibliographic information. The creation of an Information Retrieval System (IRS) that contains bibliographic information on the Bulgarian books published from the beginning of the 19th Century till the Liberation of Bulgaria (1878), will significantly impact the modernization and the accelerated development of scientific research in the field of the Bulgarian common, cultural, literary, and language history. A serious positive effect this product will have on the research in the sphere of Bulgarian Book Studies, bibliography and Library Studies.

The aim of the current e-repertoire hasn’t changed compared to the tasks set in the latest massive bibliographic research of the Bulgarian Revival Literature conducted by Dr. Manyo Stoyanov:

The task of this Repertoire is the complete and holistic description of the Bulgarian print Revival literature in view of its research and use. The implementation of this task depends on two things: 1) on the specification of the scope of the Bulgarian Revival literature and 2) on its availability and accessibility” (Стоянов, I, 1957, с. VIII).

The evolution of the information environment, the development of the book history science and the research in the field of Revival history and bibliography over the past six decades, require the creation of a new information product – e-bibliography of the Bulgarian Revival literature. The new online reference database reflects the changes in the technical means for presenting bibliographic information and rethinks the historical, political and cultural foundations on the scope of our print book from the beginning of the 19th Century until the Liberation of Bulgaria.

The Information Environment

With the development of information technologies, print bibliographic reference books (PBRB) no longer meet users’ modern information needs. Their use, due to their physical volume and content structure, is difficult and time-consuming. At the same time, the absence of a unified e-cataloging system in Bulgaria and the lack of consolidated e-catalogs with a sufficient number of participants necessitates the development of a special e-bibliographic reference book. The e-repertoire “Bibliography of the Bulgarian Revival Literature (1801-1878)”, referred to as “Book Writing Chronology”, provides free online access to bibliographic and bibliometric information that can be filtered and sorted in real time according to the individual needs of scientific workers, librarians and lay people interested in the period. In addition, Knigopis can help plan research and library activities because it can easily reveal all the characteristics of a literary production. For example - books described only in a bibliographic way, titles with disputed copyright, editions that do not yet have digital copies, etc. In addition to reducing the analytical capacity of bibliographic references, the two-dimensional aspect of the printed page creates limits to the number of characters included, which explains the large number of abbreviations in the bibliographic description. The e-bibliography has no limits in the volume of the published texts and therefore the number of abbreviations used in the current repertoire is minimal.

Completeness and Bibliographic Precision of E-repertoire

Errors, inaccuracies and omissions in print bibliographic references may not be corrected until the next edition or until the publication of a special volume with additions and corrections. The current e-bibliography makes inquiries to a database, which, when an error or omission is detected, can be edited by an administrator at the user’s signal via buttons such as “Report an error”, “Add book”, “Submit title”. This creates a long-term perspective on the total completion and clearing of errors of the Bulgarian Revival bibliography. In connection with this technical possibility, I urge researchers and librarians to report newly discovered books or errors by using the appropriate buttons.

Scope of E-repertoire

Extremely important for each repertoire is the question of its scope, which is based on a set of formal criteria for inclusion and/or exclusion of certain bibliographic items. The chronological scope of Dr. Stoyanov’s repertoire chooses as its starting point the work called “Nedelnik” by Sofroniy Vrachanski from 1806 and as an end point the end of 1878. Within this period fall:

1) all books and periodicals written and edited in Bulgarian (regardless of the alphabet) by Bulgarians or foreigners, 2) all books and periodicals (or only parts of them), written and edited by Bulgarians in foreign languages, and 3) those of the books written in Bulgarian and at the same time in another language (by Bulgarians or foreigners), in which the Bulgarian has been given priority (in volume and place), which certifies their Bulgarian purpose“. (Стоянов, I, 1957, с. VIII)

It should be pointed out that regarding the type of print works “Book Writing Chronology” complies with Valeriy Pogorelov’s model, who claims that non-periodicals and periodicals of the Revival period should not be mixed (Погорелов, 1923, с. VII). Due to the difference in their physical, economic and functional characteristics, periodicals are not included in the current repertoire. Their inclusion, which requires a different type of bibliographic description, would hamper the analytical functions of IRS. An exception is made for calendars for three reasons. First of all, their periodicity during the Revival was disturbed and they rarely came out for a long time. Secondly, they contain information that turns them into a kind of almanac, whose components are relevant for more than one calendar year. Thirdly, significantly relevant is their layout, which is closer to the books than to the periodicals, which allows their description and inclusion in the database.

Of greater importance is the issue of the chronological scope, as well as the application and enrichment of formal criteria, in view of the established theoretical paradigms, changes and accumulations in the field of book studies, library science and bibliography over the past six decades. An essential characteristic of science is that over time, scientific and especially social attitudes and understandings change, science accumulates new material and develops. As it has become clear from the quote above, the leading criteria for Dr. Stoyanov’s repertoire are variations made on the basis of the language of the book and the origin of the ‘author and editor’, without mentioning the translator. This understanding is valid for the 1950s, but later, with the development of the book history science, the communication cycle of the book began to be discussed, which, along with creative activities on ‘writing’, has included those who finance the publication, printers, booksellers and readers (Дарнтън, 1982, 2007). In the period of the Bulgarian Revival, concerning the print book, often the figures of the author, translator, compiler, publisher, bookseller overlap to a significant extent, but in some cases a clear objective and subjective boundary can be drawn between the individual units in the book system. As for the reader, who considers the entire communication cycle of the book, it is important to point out that a significant formal criterion for the inclusion of a book in the national bibliography must be the target group of a particular publication. The mention of the “Bulgarian purpose” of the books by Dr. Stoyanov is not fully clarified. The favoring of the linguistic criterion and the origin of the author and the editor, without taking into account the criteria for the Bulgarian origin of the translator, the benefactor, the publisher, the printer and the reader leads to misunderstandings, which has been noted by Boris Desev (Десев, с. 383-384).

Besides, in determining the scope of a national repertoire, we must take into account the political, economic and cultural conditions, under which the literature was created in a given period. Dr. Stoyanov himself developed the thesis in his lecture course on bibliography from 1949: “ …we must take into account the socio-political and economic conditions in which the Bulgarian people lived in the XIX century, to see how these conditions require the creation of the first print books in our country, how they determine their special content and general spirit, how they impose a peculiar way of their publication and distribution, and how, on the other hand, the books themselves influence the public consciousness, awaken the people’s spirit and lead the people to a revolutionary struggle for cultural and political freedom…” (Стоянов, 1949, с. 97).

The review of the situation in which the Bulgarian print book began to develop at the beginning of the XIX century shows that the very prerequisites for the formation of stable formal bibliographic criteria are missing – there is no established language norm in literary ‘simple’ Bulgarian language, the Bulgarian national consciousness is affected by the long period of political, religious and cultural dependence within the Ottoman Empire and Southeast Europe. This national consciousness is rarely advertised publicly or documented. On the lack of literary Bulgarian language in the introduction to M. Stoyanov’s repertoire A. Burmov wrote: “ Many books were written in a dialect or a mixture of dialects, others were written in Church Slavonic and a mixture of it and some dialects” (Стоянов, I , 1957, с. VI). From this point of view, given that the debate on the modern Bulgarian literary language began to be actively conducted only in the 1930s and is relevant even in the period of mature textbooks in the 1960s and 1970s, language should not be perceived as the main and only factor for including or excluding a book from the scope of the Булгариан Revival bibliography.

In the current repertoire, it is because of the special situation in which the new Bulgarian print literature appeared and developed at the beginning of the 19th Century, in combination with the linguistic criterion, the question of the national origin of the author and editor was extended to the Bulgarian origin of those people, the print books (fund-raisers, trustees, principals, publishers, printers) and of the target audience a specific edition is intended for – the Bulgarians.

The above-mentioned scientific statements support the expansion of the chronological scope of the Bulgarian Revival bibliography until 1801. The current e-repertoire begins with “istoria Slavyano-Bulgarskog Naroda (History of the Slavo-Bulgarian People) by Atanasiy Neskovic (Buda, 1801). The book was written by a person of controversial origin, but there are suggestions that he was a native of Vidin or Serres (Генчев, 1988). The language of the book also provokes scientific controversy. Under the cultural and political conditions of the early 19th Century, Neskovic did not have Bulgarian literary samples in ‘simple’ language to adhere to for his edition. This forced Neskovic to experiment, which explains the fact that, in the end, the book was not in Bulgarian, but it was also not in spoken Serbian. (Желев, Николай, 2019, с. 2). An additional argument for the book's inclusion in the Revival bibliography is the fact that it was commissioned by “some Bulgarian gentlemen [Ospoda]” who ‘made’ Neskovich write a Bulgarian history. The preface explicitly states that history aims to awaken people’s patriotism, which in practice is the key essence of the process of the Bulgarian Revival. (Нескович, Б, 1801, с. 7-8). Apart from that, there is the fact that one of the versions of the first edition was dedicated to “Nikolayu Chernoevicu, kuptsu bolgarskomu” (Нескович, Б, 1801, с. 3) unequivocally show, despite the lack of a clear Bulgarian language, according to the cultural conditions of the time, the Bulgarian self-consciousness of the people who ordered and financed the book. Neskovic's story is undoubtedly intended for the Bulgarian readership and its influence is demonstrated by the fact that it was republished in 1811, and subsequently, after a debate on the Bulgarian literary language, and made more ‘Bulgarian’ in 1844 by Peter Sapunov. The factual framework of the third part of Neskovic's history was used or rather partially copied by Hristaki Pavlovich in the short Bulgarian history, published in his Greek-Bulgarian phrasebook from 1835. Subsequently, Pavlovich showed a lasting interest in Bulgarian history. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the printing house in Buda became the main publishing and printing center of the Bulgarian book until the early 1830s. 1 .

When finishing the “Chetiriezichnik“ by danail moskopolski, the team of “Book Writing Chronology” complied with V. Pogorelov’s justifications (Погорелов, 1923, с. IV-V), M. Stoyanov’s criteria (Стоянов, I, 1957, с. VIII) 2 and the extended formal criterion for the target group of the book. “Chetiriezichnik“ by Danail contains a Bulgarian text, albeit printed in Greek letters, equivalent to the texts of the other three languages, which means that it performed functions of distinction between different nationalities within the Ottoman Empire.

With the change of the chronological border and the inclusion of these books in our Revival “Book Writing Chronology”, the leading role of Sofroniy Vrachanski for the Bulgarian literary Revival is indisputable. It is perceived as a key manifestation of a process of cultural and linguistic awareness, the main expression of which is the print book. The very characteristics of the Bulgarian Revival show that this is a complex multi-layered process, encompassing the self-consciousness, literacy and view of the world of the Bulgarians and every book that was printed with the help of the Bulgarian community and led to a change in self-awareness and self-definition must be included. This is necessitated by the essential characteristics of the Bulgarian Revival, which is a transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and from universality within the Ottoman Empire to nationality.

Gathering and Processing of the Bibliographic Massif

As a result of the work on the project in the database and ITS of “Book Writing Chronology” 2050 bibliographic records have been included. In order to achieve maximum completeness of the bibliographic information, the team “Book Writing Chronology”has been developed as an independent methodology for the collection of bibliographic data. Work has been done to determine the elements of the bibliographic description, their structure and analytical capabilities. A decision has been made on what the sources are and how to fill in the future database. The bibliographic stage includes a comparative analysis of existing bibliographies for the period, the registration of bibliographic discrepancies and errors. Despite the assumption that the latest bibliographic references are the most complete, the use of a wide range of bibliographic resources has been envisaged: (Срезневски, 1846); (Шопов, 1852), (Данов, 1862; 1866), (Иречек, 1872), (Балан, 1909), (Начов, …) (Погорелов, 1923), (Стоянов, 1957–1959); (Теодосиев, 2007). The bibliographic information is compared with the available library electronic catalogs, using the resources of the national, academic, regional libraries and the referential catalog. NABIS [reference]. The catalogs and digital resources of the Library of Congress (USA), the French National Library and Matica Srpska (Serbia) were used in solving various bibliographic cases for reference purposes.

After the bibliography stage, a ‘de visu’ review was made of the Bulgarian books of the period, the principle has been adopted of downloading and comparing the bibliographic information from all copies inventoried for one title in the collections of the NLCM and the Central Library of BAS. In the absence of copies and lack of special cases for verification, the collections of the Regional Library Emanuil Popdimitrov - Kiustendil, the City History Museum in Samokov, the Hungarian National Library "Secani", the University Library in Budapest were used. It is explicitly mentioned in the field "Note" if the bibliographic description of the book was made on a digital copy, which was helped by the digital arrays of all regional libraries in Bulgaria and in particular the project consortium “Sever+“ 3 . Example book ID 672: The book is owned by the National Chitalishte "Zora - 1860" - Sliven, described by digital copy - Sever +. When a physical or digital copy of the book is not found, a message is given in the "Note" field: The book is described by bibliographic sources, and in the "Bibliographic sources" field its bibliographic history is described. This allows the planning of future searches and research, given that in the current repertoire there are 131 titles with a similar status.

Bibliographic Records

For the realization of the project tasks, a comparative analysis of foreign IRS in the system of the library work was made. The best practices in presenting bibliographic information were given. Corresponding to the standard in force in our country: BDS 15419-82, bibliographic descriptions were visualized in three main layers: Basic Visualization, International Standard Book Description (ISBD) and Machine-readable cataloging 21 (MARC 21). The Basic Visualization field contains the most detailed information about the specific bibliographic record. Here, in addition to the standardized bibliographic information, the user can get acquainted with the features of the publication, to trace the history of its bibliographic registration, to use the available digital copies of the book. In the "ISBD" layer, the information is organized for the needs of library and museum specialists. They have the option to download the record and use it to populate and enhance their own collections and catalogs. In the MARC layer, the user can use the descriptors of the bibliographic record elements assigned in accordance with the MARC 21 format. The results and records can be freely shared, copied, printed and downloaded, which facilitates the practical applicability of the product.

Since the abbreviations are necessary in the bibliographic language due to the physical limitations of the print editions and the need to reduce the volume, the absence of such a problem in the collection and visualization of records in digital environment has allowed the maximum clearing of abbreviations in bibliographic records. The small number of abbreviations used is developed in the ‘Help’ section of the information retrieval system page [reference to help].

In order to be able to make an on-the-spot comparison, the bibliographic record is accompanied by a title page and/or cover. The author’s responsibility and the title data in the database are transmitted one-to-one and normalization has been made in accordance with the applicable language rules of the Bulgarian literary language, but the Revival linguistic features have been preserved. Such a solution takes into account the analytical functions of the system in combination with the potential search capabilities of users with different qualifications and language culture. For example, the word "ochilishte" was introduced as "uchilishte" (school), but in "Sad song for the Bulgarian people in Ohrid and Struga and for every Bulgarian" the spelling of "Buglarski" (Bulgarian) has been preserved. The parallel titles have been transmitted one-to-one in the respective foreign language. In the case of foreign language books, the descriptions adhere to the information printed in the book, but bibliographic checks are made in a wide range of referential and national catalogs: World Cat, BnF Catalog général, the catalog of Die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB), etc. When describing the books in Ottoman Turkish, a transliteration with the modern Turkish version of the Latin alphabet was used, which aims to make it easier for users. The city of publication, the name of the publisher and the printing house are given one-to-one from the title page or from the cited bibliographic source for the books of which no copies were found. For books with an unidentified place of publication, the abbreviation [b. m.] (no place of publication). [n. p.]

The years of publication since the creation of the world and those transmitted in Cyrillic letters have been recalculated and reflected in the "Note" field [reference to instruments]. For calendars, the year of issue, unless explicitly stated, is determined by the previous year for which the calendar is intended. The reason for the Book Writing Chronology”team to make such a methodological decision is due to the fact that the purpose of the calendars, in accordance with the technical processes of their reproduction in the XIX century, is that they must be pre-printed in order to be used for the maximum number of days. When the data on the first cover and on the title page diverge, as in most of Slaveykov’s editions, the data on the title page are used, and the data on the cover are presented in the ‘Note’ field. The undated books are marked with the abbreviation [no year] (without year), and those that do not have place of issue and year of issue are indicated by the abbreviation [б. м. г.]. [n. p. y.]

Serious work in this e-repertoire has been done in terms of describing the physical characteristics of books. In this part, the new product differs significantly in terms of the data presented in the BR data in comparison with the bibliographic records cited above. The most common mistake in determining the volume of the publication is the lack of pagination on the title page, which is not noted in the BR. For example: the volume of Danov’s "Prostranno Sviashtenno…" (1859; 1864) is described as 120 pages, but the pagination starts from the home page, which in the book body is actually page 3. In this case in the record in the previous reference books the volume is presented as 120 p., and in the current e-repertoire the volume is marked as [2], 120 p. as in the search results 122 p are indicated. There are many similar examples from the Revival period, and in addition, the problem of internal white pages occurs, pages often omitted when entering the total volume. Unlike the last white pages in the book body, traditionally not included in the volume, the internal white pages are part of the design solution and must be calculated in the general numbering despite the lack of pagination. The different types of inserts – lithographs, maps, over-format tables, etc., as they are not part of the general pagination of the book body, are marked with + 1 л.

In the current e-repertoire, height is measured on the body of the book, not on the bindings, and the value in centimeters is not rounded. The data are entered after measuring several specimens, taking the largest value and, at best, the size of an untrimmed specimen. This approach is consistent with the fact that for economic reasons, the bookbinder can significantly reduce the size of the book body. Examples such as Vasil Aprilov’s "Denitsa" from 1841 show that it there may be a difference of 6-8 cm between an untrimmed and a bound specimen.

Trimming of the copy is also a reason for another serious omission in the bibliographic records, which has been eliminated in the current e-repertoire. In the formats, the bibliographers gave the shape according to the size of the book body, not the number of sheets in the section. During the project, the format of the books was determined during a ‘de visu’ review, with the pages counted by hand on a second section and detected on a random section. During this project, it was established that some of the publications have sections with different number of sheets, including unusual quantities – 6 and 10 sheets (Dvete Agneta /The Two Lambs/, 1860, ID: 510; Dobri Dela /Good Deeds/, 1860, ID: 511). Similar variations, which are sometimes related to the practice of specific printers, are described in the ‘Note’ field.

Bibliographic Review

A review of a wide range of bibliographic resources combined with a physical review of the books helped clear up a century and a half of bibliographic errors, identify many editions, record variations in certain editions described by bibliographic sources, and add new books to those already discovered. For example, the review of all copies of „Vuvedenie vuv vseobshta istoriya, s kratko pribavlenie ot starobulgarskata istoriya“ /Introduction to Universal History, with a short addition to Old Bulgarian history/ (1864) proved the existence of two versions of the lists of contributors: NLCM Art. 64.685 I; Rodolyubivite spomoshtestvovateli na Vuvedenie vuv vseobshta istoriya i Izgubenata Stanka /Country-loving sponsors of Introduction to Universal History and the Lost Stanka/– p. I-II: a total of 202 books. BAS 1864-685 B108719: “Spisok na imenata na rodolyubivite spomoshtestvovateli” /List of the names of the patriotic sponsors/, pp. I-IV - all 314 books. The variations in the editions refer to the discrepancy between the years of publication of the cover and the title page, the use of different colors and clichés to decorate the bindings, the dedication of different persons, the discrepancy in the place of binding and the number of sponsors, the use of different fonts. Changes that are made in the course of a particular publication at the request of the author, publisher or printer are reflected in the ‘Note’ field, and variations are not registered as separate records. In cases where we have re-typing in a printing house, as in the Greek and Cyrillic variations of Hristaki Pavlovich's 1835 Greek-Bulgarian Phrasebook, the books are registered as separate editions. Variations in the color of bindings and printing permits by censors in different countries are also reflected in the ‘Note’ field.

The team of the current repertoire [link] are fully aware that at such great work that takes years to complete, there could be errors made. As for this, we urge scientists and library experts to actively take advantage of the options “report an error”, Add a record” and “Send a Title” [link] so that they can help in the maximum complementation and clear content of the bibliographic massif.

06.05.2020Associate Professor Vasil Zagorov, PhD

1 18 out of all 30 published Bulgarian books until 1830 were printed in Buda. Book writing chronology…

2 Does Stoyanov comment anywhere on Neskovic and Danail?

3 It should be taken into account that the strategy for digitalization and the real digitalization in Bulgaria are uncoordinated and are rarely carried out in accordance with world good practices and standards. See.: