* < It is so great to know that 'the book ' has changed from the idea it was in the beginning, via the dummy, into the 'actual book' >   *4th page: Working on the dummy and the book  *6th page: Der Autor, das Projekt und seine Übersetzer.
  *2nd page:" The Landscape of 'SEPTEMVRI'   *5th page: To the binding of the 80 exx. of the actual book

*7th page: presentation in Burgas 1

*8th page: presentation in Burgas 2

*9th page: presentation in Burgas / Stara Zagaro

  *3rd page: Working on the pages

  Joseph's new Translation English

Vertaling Nederlands Joseph's nieuwe

*10th page: Press on the Project 

het landschap en Geo Milev and the landscape

De eerste potloodschetsen first draught (of the principals for the composition of the pages in pencil) for the lino-cuts.voor de compositie van Linosneden.

 Obviously chapter I has a functional-predominantly rural setting. A revolution that we, the readers, would be going to believe in comes from all and every corner, and from the very depth of the country side.
Milev draws further than that where he uses all aspects of the landscape of this specific country. A country of which he depicts a wide variety of details specific for a diversety of ecological circumstances tipical for a myriad of different individuals and social groups living there. All is indeed as pretty as 'our country' would be, but nothing is adorned.
From some longer tours when visiting Bulgaria, and crossing it in various directions I clearly recognize this country in the text, this vast plain between the grand but incredibly diverse mountains.
Milev needs us to see that it is not just one group, 'the agriculturalists' (at the time not all 'the farmers' but a political movement) that is in this revolution. He stresses that 'all the country' is in distress and moving towards the inevitable.

Voor dit deel geldt de Engelse tekst als de hoofdtekst.

 

Het ligt in dit gedicht welhaast voor de hand dat het moet beginnen in het diepst van het platteland; de geloofwaardigheid dat deze revolutie door alle lagen gesteund wordt is er door gedragen; maar Milev gaat veel dieper op het landschap en alle aspecten daarvan in.
Niet alleen tonen zo de details een schrijver die het land kent en ervan houdt, maar ze geven ons ook kennis van een land om van te houden, om vervolgens de besmeurde, maar schuldloze zijde te willen steunen.
Tijdens enkele langere reizen door Bulgarije, waarbij ik op verschillende manieren door het land trok, zag ik de in de tekst beschreven landschappen en herkende ze vrijwel direct.



The grand total of typified natural surroundings (mentioning even the most characteristic circumstances the land and its inhabitants endure - heat and frostbite) summons up to one grand movement under one grand sky, bringing forth the concluding words: "THE PEOPLE"; which is more than just those that are living there
Through chapter II, where Milev takes the theatrical setting, as much as the natural circumstance of 'the country as a plain held between the mountains' as an almost inevitable part of doom in the first and lost attempt into an all too simple solution, his argument involves the extra aspect of traditional believe in to the motivations in chapter III, where the landscape of 'blossoming Canaan' were, with or without succes, to be the ultimate aim.

At the end of chapter III sentences 41 - 44: With this 'Canaan' there, Geo Milev puts us right into his central argument on 'Fatherland'.
If anything has ever been arguable than it is the rightuousness of the one people to murder the other people in order to put things biblically/historically (or indeed for any other ill-advised reason) right.
The country 'Canaan' as such is known since the bronze age, and mentioned for the first time by the 2nd millenium B.C. Egyptians. It continues to be mentioned between them and the Hittites as the piece of land (not all to neatly bordered) they fight about.
Where the King James Bible gives (Gen. 28:1): "And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.", we could see the oncoming 'pogrom' of chapter IV sentece 4, where we are to know Sodom and Gomorrah to be Canaanite cities.
With the literairy trick of the 'blossoming' of this bloodstained country, it has somehow gained a positive ring to people's minds.

 Het geheel van getypeerde leefomgevingen, met zelfs de ermee verbonden hitte en kou, maakt éne grote in beweging gekomen massa onder een onverbrekelijk grootse hemel; leidend tot de woorden: "HET VOLK"
In hoofdstuk 2 schildert Milev zowel de theatrale setting, als het geheel van natuurlijke omstandigheden van de grote laagvlakte als geklemt tussen hooggebergten; het gegeven van de onontkoombare greep, waarin alles dat naar eenvoudige oplossingen streeft gehouden wordt. Zijn argumenten worden met verwijzing naar het klassieke geloof kracht bijgezet door het landschap van het 'Bloeiend Canaän' als ultiem doel te zien; met of zonder succes, en erger nog: met of zonder menselijke waarden en slechts gedekt door vertaalde delen van mondeling overgeleverde en geïnterpreteerde meer of minder door God ingegeven teksten, te bereiken.


Chapter VI, 'The Country'; after the towns and absolutely all and every body ­ and soul ­ has been drawn in, as to play a part, within the magnificent picture of the entire 'Balkan cradle', gives the overview of it all right, on to the most minute detail as one enormous body in which any aspect of 'the big' is in any aspect of 'the small' thus making 'the Whole'.  Hoofdstuk 5 toont, nadat de steden en echt iedereen met hart en ziel meegesleurd is, het magnifieke beeld van de 'Wieg van de Balkan' als ware het een totaal-over- (of zelfs in-)zicht; inzoemend op ieder minutieus detail om zo de gedachte te onderteunen (die in deze omgeving zijn oorsprong vond) dat 'alles in het kleine terug te vinden is in het grote'.


The landscape and the aspects of the landscape are not just there for a mere theatrical background or for metaphorical use - it shows and calls for sincere love for that special country where these special things are, with or without us, and that we all know as 'for all to love, though free', because it is an entity bigger than to have for personal gain.

For the translator working in English, there is a gift in chapter X, line 9: the actual bird spieces mentioned is 'raven' ­ all raven, rooks, and jays are in the crow family; Latin name: Corvidae; the raven is rather a solitary bird, or lives in very small groups. It is only when a flock of birds in this family is indeed referred to as 'crows' that we use the word 'murder' for a flock. Another aspect of the Corvidae is that these are to be seen as most intelligent having indeed a 'neostriatum' with the relative size of chimps and humans. Many functions of the dorsal-, and ventralstriatum make out the centre of what is pretty much 'where intelligence is to be measured'; or for that matter: decision making, and aspects of motivational and learning processes.
All right, I see that Milev only just might have needed the 'picture' of a minor flock of raven, but how appropriate all these extra's.

 Het landschap in al zijn precieze kleine hoekjes, tussen de bosjes en de in de bergspelonken, beschreven is net ten tonele gevoerd als achtergrond of metafoor - het roept op tot een liefde met mededogen voor dat wat van ons allen zou kunnen zijn om te genieten terwijl het van zichzelf blijft, omdat het een eigen entiteit is groter is dan te kunne bezitten en voor eigen gewin


A personal experience, making Milev's choices even clearer to me when he is picturing the scenes with which he tells the story - going above 'my personal landscape' ­ has been when I stayed on the borders of the Maritsa, for the inevitable making of coffee, and indeed saw the so much more 'heavy' water this great river seems to have comparing to other rivers. The heat of the afternoon was even stronger seeing the shepherd standing and dozing, tucked away ­ the herd spreading under the smaller coppices ­, under the bridge.

The scene in chapter XI does not just tell the story perfectly, it also shows Milev to be someone able to see as a painter or a camera-man, as well as reading the devastating powers these waters so often have, coming from the wild Rila mountains, and going between the Balkans' and the Rhodopes' mountains, being more Bulgarian than any of the other rivers ­ thus being the perfect metaphore, and indeed at the same time the love-spot of everyone ever to have been there. This is a river to bear every aspect of love and tragedy.

 Een aantal beelden die Milev gebruikt zijn me vooral duidelijk door mijn eigen ervaringen in het betreffende landschap. De oevers van de Maritsa ken ik en het water van die rivier is onmiskenbaar 'zwaarder' dan van andere; ook de grote akkers, en zeker die van na de oogst in September geven de beelden van hoofdstuk 11. Daarenboven is deze rivier, die als geen andere wordt geboren in het Rila gebergte en loopt tussen de Rhodopen en de Balkanrug, de bloedsomloop van Bulgarije - om tevens van welhaast uitgedroogd beekje tot allesverwoestende stroom te worden, die dan toch weer de vruchtbare grond brengt, waar op en uit het leven komt in beelden die een ieder kent van 'lievelingsplekken'; een herder was zo vriendelijk om onder een brug in de droogliggende kleigrond rond de rivier een dutje te doen toen ik er in zinderende hitte even koffie maakte.


Superbly over that are the chapter XI lines 59 ­- 65 showing the stretch of countryside surrounding some of the Maritsa in that 1923 September-time or indeed any other September when the picture is without the blemishes of that year but with the fruits of those grounds ­ the ripe pumpkins, and the stubbles after the corn has been harvested, all there to remind us for ever of how sad it is to desecrate such country as opposed to the beautiful picture one should cherish since that proverbial 'May', that were to be had, come into being.  Werkelijk indrukwekkend met betrekking daartoe zijn de zinnen 59 - 65 in hoofdstuk 11, waarin de stoppelvelden van langs de Maritsa als na de verschrikkelijke oogst van die september in 1923 hun treurige verschrikkingen laten zien in de natuurlijke beelden van ieder jaar waarin ze schuldloos de schoonheid tonen van de nazomer met de vruchten van de spreekwoordelijke mei die eraan vooraf heeft moeten gaan.


It seems to me that one could take out the 'troubled' sentences from Milev's 'Septemvri', and be left with a perfect and flawless poem describing the Bulgarian country-side, a pretty one for that.
From my (J.J. Visser) travel diary (night train from Burgas to Sofia):
With the size of The Netherlands the Balkan Plain kept between the wild rugged mountains lies dark and deeply hidden in a moon- and starless night. A dimming lightbulb here and there betrays the suggestion of a calm and empty, entirely rural vast where at day time shepherds gently walk from sheep-shade to a next wind-covering dry river-bedding with a few cows, sometimes goats, more often a dozen or so sheep (I overheard Frisian local farmers talk of 'the need for some 70 sheep to provide one with a modest income'), a rare donkey and indeed a seldom horse (mare and foal); with indeed their one sticked sheet, or cow-hide for tent/raincoat - plus cell phone. When nearer to Sofia at the crack of dawn the first light is indeed scattered on the harsh, now yellowish/redish, stoney tops - a laced border over a grey and still to be revealed 'all' with no particular promise - massive mountains riggs with snowy tops. There under a vast and endless plain lies still in total darkness - sheltered, kept prisoner between the riggs - Eons in the geological sense have washed the debris that resulted from the hars climate's working the stone, that magnificent, and ever so needed, bloody harsh sun beeing one of the elements in that climate that is known by all inhabitants to keep them in a sometimes tyring, never to escape, grip: and, oh dear - how lovely can it be to the roses! From the golden tiara's of the ancient warrior- and godly kings to the dust that mankind is made of (or is it the other way round) Europe's culture, mankind's dignity began here, where the Celts met the Thracians. Bulgaria's kings come from the Thracian clay, they are the produce of a succesful race of farmers / a humbled (climate is not exactly their doing if at all to be altered) field of sunflowers that somewhat sullenly follow the sun, hardly ever feeling the need, or find the courage, to look it in the face. Life is too much a burden to be so frivolous, and as such bears the fertility of a for ever and again procuring and toiling Adam and Eve toiling.
After the private view at Sacho's, and ,God has her soul, Julia's house together with the delightful Dimitar Tsanev family, the day-bus from Sofia to Burgas showed us all the different occupations and places where even today (too many of us seem to think that 'the past' is something unreal) most workmen's tools are primitive and far away from computered sophistication. (the train left only after a good old hammer-cheque - the small sledge hammer that so easily transform into a deadly weapon - unthinkable in my Talis-ridden country where workplaces, gardens and poorer housing had to go for 'the future', something I do not oppose to as a principal as for instance that housing that is built to rehouse those coming from the demolished ones certainly ar better.
I'm left with pondering about the question: do we actually know sunflowers from before Van Gogh, when in his struggle for the grand in God's minor creatures?
This 'May' might have Milev's 'May' of 1921 Het zou Milev's 'Mei' van 1921 kunnen zijn.

The Milev Project in progress / Het Milev Project krijgt vorm


 Here are few of the first sentences from:

We used to know springtime, and summer, and all such seasons

We used to know May

We used to know the first warm breathes of the seaside air as a canopy above us

(a verry free translation of some first lines to have an impression)
Willingly Milev plays within the tradition of the 'new year wishes' as we know them to have come down from midæval times: the 'Ecco Maggio dei bel Fiore' tradition in Italy.
Here, as in all his work, he takes us by the hand on this journey through literature, his little comments changing our 'saver' views.
1921 gives little room for such 'sure matters' that could live 'simple and unprotected'. But there surely is this fight to regain some of it, most wanted of course the humanistic values, as they have come to us by the words of the first of the humanists:

Angelo Poliziano

BEN VENGA MAGGIO

Ben venga maggio
e il gonfalon selvaggio!
Ben venga primavera! Che l'uomo si innamori
e voi donzelle a schiera
con li vostri amatori! Che di rose e fiori
vi fate belle in maggio.

Ben venga maggio
E il gonfalon selvaggio
Venite alla frescura
delli verdi arbuscelli!
Ogni bella è sicura
Fra tanti damigelli;
che le fiere e gli uccelli
ardono d'amore in maggio

Ben venga maggio
E il gonfalon selvaggio

Chi è giovane e bella
Deh non sie punto acerba
Che non si rinnovella
L'età come fa l'erba:
nessuna stia suberba
all'amadore il maggio

Ben venga maggio
E il gonfalon selvaggio...

 enkele beginzinnen uit:

Een kleine expressionistische kalender van 1921 - deeltje vijf: Mei

Weet je nog, lente, en zomer, en al die seizoenen

Weet je nog, mei

Weet je nog die eerste ademtocht komend uit zee, als een deken over ons allen.

 

(een wel erg vrije, schetsmatige vertaling voor een eerste indruk)
Uiteraard speelde Milev heel bewust binnen de traditie van de 'nieuwjaarsgedichten' zoals we die internationaal kennen van middeleeuwen en rederijkers en hier met name met de 'Ecco Maggio dei bel Fiore' traditie van mei-liederen in Italië.
In 1921 is het waarlijk onmogelijk nog 'vrije zekerheden' en 'onbeschermde hoop' te hebben op een 'nieuw begin' maar het recht erop wordt gepoogd te heroveren; vergelijk het, nadrukkelijk - en als zodanig eerste - humanistische, gedicht van Angelo Poliziano:

BEN VENGA MAGGIO

Ben venga maggio
e il gonfalon selvaggio!
Ben venga primavera! Che l'uomo si innamori
e voi donzelle a schiera
con li vostri amatori! Che di rose e fiori
vi fate belle in maggio.

Ben venga maggio
E il gonfalon selvaggio
Venite alla frescura
delli verdi arbuscelli!
Ogni bella è sicura
Fra tanti damigelli;
che le fiere e gli uccelli
ardono d'amore in maggio

Ben venga maggio
E il gonfalon selvaggio

Chi è giovane e bella
Deh non sie punto acerba
Che non si rinnovella
L'età come fa l'erba:
nessuna stia suberba
all'amadore il maggio

Ben venga maggio
E il gonfalon selvaggio...

Conclusion:
It is my personal believe that Geo Milev, so deeply aware of the need for a next step after the Humanism of the Renaisance, and at the same time a traditionalist by heart ­ caring for the good history had brought mankind ­ wanted to build steadily on the work done by the many European artists and philosophers.
Milev did not want to be a revolutionairy in the footsteps of the Enlightenment, certainly he did not see 'disruption for the greater good' fit. He knew the deeply bourgeois `French Revolution to show the 'greater good' to be a dangerous evil, and as such thouroughly opposing the general believe that 'human history is a record of general progress'. 'Tabula rasa' was not one of Milev's ideas, as goes for 'reason', skepticism, and materialism as such. He is all about 'awareness of one's relative position', and 'being answerable' in it.
In Geo Milev I recognize, with all possible mistakes, one of the real great modern European artists to shape our thinking

April 2011, Joseph J. Visser

Teksten en beeldmateriaal onder beschermd copyright van Joseph J. Visser

texts and pictures under protected copyright of Joseph J. Visser

Thomas Siemon, publisher: printing & typography; final decisions.
Joseph J. Visser, publisher & initiator of this project: translations (Bulgarian into English & Dutch), lino cuts, & advices on colour and binding.
Monika Götze, translator of literature Dutch - German: translation (into German), & critical ear.

Het project is, met enige trots, en zoals het dit project betaamde, geheel zonder subsidies tot stand gekomen.

 * < It is so great to know that 'the book ' has changed from the idea it was in the beginning, via the dummy, into the 'actual book' >   *4th page: Working on the dummy and the book  *6th page: Der Autor, das Projekt und seine Übersetzer.
  *2nd page:" The Landscape of 'SEPTEMVRI'   *5th page: To the binding of the 80 exx. of the actual book

*7th page: presentation in Burgas 1

*8th page: presentation in Burgas 2

*9th page: presentation in Burgas / Stara Zagaro

  *3rd page: Working on the pages

  Joseph's new Translation English

Vertaling Nederlands Joseph's nieuwe

*10th page: Press on the Project 

 

INDEX