Papers of BAS Humanities and Social Sciences
Vol. 4, 2017, No 2

FROM A COMEDY OF EVIDENCE TO EPIPHANY: JOVAN CVIJIĆ AND FERNAND BRAUDEL ON BEING BULGARIAN

Maxim Stamenov

Abstract. The present article is a journey through texts of several authors in trying to find out the sources and reasons for accusing Bulgarians being “less gifted than other people, slow thinking or clumsy”, attributed by Machiel Kiel (1985, 352) to the French historian Fernand Braudel (1972-1973). During the journey we find out that the main source and argumentation for this claim comes from the Serbian historian Jovan Cvijić (1918) whom Braudel cited as if congenially on the subject. After establishing the facts on file in dealing with the problem we come to two conclusions that point in radically different directions. The first of them amounts to expected confirmation - that preju- dices persist whatever the evidence. Wherever there is an appropriate intentional stance, corresponding means for its fulfillment will be found or forged. The second conclusion, however, is rather surprising - that by providing and apparently relying on a falsified evidence one can nevertheless come to high apprehension of what remained firm below the surface of historical dynamics that went on for millennia for Bulgarians in Bulgaria even in such troublesome case as theirs involving a ‘clash of civilizations’ with Ottomans.

Keywords: Bulgarian history, Bulgarian identity, concepts of history, profane and eloquent in history, chronotopes and styles of historical narrative