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Old 09-28-2010, 03:40 PM   #11
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Thanks for your opinions guys. I would like to give a few small observations to what Raymond Detrez brings up in his article.

1) The poem Armatole used "Slav" names for the Albanians but according to Prlicev the Albanians were nothing else but "Greeks". This could mean 2 things (but one, in my opinion, which is fairly obvious). First and foremost the term during Prlicev's time was nothing more than a religious term meaning "christian" as Detrez himself notes on page 59. Second thing is if the Albanians "were nothing else but Greeks", according to Prlicev, then we can honestly say, historically knowing the truth of modern greece, the Greeks were nothing else but Albanian. Prlicev was most likely basing his poem of facts that we know today.

2) In 1885, during a celebration of Cyril and Methodius in Solun, Prlicev thanked the Bulgarian teachers there for having "come from their fatherland" (Principality of Bulgaria) to "our fatherland" (Macedonia under the Ottoman's). This is a stab in the Bulgarian's heart in my opinion seeing as this is nothing more than a Macedonian from Macedonia thanking Bulgarians from Bulgaria for attending the celebrations.

3) Prlicev found it difficult to use the "dialect" or rather language of Bulgaria. He had negative feelings in Bulgaria and made it a point to reflect this attitude in a letter to Konstantin Jirecek the Czech historian and diplomat. Bulgarians despised Prlicev's translations and works because they said he "had no command of Bulgarian". (see page 57)

4) Prlicev was not accepted as a "hellene" by many of the new greeks and he felt "a stranger for the society he wanted to be a part of" according to Detrez. The racism of the new greeks against Prlicev shows another example of terminologies that became modern ethnicities. He was called a "Bulgarian" to which Prlicev wrote that he "felt contempt". The word "Bulgarian" in modern greece was nothing more than an insult.

5) He wrote "Grigor Prlicev, Killed by the Bulgarians".

6) Detrez mentions two important facets in communities within Macedonia and within the Balkans. Terms like "Greek", "Bulgarian", "Vlach", etc. were social (or social-labor) terms meant to denote a profession. As he notes (and as we already know) a "Greek" was a "city dweller", a "Vlach" a shephard, a "Bulgarian" a peasant or farmer, etc. Terms like the ones mentioned above also denoted religious affiliation.

Detrez stops short in this article. I think he missed his opportunity to show exactly what Prlicev's ultimate development was and why he felt like a stranger in "Greece and Bulgaria". One flaw in Detrez's article is the fact that he bases his opinion on a Bulgarian historian (Hristo Gandev) and ultimately contradicts his article to what Prlicev himself stated. On page 58 Detrez states that Prlicev identified himself only with "the inhabitants of Ohrid and its surroundings" towards the end of his life. He quotes the "pre-national mental make-up" of Hristo Gandev to prove his own point. However, as I already mentioned in point 2 above, Detrez makes mention of Prlicev thanking Bulgarian teachers who came "from their fatherland" (Bulgarian principality) to "OUR FATHERLAND" (Macedonia under the Ottoman's)in 1885 which was not far towards the end of Prlicev's life. So if you, the reader, reads page 55 and then page 58 you will note the contradiction.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:12 AM   #12
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Thank you Thessaloniki. I downloaded the book.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thessalo-niki View Post
The name he used in Greece was Grigorios Stavridis. This is a small part of his poem:

Παρά τον νέκυν τού Κοσμά βαρυπενθής ο ίππος
εφρύαττεν αιμοσταγής·
και κλίνων προς τον ήρωα την χαίτην, βαρυλύπως,
τα νώτα έκρουε της γης.

Με βήμα τρέμον εξορμά η μήτηρ κ’ αμφιβάλλει·
αλλ’ εις τον πάνδημον κλαυθμόν
εμάντευσε την συμφοράν, και τ’ όναρ ανεκάλει...
Βαρύν αφήκε βρυχηθμόν

ως πρωτοτόκος λέαινα, ο σκύμνος ης ηρπάγη
υπό θρασέων θηρευτών...
So this would make him Greek right?
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:53 PM   #14
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Thessaloniki what do you think about Prlicev's assertion that Albanians "were nothing else but Greeks"?
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Daskalot View Post
So this would make him Greek right?
His early poetry is Greek. His opinions sound like Greek nationalism, but I couldn't easily recognize the political divisions of 1850s or 1860s.
In a letter of his, against Orphanidis, who challenged his Greekness, he's saying (that's in 1860):

"Λέγεις ότι είμαι Βούλγαρος! Μέγα θαύμα!!! Χειροκροτήσατε Κύριοι!!! Ναι, κ. Καθηγητά... αλλ' επί δεκαπέντε έτη διετέλεσα αείποτε υπηρετών την Ελλάδα, εν ω συ νέος περιήρχεσο τας ρύμας των Αθηνών, σκάνδαλον της κοινωνίας, διέδωκα την Ελληνικήν Γλώσσαν εις μέρη όπου ήτον πάντη άγνωστος, και εμόρφωσα δι' αυτής υπέρ τους χιλίους νέους, εν ω συ νέος εμόρφωνες... Ναι, είμαι Βούλγαρος, αλλ' έχω πολύ Ελληνικώτερα τα αισθήματα και την καρδίαν παρά σε τον υβριστήν... Ναι, είμαι Βούλγαρος και Σκύθης μάλιστα εάν θέλης. Αλλ' αυτός ο Σκύθης, μόλις πρώτην φοράν εμφανισθείς εις ποιητικόν αγώνα, κατέβαλεν άνευ κόπου σε τον παλαιόν ποιητήν..."

(my, not very good, translation)

"You say I'm Bulgarian! Great miracle!!! Applaud Gentlemen!!! Yes, Mr Professor... but for 15 years I kept non-stop serving Greece, while you as a youth were walking the slip-roads of Athens, a scandal of society, I disseminated Greek language in places it was totally unknown and educated through it more than thousand young men, while you as a young man educated...Yes, I'm a Bulgarian, but I have a heart and feelings that are more Greek than you the insulter... Yes, I'm Bulgarian and Scythian also, if you like. But this Scythian, when appeared for the very first time in a poetry contest, easily defeated you the old poet..."

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Originally Posted by TrueMacedonian View Post
Thessaloniki what do you think about Prlicev's assertion that Albanians "were nothing else but Greeks"?
I don't know anything about his assertions. Do you mean I should read the poem? Are they in the poem?
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:46 AM   #16
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I don't know anything about his assertions. Do you mean I should read the poem? Are they in the poem?
Why not read the very first page I posted from the Detrez article.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by TrueMacedonian View Post
Thanks for your opinions guys. I would like to give a few small observations to what Raymond Detrez brings up in his article.

1) The poem Armatole used "Slav" names for the Albanians but according to Prlicev the Albanians were nothing else but "Greeks". This could mean 2 things (but one, in my opinion, which is fairly obvious). First and foremost the term during Prlicev's time was nothing more than a religious term meaning "christian" as Detrez himself notes on page 59. Second thing is if the Albanians "were nothing else but Greeks", according to Prlicev, then we can honestly say, historically knowing the truth of modern greece, the Greeks were nothing else but Albanian. Prlicev was most likely basing his poem of facts that we know today.

2) In 1885, during a celebration of Cyril and Methodius in Solun, Prlicev thanked the Bulgarian teachers there for having "come from their fatherland" (Principality of Bulgaria) to "our fatherland" (Macedonia under the Ottoman's). This is a stab in the Bulgarian's heart in my opinion seeing as this is nothing more than a Macedonian from Macedonia thanking Bulgarians from Bulgaria for attending the celebrations.

3) Prlicev found it difficult to use the "dialect" or rather language of Bulgaria. He had negative feelings in Bulgaria and made it a point to reflect this attitude in a letter to Konstantin Jirecek the Czech historian and diplomat. Bulgarians despised Prlicev's translations and works because they said he "had no command of Bulgarian". (see page 57)

4) Prlicev was not accepted as a "hellene" by many of the new greeks and he felt "a stranger for the society he wanted to be a part of" according to Detrez. The racism of the new greeks against Prlicev shows another example of terminologies that became modern ethnicities. He was called a "Bulgarian" to which Prlicev wrote that he "felt contempt". The word "Bulgarian" in modern greece was nothing more than an insult.

5) He wrote "Grigor Prlicev, Killed by the Bulgarians".

6) Detrez mentions two important facets in communities within Macedonia and within the Balkans. Terms like "Greek", "Bulgarian", "Vlach", etc. were social (or social-labor) terms meant to denote a profession. As he notes (and as we already know) a "Greek" was a "city dweller", a "Vlach" a shephard, a "Bulgarian" a peasant or farmer, etc. Terms like the ones mentioned above also denoted religious affiliation.

Detrez stops short in this article. I think he missed his opportunity to show exactly what Prlicev's ultimate development was and why he felt like a stranger in "Greece and Bulgaria". One flaw in Detrez's article is the fact that he bases his opinion on a Bulgarian historian (Hristo Gandev) and ultimately contradicts his article to what Prlicev himself stated. On page 58 Detrez states that Prlicev identified himself only with "the inhabitants of Ohrid and its surroundings" towards the end of his life. He quotes the "pre-national mental make-up" of Hristo Gandev to prove his own point. However, as I already mentioned in point 2 above, Detrez makes mention of Prlicev thanking Bulgarian teachers who came "from their fatherland" (Bulgarian principality) to "OUR FATHERLAND" (Macedonia under the Ottoman's)in 1885 which was not far towards the end of Prlicev's life. So if you, the reader, reads page 55 and then page 58 you will note the contradiction.
This was some good information about Prlichev, despite the author falling short of stating the obvious. The fact is, had the Macedonian movement been more consolidated during his time then all of our literary figures would have rallied behind the Macedonian Cause. In their own way, they continued to do so, for example, even after being denigrated for writing in Macedonian dialects, people like Shapkarev, the Miladinov brothers, etc, continued to write in Macedonian.

He tried to gain acceptance among both Greeks and Bulgars and ultimately felt rejected by both. The fact that Greece and Bulgaria were free from Ottoman domination may have also contributed to his actions.
Quote:
In spite of the Greek feelings Prlichev had demonstrated on several occasions and in spite of the eagerness of the majority of the Greek nationalist culture elite to adopt him as one of them, Prlichev often felt a stranger, excluded from the society he wanted to be a part of. Together with the amnition to merge the many Balkan ethnic groups into the Greek nation, thehre existed among the Greeks also a considerable racist bias against them.
It is interesting how he struggled with the Bulgarian language yet managed to master Greek:
Quote:
Many years later, Prlichev experienced similar negative feelings during his stay in Bulgaria in 1879-1880. Employed as a teacher in Gabrovo, Prlichev complains about “the roughness of the local climate” and “the local dialect” which he was not able to master.
Gabrovo, is in central northern Bulgaria. And the criticism he received by Bulgarians for writing in Macedonian was brutal:
Quote:
The outstanding critic Neso Boncev with good reason blamed Prlichev for having no command of Bulgarian and for using certain phonetic and lexical features of the Macedonian dialects. According to Boncev, Prlichev had produced a translation that did not meet the most elementary artistic requirements……..Some of the most authoritative Bulgarian writers of his time ridiculed the translation….Ljuben Karavelov compared Prlichev to “an empty pumpkin”. Although eager – as a former Greek poet and a Bulgarian national revival activist – to be accepted now as a genuine Bulgarian writer, Prlichev was rudely excluded from Bulgarian literary life, not only because of his cumsy translation, but also – which was even ore offensive – because of his ignorance of the Bulgarian language.
He also wrote the following in his Autobiography:

PHP Code:
http://www.promacedonia.org/gp/avtob_16.html 
Quote:
Още от 1861 почнахме с Якима Сапунджиев народний подвиг, но го почвахме глухо. Времето още не беше сгодно; гърцизма в Охрид от векове беше се вкоренил и досега все расъл и расъл; българин българина наричаше "шоп"; българската азбука само на трима беше известна и се наричаше сърбска; учени мъже уверяваха, че българите немат писмен язик; обвинителите на Миладиновци, тогава скоро наградени с ордени, беха в най-високата степен на славата си и на влиянието си. В дукяна на Ангела Групчев, който служеше как читалище, се научих на българско чтение и язик. Си помагахме взаимно: он ни изясняваше българските непонятни нам думи, а ние – нему европейските. Прочетохме българската история и разказвахме в училището и по къщи, дето требаше, най-потрясающите й страници и мъченическата смърт на Миладинови. Често разправяхме на учениците и на родителите им (но не всем) колко е труден елинский и колко по-сладко и по-лесно е да се учат на майчин си язик. Много псалми, преведени на македонско наречие, се четеха по църквите и вдъхваха свещен ужас на християните. Когато чтецат не ми се аресваше, сам ставах чтец. Силно се богумолехме: но същевременно и работехме. Орахме ден и нощ да си приготвим почва за сеене.
In summary, he calls the Macedonians 'Bulgarians' yet says that the Macedonians themselves call the actual Bulgarians of Bulgaria as 'Shopi'. He says only 3 people know the Bulgarian alphabet and it is called Serbian. He first began to learn Bulgarian from Angel Grupcev. He often told students and their parents how difficult the Hellenic language was and that it would be sweeter and easier to learn their mother-tongue, hence there are "many psalms, translated in the macedonian dialect......" Here is some more:

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[url]http://www.kroraina.com/knigi/gp/avtob_10.html[/url] 
Quote:
Слушай, има тука едно богато завещание от един македонец, жител на Блац и наречен Вельо. Това завещание е обречено изключително за стипендии на бедни македончета. Почакай!
But then this:
Quote:
Когато костурските майстори вървеха к вечеру пред университета и си говореха, българский, те (съучениците ми) казваха: (in greek) = "ево ти минат воловете", късаше ми се сърцето.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:02 PM   #18
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Looking at that summary, SoM, I can see why the Bulgarian propgandists claim him, and use him as one of their own, or to push the so called 'Bulgarian' identity of Macedonians. The distinctions Prlichev pointed out, and that you bring to light are fine ones, something most people would miss and I am sure most Bulgarian propogandists would never care to raise.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:53 AM   #19
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Default Happy 182nd Grigor Prlichev

Happy 182nd Grigor Prlichev



January 18, 2012



GRIGOR PRLICHEV (1830-1893)



Grigor Prlichev, the poet from Ohrid, is unquestionably the most highly developed personality in Macedonian literature of the past century .The true perfection of his verses quite justifiably gained for him the flattering epithet a Second Homer . He shone as an impressive writer and impassioned lover of the fine word. With the gems of poetic expression is his long poem The Sirdar, Prlichev came to be the pride of Macedonian literary history. At the same time, as a writer he represents a unique phenomena in his vision and in the profundity of the creative tragedy of his own voluntary and uncompromising choice. For the sake of the renaissance impulse he sacrificed the poetic impulse which was his dream. For, at the very moment when he had demonstrated his extremely rich creative talent and when the paths of assured personal prosperity as an author lay wide open before him, instead of choosing a glittering and outstanding career for himself as a writer in the Greek language, which would have presented him to a very wide European audience, he decided in favour of the thorny paths of patriotic love in his native Macedonia.



With this enormous sacrifice Prlichev gave significant aid and stimulus to the process of the renaissance of the Macedonian people, but the price he paid for this national virtue of his was uncommonly high. Of his own free will he renounced the prospects officially offered to him of a swift and outstanding literary development which he longed for intimately and with great intensity. Yet this decision of Prlichev's caused his patriotic nature and his personality as a figure of the renaissance to shine out all the more conspicuously, a fact for which his descendants acknowledge endless gratitude.



The course of Grigor Prlichev's life is quite characteristic of the general conditions in which the majority of Macedonian intellectuals of his time lived. This was a painful struggle for existence and for the realization of their desire to leave behind them traces of a noble life. Such had been the case with the brothers Dimitar and Konstantin Miladinov, whose example Prlichev greatly respected, setting out in their footsteps and continuing their patriotic work. And there were also Kuzman Shapkarev, Gjorgi Pulevski, Rajko Zhinzifov and Marko Cepenkov.



Born in Ohrid on 18th January, 1830, or 1831, as he him- self says in his Autobiography, Grigor Prlichev lost his father while still an infant of only a few months and so from his earliest years was forced to taste life's bitterness which, right up to the very end of his physical life, never left him. It was only as a result of the efforts of his mother, Maria Gjokova, to educate her intellectually gifted son, and of his own great love of learning, that this Macedonian poet and patriot succeeded in overcoming all the obstacles that stood in the way of his development as a significant national and creative figure.



Grigor Prlichev completed Greek elementary school in his native town, taught for a certain time by Dimitar Miladinov whose words left evident traces in the development of Prlichev's intellectual character. On completing his secondary education Prlichev was invited to Tirana for a time as a school teacher. After teaching there for a year, drawn by strong feelings of nostalgia for his home town, he returned to Ohrid. He made up his mind to use the money that he had saved while teaching in Tirana to continue his education in Athens. Consequently he left for that city in the summer of 1849 and, having passed the entrance examination in Greek with honours, he registered as a student of Medicine at Athens University, respecting his mother's great wish that he should become a doctor. The money he had saved soon came to an end, however, and so he was forced to return home to his native land and to carry on working as a school teacher, this time in the village of Belica, near Struga. Nevertheless, while he had moved in the Athens University circles, he had had the opportunity to be present at the traditional University competition for the best poem in Greek and it was on that occasion that the desire was born within him to undertake such an endeavour at one of the forthcoming annual competitions. In the beautiful village of Belica he had opportunities without number to enjoy the magnificent surroundings and his own poetic nature began to create appropriate lines:



"There nature seemed to me miraculously beautiful. The modest blue reflection which made balsam of the air with its intoxicating perfume, the rich hemp fields worked by tireless housewives, the rich vegetation by the stream where innumerable fireflies glittered, the high apple boughs bent low by the weight of immeasurably large and tasty apples -all drove me to write verse without my willing it."



Autobiography, p.68.



With five thousand groschen which he had saved Prlichev returned once more to Athens to take up his studies. He registered as a second year student at the Medical Faculty but gave more thought to the forthcoming literary competition than to medical science. Having submitted his previously written poem “O Armatolos” (The Sirdar) to the poetry competition of 1860, he awaited the results with a great curiosity, which he describes very vividly in his Autobiography:



"On 25th March, 1860, the President of the Commission, Mr Rangavis, in front of a large audience, began to judge the poems submitted, starting with the weakest. In the front ranks of the audience were Mr Orphanidis, the well-known and recognized poet, and Vernardakis, the Professor of Philology, each of them beaming happily in the conviction that he would gain the laurel wreath or at least the monetary award. For me, as for very many other spectators, there was no seat available. But when Rangavis said: 'Finally we have, a poem, much shorter than the others, entitled The Sirdar,' I felt within me an indescribable sensation the like of which I had never before experienced. No one would have been able to recognize me at that moment. I was beside myself. Evidently the prize was mine."



Autobiography, pp.69- 70



And just at the moment when, from the material and financial aspect, his continued stay in Athens was secure (he had also been offered a large monthly scholarship) the famous Ohrid poet decided to return to his homeland, seeing in the news of the tragic deaths of the Miladinov brothers a summons to the continuation of their patriotic wort:



" 'Would you like us to send you to Oxford or to Berlin, to study at the state's expense?' I grasped the fact that their aim was to put me to the service of Greece and so said: 'There is a great need for me to return home.' The Rector rose and, handing me the laurel wreath from which hung silk ribbons the colours of the Greek flag, counted out five hundred drachmas. 'The other five hundred,' said the Rector, 'in accordance with your letter, we are presenting to a very poor student of theology.' 'You did well in not permitting me to become acquainted with the theologian. We would have met here every day and been embarrassed by one another.' "



Autobiography, p. 73





Leaving behind all the honours and financial gains of his success as a writer, Prlichev returned to Ohrid where he continued working as a teacher for some time, making a significant contribution to the progress of the renaissance in his home town and in Macedonia as a whole. At the same time he devoted himself to the introduction of a Slavonic language in Church services and in school teaching. In doing so he brought down upon himself the hatred of Meletij, the Greek Bishop, who, through many intrigues and slanders to the Turkish authorities, succeeded in bringing about Prlichev's imprisonment in the notorious Debar gaol. The extremely hard -days that he spent in prison did not, however, crush the fighting spirit of this outstanding figure of the Macedonian renaissance.



On the contrary, after his release his redoubled efforts against Greek religious influence were to have a significant result: the infamous Meletij, who had cut short the renaissance activity of Dimitar Miladinov, was banished from Ohrid. In honour of this event Prlichev wrote the poem entitled “In the Summer of 1762” which, according to his own account in the Autobiography, played an extremely important role in the struggle against Hellenism in Ohrid. (The poem, set to a tune which is in the spirit of Macedonian folk song, is one of the most popular town folk songs in the Ohrid district and is often sung to this very day.)



Continuing his renaissance activity, principally through his work as a teacher and educator, Prlichev later came into conflict with Nathaniel, the first Bishop of the Bulgarian Exarchate. As a result of this the Ohrid Homer was compelled to leave his home town. In his Autobiography Prlichev recalls those painful moments of his life with extreme bitterness, comparing the first Bulgarian Metropolitan to the infamous Meletij.



Disillusioned by such an attitude towards himself Prlichev went to work in nearby Struga, where he was a school teacher for a year, and then left for Sofia, in the hope that there he might gain satisfaction in his quarrel with Nathaniel however, against his own wishes, Prlichev remained in Bulgaria. He worked in the Classical Grammar School in Gabrovo as a teacher of Greek and then started working in the National Library in Sofia. His strong desire to return to his native land soon brought him to Bitola, where he taught for two years before moving to Ohrid, remaining there also for two years as a teacher. During that time he wrote a reflective spiritual piece, of a bio- graphical nature, An Old Man's Fantasy, which was published in 1883. In the same year he left for Salonica, extending his educational activity. From then until 1885 he was involved in the writing of his Autobiography, his most significant literary work after The Sirdar. In 1890, living once more in Bulgaria, Prlichev was awarded a pension, but he soon returned to his native town of Ohrid, where he died on 6th February, 1893 and where he is buried.



The literary opus of Grigor Prlichev is one of the most significant contributions to Macedonian literature not only of the 19th century but as a whole, since his magnificent poem of nine hundred and twelve lines, The Sirdar, is undoubtedly not only the most successful creation of its author's but also of Macedonian literary production at large in the course of the past hundred years. As one of the most valuable achievements of Macedonian literary development in general Prlichev's poem The Sirdar can stand on an equal footing with the greatest works of the whole of Yugoslav literature.



"Full of feeling for the glorification of heroism and liberty, Prlichev's poem can be related to similar works in Yugoslav literature of the 19th century, works such as Gorski venac and Smrt Smail-age Chengicha." (1)



Written in modern Greek in Athens in 1860, the poem “The Sirdar” takes as its subject the life of the population of the Galichnik and Reka region in Western Macedonia during the thirties of the last century. The theme of his poem was, in fact, borrowed by Prlichev from a well-known folk poem about Kuzman Kapidan, an outstanding fighter against the misdeeds of the plundering Albanian bands which, because of the weakening of the Sultan's central government in the Turkish Empire, began to roam across Western Macedonia, abusing the Macedonian population. In the service of Dzheladin Bey, the lord of Ohrid, Kuzman Kapidan gained fame in his struggles against those Albanian despoilers. Although historically and in the folk poem Kuzman was the victor in his settling of accounts with these opponents Prlichev made a creative alteration: for the sake of greater poetic effect he sacrifices the life of his Kuzman. The heroic death of Kuzman in the struggles with those enemies of the people is the basic motif and fulcrum of the poem, as the author's main idea is the struggle for freedom in general. Hearing the sad news of Kuzman's death, Neda, his mother, mourns for her only son and is joined in this by the entire population of the area as they look upon the dead body of their protector. He gives form to the epic action of his poem with a great many poetic reminiscences, presenting its subject-matter in an impressive manner through lengthy narrative.



Appearing as a real master of the versified word Prlichev with his stylistic means of expression and of composition created a fine poetic work, immortalizing in it his creative gift and giving expression to the painful life of the Macedonian people in bondage. In four-lined stanzas with rhythmically determined and rhymed lines, full of fine figures of speech, Prlichev has given artistic form to several extremely well-wrought characters such as Kuzman, Neda his mother, Maria his fiancée, Tome her father and the four Albanians who bring Kuzman's body back home. In addition to that of Kuzman the character of Neda is founded on historical fact, but it is combined with an incarnation of Prlichev's own mother, Maria, who struggled heroically in the face of innumerable hardships in an effort to bring up her four fatherless children. Prlichev himself stated that the character of his mother was expressed in the figure of Neda:



"Let me tell you something else: as described in The Sirdar, Neda is nope other than my own mother, and Neda's vision is my mother's vision."



Autobiography, p.81



The person of Neda, appearing as a central figure in this work of Prlichev's, is drawn full-bloodedly and with convincing art. Neda is filled with a great tenderness towards her son, her grief is immeasurable, but great too is her concern for the people who, on Kuzman's death, are left without a protector. Neda's hatred for the enemies of the people and her son's murderers knows no bounds. Kuzman's mother is even ready for personal revenge, taking up weapons in her own hands, both for her son's death and for the threatened safety of the people. Neda's dream and her evil premonitions are described with a particular warmth and pictorial poetic quality which is an outstanding indication of Prlichev's ability to give psychological form to his characters. Portraying the fine shades of Neda's internal spiritual trembling the author has given expression through her character to a large number of qualities characteristic of the nation to whom she belongs.



Another witness to Prlichev's great poetic talent is the character of Kuzman, who is presented through reminiscence, through his mother's lament and through the narrative of the oldest of the four Albanians. In him are expressed the features of a popular fighter, honourable and practical, and peaceful, even gentle in his private life, with an immense love for his mother and his people, but having at the same time the features of a fearless hero when honour and the safety of his fellow- countrymen are at stake.



Prlichev gives evidence of his artistic objectivity in his presentation of the four Albanian survivors and particularly in that of the most senior of them, whose role it is to speak in the name of Kuzman's opponents. Painting them as enemies of the people, as direct opponents of Kuzman and his ten men, Prlichev does not however show them as entirely black or as completely negative characters; he rather presents them as possessing certain typical everyday human characteristics, such, for example, as the respect which they have for genuine heroism, their ability to recognize this heroism even in an enemy, the hospitality which is a byword for the Albanian people, the custom of the blood feud and their great courage and stubbornness in plundering raids. In fact through the characters of the four surviving Albanians Prlichev has provided a fragmentary but true picture of the Albanian people of that time.



Other figures in the poem are also characterized artistically and with a completeness although, according to the roles which the writer has allotted to them, only concisely or incidentally. Thus in the character of Kuzman's fiancée Maria he has depicted the patriarchal mentality of the Macedonian people, their faithfulness unto death to their loved one. As a patriarchally raised girl Maria is shy of declaring, even to her own father, the strong feelings that she has for Kuzman whose tragic death is to drive her out of her mind. The character of Maria's father, again, is an embodiment of spiritual simplicity, even to the point of naiveté, but also of complete honesty.



It is not only by these memorable characterizations that Prlichev is shown to be a master of the artistic word. Using the narrative poetic method, by means of which he was able to render the main events in the poem most adequately, he also succeeded in grasping certain descriptions both of events and landscapes. In addition to his description of the fields of standing wheat at the beginning of the poem, there are Neda's lament and the speech of the eldest Albanian and also Maria's grief, all of which come at extremely impressive moments in the poem. The description of the combat between Kuzman's ten men and the marauding band of a hundred Albanians, and particularly the duel between Kuzman and Mahmud, and also Neda's dream are thrilling events which bear witness to Prlichev's art of delineation through the refined poetic word.



The stylistic scheme of expression in Prlichev's work enabled him to render the activity of the poet in an extremely concrete and profoundly emotional manner. As a great lover of classical Greek literature and especially of the works of Homer, he took as his model the stylistic system of poetic expression of that same literature.



"Homer was Prlichev's favourite poet. He speaks in the language of Homer, makes use of his images, of his parallels, epithets and illustrations, so that they were able to call him a Second Homer. In a quiet, peaceful epic manner, retrospectively through minute details rendered in masterly fashion, the poet presents the hero's struggle and his death, as well as that of his comrades." (2)



But it is not merely the form and stylistic means of expression of The Sirdar that constitute its artistic and literary worth. This poem is a refined and extremely faithful reflection of the life of the Macedonian in the first decades of the last century. The work enables one to come face to face with the social and family life of the Macedonian in a dark period of his historical development, just as it also reproduces the essence of the people, their hopes and desires for a better life which find their apotheosis in Kuzman's feats in battle. In a word, the fact that Prlichev's “The Sidar” is a faithful artistic expression of the Macedonian social and political reality serves to elevate even more the dignity and the creative and historical values of the most significant work of this talented writer.



The Sirdar has achieved such an artistic, literary and historical significance because the language of its poetry does not suffer from over-idealization or from creative fabrication. Its motifs and its creative expression are established on the foundations of a firm basis in reality contained in the historical existence of the people Prlichev writes of so inspiredly.



Prlichev is the author of one other long poem. While he was studying in Athens he wrote the poem “Skenderbeg” (1861) with which he intended to participate once more in the poetry competition. However 1861 was an exception in that the competition did not take place then but in the following year, when Prlichev was not able to repeat the success he had achieved with The Sirdar. And in fact, although it is a significantly more extensive work (written in classical Greek), “Skenderbeg” does not have the artistic worth that “The Sirdar” possesses. This is not because it is unrhymed, nor yet because it contains very lengthy monologues and dialogues but rather because the author's creative invention and artistic expression have not been realized to the extent that they are in “The Sirdar”.



This work of Prlichev's was also inspired by the works of Homer, specifically by the Iliad. The action takes place at the court of the Albanian military leader, Skenderbeg, the national hero of this people, and in the tent of his opponent, Balaban Pasha, whose unsuccessful intention it was to subdue Skenderbeg. Prlichev paints his picture of Skenderbeg with great sympathy and in this respect there is a great similarity between his character and that of Kuzman. The characters presented in high relief, the dynamic quality of the poetic action and also the fine descriptions of the battles are the principal artistic achievements of this work of Prlichev's.



The poem Skenderbeg was published for the first time in 1971 in Skopje, on the hundredth anniversary of its composition, translated into the modern Macedonian literary language.



Prlichev's Autobiography is the writer's most significant work after his poem The Sirdar. Characterized by two literary qualities which confirm the author's narrative talent, this work is a literary document of exceptional value concerning the social reality of Macedonia in the second half of the last century. It is not merely that Prlichev's Autobiography supplies a large number of facts about his own life and renaissance activity, giving explanations of many events in his creative work directly from the original source, but it is also almost certainly one of the most authentic documents in which the most significant decades of the Macedonian renaissance are fixed in a literary fashion and the cultural, educational and socio-economic conditions in which the Macedonian people then lived are graphically presented.



Prlichev's second prose work is his essay “An Old Man's Fantasy”, which in a sense is a prototype of his Autobiography. In “An Old Man's Fantasy” the author provides in an original dialogue form a great deal of information about his own work as a writer, educator and renaissance figure. This work of Prlichev's throws light on certain of the most important periods of his lengthy, significant and varied activity: for example the time when, after receiving the laurel wreath in Athens, he had to decide quickly and definitively whether he would remain thenceforth under the evident influence of Hellenism or, renouncing all the honours and future possibilities of literary fame and successful development, would devote himself to the betterment of the education and the national life of his own people; and again the author's attitude towards Macedonian poetry which he used to a large extent in his own works.



Prlichev's twelve poems for children, written from educational motives, are also a significant part of his literary output. The educational and didactic character of Prlichev's compositions for children is the basic purpose of these undertakings and to this end he often made use of his genuinely wide know- ledge of Macedonian folk tales, which is confirmed by the fact that several of these poems are very direct versifications of some of the most popular examples of Macedonian folk prose.



Prlichev's translations are also worthy of attention. With a desire to enable a wide reading public to become acquainted with the famous heroic epic the Iliad, and being exceptionally familiar with Homer's art, he was invited by the editorial board of the journal Chitalishte (Reading Room) in Constantinople to translate this work into Bulgarian. When work began to appear in print however (the text was condensed and the heroic hexameter replaced by the decasyllabic line of folk poetry) he was severely criticized by official Bulgarian critics on the grounds of his inadequate knowledge of the Bulgarian language, which accusation was a true one. Disenchanted, he destroyed the remaining sections of the text of his translation, quickly shifting his attention to a new undertaking: he started to translate Homer's epics and also his own two long poems into what he called a pan- Slavonic language, (3) but with this artificial creature he was only to fall into another more obvious creative resignation. He himself came to the conclusion that this was a hopeless undertaking but, on the other hand, he felt it to be a "great need". Christening himself "Prlichev slain by the Bulgarians", he experienced a feeling of powerlessness and sadly stated: "In Greek I sang like a swan, in Slavonic I can't even hoot like an owl." Renouncing Greek, a step taken in order to indicate his national determination, and in a lightning-stroke transforming himself from a burning Hellenist into the most burning opponent of the assimilating attempts of the Greeks towards himself and towards the Macedonian people, Prlichev tried in vain to realize his lofty creative ambitions. Carried away by pan- Slavonic emotions he obstinately attempted to create a common language for all the Slavs, something which of course was unacceptable, and wrote a grammar of this language and, aspiring towards such elevated ambitious undertakings, he did not notice or did not pay the necessary attention to the straightforward possibility of helping to give form to his own mother tongue, the Macedonian vernacular, something that had been extremely successfully achieved before him by his own contemporary and fellow-countryman, Konstantin Miladinov, the poet from Struga.



Not making use of this simple opportunity, Prlichev was to remain the most tragic poetic figure in the history of Macedonian literature. In the interests of a better national future for his own people he unequivocally denied himself the opportunities of his own literary prospects. The news of the martyrs' deaths of his teacher, Dimitar Miladinov, and his brother Konstantin Miladinov was sufficient to make him leave his gleaming Athens, which he longed for and where he had had his greatest literary success, and to return hotfoot to Macedonia to carry on the national renaissance work of the brothers from Struga:



"One day the Deacon of the Russian Church in Athens said to me in a very mournful voice:

'The brothers from Struga have perished in the dark prisons of Constantinople and… perhaps they were poisoned. I read this today in the journal Dunavski Lebed (Danube Swan).' I stood like a statue, immobile, but in my heart I cursed the Greek spiritual estate. I gathered my things together… and set out with the firm resolve either to die or to avenge the Miladinovs."



Autobiography, pp, 77-78



Although the impression remains that this extremely gifted Macedonian poet could have created more extensive literary works, even with those works which we have Grigor Prlichev assumes a place at the head of Macedonian literature of the last century and can stand on an equal footing with the leading Yugoslav writers who were active in the same period.



Dr. TOME SAZDOV



NOTES:



1. B. Koneskl. Makedonska knizevnost (Macedonian Literature). Belgrade, 1961. p. 116.

2. H. Polenakovic. Stranici od makedonskata knizevnost (pages from Macedonian Literature). Skopje. 1952. p. 207.

3.To these translations of Prlichev's should be added his translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, which never got further than the manuscript.
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Below is taken from a Macedonian language page of Wikipedia. It is a speech that was made by Prlichev at the Exarchate school in Solun, on the occasion of the 1000 year anniversary of the death of Saint Methodius, brother of Saint Cyril.

Quote:
Благодарение Вам, мили мој колеги, что оставихте татковината си и дојдохте да послужите на нашата татковина, или подобро да кажа, на татковината на св. Кирил и Методиј, и да празднувате в самиј Солун праздникот на Солунските светии ... Оскудело нам мудрих мужеј число... Цели просветени држави во текот на педесет години одвај можат да произведат еден велик маж. Срдечно благодарение Вам, мили мои сотрудници, что дојдохте да целувате светата земја, дето стăпнали нозете на св. Кирил и Методија. Ниту нужда имаше от нашето благодарение. Доволно сте наградени от самата си сăвест. Даже и блаженство е вселено во срацата Ваши, дето служите на Кириловото отечество. Идењето Ваше во Солун надали е подолно од поклонение на Божиј гроб... којто ке произведе оште много Кириловци и Методиевци, които ке бăдат светила на училштата ни , ке бăдат благолепие на црквите ни, ке бăдат стăлпци на верата, и ке прославјат Македонското име... Повторувам, оти учителите не се должни да проповедаат. Тие дошле не за друго, освен да ги учат вашите деца да станат добри граѓани и да си ја подигнат татковината, оваа убавица Македонија, оваа топла и благодатна Македонија, оваа плодовита Македонија, која ги подарила светите Кирил и Методија. Не сте ли уверени, господа, оти нашата Македонија денеска е најдолна од сите земји во светот? Не е ли голем срам за Македонците, кои едно време преку Александра Великого го покорија целиот свет, кои после преку светите Кирил и Методија покрстија милиони Словени и ги просветија, денеска ние да бидеме најдолни од сиот свет во просвештението...[14][13][15].Мајка Македонија многу е ослабнета. Откако го породи великого Александра, откако ги породи светите Кирила и Методија, оттога мајка Македонија лежи на своето легло ужасно изнеможена, совршено примрена Мајка што родила великого сина надали ќе може да роди и другего? Затоа толку ретки се на светот великите мажи. Цели просветени држави во текот на педесет години одвај можат да произведат еден велик маж... [16].
Sources below:

13.↑ Отиди кај: 13,0 13,1 13,2 13,3 13,4 13,5 13,6 13,7 Д-р Блаже Ристовски, Кон проучувањето на солунските години на Прличев, Животот и делото на Григор Прличев, Зборник на трудови, Гоце Делчев, Скопје, 1986.
14.Следно ↑ Архив МАНУ, фонд Г.С. Прличев, арх. ед. 68.
15.Следно ↑ К. Г. Пърличев, Къмъ характеристиката на Гр. С. Пърличев (по спомени, сведения и документи) Македонски прегледъ, IV, 2, София, 1928, 116 - 118.
16.Следно ↑ Гане Тодоровски, „Македонската книжевност во 19 век“, стр. 158. 1990 Скопје
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