The Stones of Atanas Dalchev and Zbigniew Herbert – Concerning an Unrealized Poetic Dialogue

Kamen Rikev


The paper offers an intertextual approach towards the poems Pebble (Kamyk, 1961) by Zbigniew Herbert and Stone (Камък, 1926) by the Bulgarian poet Atanas Dalchev. Although these works, emblematic for their authors’ ars poetica, reveal similar concepts, they have never been studied from a comparative perspective. In 1993 Joseph Brodsky’s comment on Pebble (Wilson Quarterly, vol. 17) puts Herbert’s work in the context of Polish history and national spirituality, while numerous analyses of Dalchev’s Stone have never provoqued similar reflections on modern Bulgarian identity. The paper defends the thesis that Brodsky’s comments on Pebble could be extended towards Dalchev’s poem provided the existence of an appropriate context for interpreting Bulgarian 20th century literature. Up to today such an interpretive background – revealing national specifics and historical experience in works that have been unambiguously recognized as individualistic – is scantily represented in critic and scholarly texts on Bulgarian literature.


Atanas Dalchev, Zbigniew Herbert, Joseph Brodsky, Pebble, stone as a poetic symbol, poetry interpretation

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Brodski 1999: Brodski, Josif. “On Zbigniew Herbert.” Polish translation by Ewa Kulik-Bielińska. Zeszyty Literackie, nо 4, issue 68 (1999), 78–80. [In Polish: Brodski, Josif. „O Zbigniewie Herbercie.” Zeszyty Literackie, nr 4, z. 68 (1999), 78–80, tłum. Ewa Kulik-Bielińska.]

Brodsky 1993: Brodsky, Joseph. “Poetry. Zbigniew Herbert.” Wilson Quarterly, vol. 17 (Winter 1993), 112–114.

Dalchev 1981: Dalchev, Atanas. Poetry. Selected and translated by Anna Kamienska. Warsaw: PIW, 1981. [In Polish: Dałczew, Atanas. Poezje. Wybór i przekł. wierszy Anna Kamieńska. Warszawa: PIW, 1981].

Gorczynska 1999: Gorczynska, Renata. “The Art of Empathy – Zbigniew Herbert.” Zeszyty Literackie, no 4, z. 68, (1999), 156–165. [In Polish: Gorczyńska, Renata. „Sztuka empatii – Zbigniew Herbert.” Zeszyty Literackie, nr 4, z. 68, (1999), 156–165.]

Igov 2002: Igov, Svetlozar. A History of Bulgarian Literature. Sofia: Ciela, 2002. [In Bulgarian: Игов, Светлозар. История на българската литература. София: Сиела, 2002.]

Rikev 2016: Rikev, Kamen. “Insights into Atanas Dalchev’s Poem Stone. Interpretive Problems in a Multicultural Environment.” Zeszyty Cyrylo-Metodianskie, no 5 (2016), 79–88. [In Bulgarian: „Прозренията в Далчевия Камък. Интерпретативни проблеми на поетическия текст в мултикултурна среда.“ Zeszyty Cyrylo-Metodiańskie, nr 5 (2016), 79–88.]

Siedlecka 2002: Siedlecka, Joanna. Poetry Man. On Zbigniew Herbert. Warsaw: Proszynski i S-ka, 2002. [In Polish: Siedlecka, Joanna. Pan od poezji. O Zbigniewie Herbercie. Warszawa: Prószyński i S-ka, 2002.]

Simenova-Konach 2001: Simeonova-Konach, Galia. The Poet and the Lily: Christian Ideas in the Literary Output of Nikolay Liliev. Warsaw: Aspra-JR, 2001. [In Polish: Poeta i lilia: Idee chrześcijańskie w poezji Nikołaja Liliewa. Warszawa: Aspra-JR, 2001; orinigal publication in Bulgarian: Симеонова-Конах, Галя. Поетът и лилията: Християнски идеи в творчеството на Николай Лилиев. София: Аб, 1999].

Data publikacji: 2018-12-17 13:02:47
Data złożenia artykułu: 2018-12-14 14:44:05


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