WEMSK35b:Old South Slavic Literatures

             WEMSK35b - Old South Slavic Literatures

[South Slavic literature consists of that of Macedonia, Bulgaria,
Yugoslavia and Slovenia.  As Horace Lunt says in his contribution
to The Early Versions of the New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger
(Oxford: OUP, 1977), 442: "The history of the known O. C. S. and
other early Slavonic Gospel manuscripts is still very obscure," as,
indeed, is the history of the early South Slavic literatures.  A
very thorny problem is the assignment of works to a particularly
tradition, one man's Macedonian may be another's Bulgarian or even

1. Guenther Wytrzens, Bibliographische Einfuehrung in das Studium
der slawischen Literaturen. Zeitschrift fuer Bibliothekswesen und
Bibliographie, Sonderheft 13 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1972).
Continued by his: Bibliographie der der literarwissenschaftlichen
Slavistik, 1970-1980. Zeitschrift fuer Bibliothekswesen und
Bibliographie, Sonderheft 36 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1982). See
also his short monograph: Bibliographische Materialien zur
Geschichte der literaturwissenshcaftlichen Slavistik. Bibliographie
von Schriftenverzeichnissen (Vienna: Institut fuer Slawistik,

                          Church Slavic

a. A good survey and introduction: Bruce M. Metzger, "The Old
Church Slavonic Version," The Early Versions of the New Testament
(Oxford: OUP, 1977), 394-442.

b. A nice easy introduction, with literature in second place and
thought: Alexander M. Schenker, The Dawn of Slavic: An Introduction
to Slavic Philology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996).  Good

c. Another good book to read through: Alexander M. Schenker and
Edward Stankiewicz, The Slavic Literary Languages: Formation and
Development. Yale Russian and East European Publications 1 (New
Haven: Yale Concilium on International and Area Studies, 1980;
distributed by Slavica Publishers). A series of articles on the
various literary languages, each by a recognized authority.  Good
bibliography.  Not all, of course, in our period.

                     South Slavic in General

a. [Alexandr N.] Pypine et [Vladimir D.] Spasovic, Histoire des
litteratures slaves, transl. Ernest Denis. Bibliotheque Slave
(Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1881). Vol. 1 is on bulgares, serbo-croates,
yougo-russes.  The terminology is often quite a problem, but it is
one of the golden oldies and not at all hard to read.

b. Matthias Murko, Geschichte der aelteren suedslawischen
Literaturen. Beitraege zur Kenntnis Suedosteuropas und des Nahen
Orients 12 (Leipzig: Ameland, 1908; repr. Munich: Trofenik, 1971).
An old standby.

c. Josef Karasek, Slavische Literaturgeschichte. 1. Teil. Aeltere
Literatur bis zur Wiedergeburt. Sammlung Goeschen 277 (Leipzig:
Goeschen, 1906). If you run across this one, do not throw it away;
it makes a good quick read and survey.

d. A good Forschungsbericht, easy to read and use: Henrik Birnbaum,
"Toward a Comparative Study of Church Slavic Literature," in his On
Medieval and Renaissance Slavic Writing. Selected Essays (The
Hague: Mouton, 1974), 1-40.

e. A fair survey and a quick read: Dmitrij Chizhevskij, Comparative
History of Slavic Literature, tr. Richard Noel Poeter and Martin P.
Rice, ed. Serge A. Zenkovsky (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University
Press, 1971), pp. 1-60. Just generalities.

f. Robert H. Burger and Helen F. Sullivan, Eastern Europe: A
Bibliographic Guide to English Language Publications, 1986-1993
(Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1995). Also available online:

g. Old, but still good to look at: Language and Area Studies. East
Central and Southeastern Europe: A Survey, ed. Charles Jelavich
(Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1969). With a good section on
"Literature" (William E. Harkins), on "Folklore and
Ethnomusicology" (Albert B. Lord and David E. Bynum), and on
"Musicology" (Milosh Velimirovic).


[I thought I might list a few journals of interest.  The list is
far from exhaustive. The Slavic Library at the University of
Illinois receives over 1000 Slavic journals. Looking at the ones
listed here, when available, will help you keep up.]

1. Slavic Review (American Association for the Advancement of
Slavic Studies, 1941-).

2. Slavic and East European Journal (AATSEEL, 1957-).

3. East European Quarterly (University of Colorado, 1967-).

4. Canadian Slavic Studies (Canadian Association of Slavists, 1956-

5. Slavonic and East European Review (MHRA, 1922-).

6. Revue des etudes slaves (Institut d'Etudes Slaves, 1921-).

7. Zeitschrift fuer slavische Philologie (Winter, 1930-).

8. Die Welt der Slaven (Otto Sagner, 1956-). Each issue has a
Slavistische Bibliographie.

9. Zeitschrift fuer Slawistik (Akademie Verlag, 1956-).

10. Ricerche slavistiche (Rome, 1952-).

11. International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics
(Slavica, 1959-76, 1981-).

12. Scando-Slavica (Munksgaard, 1955-)


1. General survey: Horace Lunt, "A Survey of Macedonian
Literature," Harvard Slavic Studies 1 (1953), 363-396.

2. Macedonian Review (Skopje, 1971-). This is a good journal to
keep up with.  Nice articles, indexed in MLA, sometimes right on
with our subject, e. g. Mihailo Georgievski, "Literature in
Macedonia from the 11th to the 14th Centuries," MR 22 (1992), 13-
24, a good general survey.


1. Histories of Literature:

a. The best history of literature is: Donka Petkanova,
Starobulgarska literatura IX-XVIII vek (Sofia: Universitetsko
Izdatelstvo "Kliment Okhridski", 1992).  Excellent bibliographical
supplement, pp. 570-602.

b. In English: Charles A. Moser, A History of Bulgarian Literature,
865-1944. Slavistic Printings and Reprintings 112 (The Hague:
Mouton, 1972). Thin.

c. Georgi Tsanev, et al. Rechnik na bulgarska literatura, 3 vols.
(Sofia: BAN, 1976-82). Alphabetical. Also articles on Old

2. Chrestomathies:

a. Monumenta Bulgarica: Thomas Butler, A Bilingual Anthology of
Bulgarian Texts from the 9th to the 19th Centuries. Michigan Slavic
Materials 41 (Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1996).  Best
point of departure; original texts with facing page translation.
Bibliography 617-627.

b. Xristomatiia po starobulgarska literatura, ed. Petur Dinekov,
Kyio Kuev and Donka Petkanova, 3d ed. (Sofia: Izdatelstvo Nauka i
Izkustvo, 1974).  Good intros and bibliography.

3. Journals: [Old Bulgarian enjoys the existence of two journals]:

a. Starobulgarska Literatura, Sofia, 1968-.  With a yearly
bibliography. Last issue vol. 31 (1999). Most articles are in
Bulgarian, but occasionally one in a Western language. Not in

b. Palaeobulgarica. Starobulgaristika, Sofia, Bulgarska Adademiia
na Naukite, 1977-.


1. General bibliography:

a. Francine Friedman, Yugoslavia: A Comprehensive English-Language
Bibliography (Wilmington, DL: Scholarly Resources, 1993).

b. Valentin Leskovsek, Yugoslavia: A Bibliography. Studia Slovenica
9- (NY: Studia Slovenica, 1974-). Literature is treated in vol. 2,

c. George J. Prpic, Croatia and the Croatians: A Selected and
Annotated Bibliography in English (Scottsdale, AZ: Associated Book
Publishers, 1982).

2. Translations: Yugoslav Literature in English: A Bibliography of
Translations and Criticism, 1593-1980, ed. Vasa D. Mihailovich and
Mateja Matejic, 2d ed. (Columbus, OH: Slavica, 1984). First
supplement, 1988. 2d supplement, 1992.

3. Chrestomathy: Thomas Butler, Monumenta Serbocroatica. A
Bilingual Anthology of Serbian and Croatian Texts from the 12th to
the 19th Century. Michigan Slavic Publications 6 (Ann Arbor:
Michigan Slavic Publications, 1980).  Facing page translations.
Begins with the Proglas `Prologue' of Constantine, written before
869. Introduction, some commentary, bibliography.  On the whole
quite serviceable.

4. Rulers' lives.  The lives of Serbian kings form a particular
genre within Yugoslav literature.  See: Serbisches Mittelalter.
Altserbische Herrscherbiographien, ed. Stanislas Hafner, 2 vols.
Slavische Geschichtsschreiber 2, 9 (Graz: Styria, 1962, 1976).
Translation and commentary.

5. Later reflexes. [Serbo-Croatian or, more particularly, Serbian
poetry offers, as usual, some reflexes of earlier poetry, somewhat
like the Danish Ballad does].

a. Much of the investigation of Serbian folk poetry was stimulated
by the work of Milman Parry and by Albert B. Lord's The Singer of
Tales (Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature 24, 1960) and his
theory of oral poetry and its influence on written poetry.  See:
John Miles Foley, Oral-Formulaic Theory and Research. An
Introduction and Annotated Bibliography. Garland Folklore
Bibliographies 6 (NY: Garland, 1985). Stichtag 1981. Over 1400
items. Useful introduction.

b. John S. Miletich, The Bugarstica. A Bilingual Anthology of the
Earliest South Slavic Folk Narrative Song. Illinois Medieval
Monographs 3 (Urbana: U of Illinois Press, 1990). Translation, some
commentary, bibliography.  A good point of departure.

c. For our Albanian friends: Stavro Skendi, Albanian and South
Slavic Oral Epic Poetry. Memoirs of the American Folklore Society
44 (Philadelphia, 1954).

3. Histories of Literature:

a. Antun Barac, A History of Yugoslav Literature (Belgrade:
Committee for Foreign Cultural Relations of Yugoslavia, 1955; also
issued from Ann Arbor: Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures,
1976). The standard history in English. Contains a chapter on

b. Milan Kasanin, Srpska knjizevnost u srednjem veku (Belgrade:
Prosveta, 1975).

c. Josip Leonard Tandaric, Hrvatsko-glagoljska liturgijska
knjizevnost: rasprave i prinosi (Zagreb: Krscanska sadasnjost:
Provincijalat franjevaca trecoredaca, 1993).

c. Dmitrije Bogdanovic, Istorija stare srpske knjizevnosti
(Belgrade: Srpska knjizevna zadruga, 1980). Cf. also vol. 1 of his
Istorija crpske knjizevnosti (Belgrade: NK, 1991). Good


1. Corpus. Listed with good bibliography and some facsimiles in:
Nikolai Mikhailov, Fruehslowenische Sprachdenkmaeler. Die
handschriftliche Periode der slowenischen Sprache (XIV. Jh. bis
1550). Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics 26 (Amsterdam:
Rodopi, 1998).

2. History of literature: Anton Slodnjak, Geschichte der
slowenischen Literatur. Slavischer Grundriss (Berlin: de Gruyter,

3. Bibliography: Valentin Leskovsek, Slovenia: A Bibliography in
Foreign Languages, 4 vols. Studia Slovenica 16- (New York : Studia
Slovenica, 1990-).