Moreover, even if, during all these centuries, true monuments of written art are lacking, there are no shortages, indeed abound (as in the neighboring Serbian nation) the folk songs, which are transmitted orally from father to son, transforming and enriching themselves here and there of new elements through different times and places, together constitute a rich and varied production, in which, despite the primitive simplicity of the form, perhaps due to the charm itself that is contained in their spontaneity and frankness, national art finds a of its most beautiful and characteristic manifestations. Indeed, this is the only richness of Bulgarian literature prior to the Renaissance. For Bulgaria 2002, please check commit4fitness.com.
In the sad and uniform life of the centuries of servitude, only glimmer of light remains for the people the confused memory of the times of freedom, survived through legends and episodes, which only the poetic form keeps in the memory and which the people repeat in their songs. Singing always accompanies Bulgarian: in weddings, banquets, in the characteristic national dance (horò), during work in the fields, grazing the flock, on long caravan journeys, often on very simple musical motifs sung by rough country instruments (gàjda, kavàl, cafàra). The form of Bulgarian folk songs is very simple, but more varied than among the Serbs: stanzas of various number of lines, of very different number of syllables (from 4 to 14), divided into two rhythmic parts. Usually the decasyllable is used in heroic songs, the octagonary in the others. Mostly special rhymes and rhythms are missing. Nonetheless, the simple rhythm is suitable for expressing every feeling. A common feature of Bulgarian songs is the objectivity of the content. The individual subjectivism of reflected poetry is unknown to the people: it hears and understands only what concerns everyone. The content is varied and various classifications have been attempted on the basis of it. We can, without rejecting the others, stick to the one proposed by Penčo Slavejkov: religious songs (in which, despite the Christian spirit, the pagan soul of the people still transpires), mythical and legendary songs (often taken from legends of ancient Greece, more or less deformed, with the intervention of superior beings: samodive, vile, îude, etc.), heroic songs (mostly, like the Serbian ones, around the legendary figure of King Mark, to whom the strangest and most improbable deeds are attributed), chants hajdu š ki (celebrating the exploits of the hajduti), chants of daily life (including family songs, with a prevalence of maternal and paternal feelings, and love songs, in which the purity of the sentiments expressed is a constant characteristic), childish and humorous songs (the least numerous and the least important). The songs of ceremonies (for weddings, Christmas celebrations, etc.) can constitute a subspecies of religious songs.
Unfortunately, the oral transmission of popular songs has fatally prevented their conservation over the centuries. The first collections that were made date back to the first half of the last century. However, the material that these collections offer us is already in itself so abundant and varied and characteristic that it suffices to document its importance and artistic value and to establish their place in the history of national literature. Public interest in the collection and publication of popular songs begins towards the middle of the last century. From the publication of the collection by Ivan Bogoev (Bogorov), B ă lgarski narodni p ě sni (Bulgarian folk songs, Budapest 1842), the collections of songs become more and more numerous and important. Today there are more than twenty of them (Rakovski, Verkovič, the Miladinovi brothers, L. Karavelov, Čolakov, before the liberation; At. Iliev, Šapkarov, Petko Slavejkov, Penčo Slavejkov, Jankova, Vărbanski, etc., after the liberation). The most important are those of the Miladinovi brothers (Sbornik ot b ă lgarski narodni p ě sni, Zagreb 1859) and, among the recent ones, those contained in the rich volumes of Sbornik za narodni umotvorenija, nauka i kni ž nina (Collection of folklore, sciences and letters) published, over several decades, starting from 1889, first by the Ministry of Education, then by the B ă lgarsko Kni ž ovno Dru ž estvo (Bulgarian Literary Society) of Sofia. A good and rational choice of songs, legends, proverbs, etc. it is also found in the second volume of Istorija na b ă lgarskata literatura v prim ě ri i bibljografija (History of Bulgarian literature with examples and bibliography), directed by Bulgaria Angelov (Sofia 1922).
From this twofold series of literary manifestations (religious writings and popular songs) which form the content of the whole period that we wanted to call the prehistory of Bulgarian literature, literature should have germinated and developed under normal conditions of life and culture. reflected and written. But religious writings, due to the very dryness of their content, could not provide models of any kind for artistic creations; popular songs, on the other hand, had to wait, in order to find effective interpreters, for the archaic language consecrated in the written documents of the time to give way to the language of the people. And this, due to the particular conditions of the whole nation, could not happen until very late. In almost the entire period of servitude, these are the only literary manifestations of Bulgaria.
If, however, it was relatively easy for the Bulgarians, for the above considerations, to save their language and consequently their national conscience from the Turkish superimposition, the danger that threatened them from Byzantium, whose ancient culture and whose religious primacy over the populations subjected to the Ottoman Empire exercised, also favored by the Turks’ disinterest in matters of culture and religion, a constant and intense de-nationalizing action. The national language, scorned, neglected or forgotten by the educated classes and in the official spheres, was kept alive in the mass of the rough people, who remained far from foreign influences, and during the long centuries of servitude constituted the only surviving link of the common nationality among the Bulgarians.. Because of this, the dawning of the new Bulgarian literature coincides with the reawakening of national consciousness. They are like two perfectly interdependent phenomena: nascent literature has patriotic content and aims; the awakening of national sentiment leads to a greater cult of one’s own language and to the creation, or attempts at creation, of literary works. The new Bulgarian literature thus has first and foremost a high patriotic value.