Orphism and Late Communism in Bulgaria

Miglena Nikolchina (Sofia)

Whether Orpheus was a contested historical figure, a mystagogue, or a mythical personification of the poet, the story of his genius, his love, and his tragic death has been connected by ancient sources to Thrace, a region to the south of the Balkan Mountains. This gave Orpheus a special standing in the early construction of Bulgarian national identity, which came into new prominence with the failure of communist ideology and the advancement of Thracian studies in archeology and historiography. The lecture will discuss “Orphism” as the 1980s theoretical counterpart to these developments. It will explore both its political implications in the last decade of the communist regime and its contemporary follow-up in divergent philosophical trends.