Personalism and Bulgarian Identity Discourse Between the Two World Wars (A Preliminary Exploration

Jordan Ljuckanov


In this paper I investigate the compatibility between personalist philosophy and the Bulgarian identity discourse between the two World Wars. Having outlined the variability and conceptual tensions (on “collective personality,” e.g.) within Russian and French personalism(s) of the 1910s-1940s, I delineate four prerequisites for emerging and adopting personalism in interwar Bulgaria: (1) the post-idealist crisis of identities and identifications; (2) the reception of foreign personalist (or close to such) philosophy; (3) the reassessment of “home” (East-Christian) theological tradition and its philosophical implications; (4) the discovery of someone “other” needed worthy of being recognised as (collective) “Thee.” Postponing the exploration of the third prerequisite for a subsequent study, I conclude so far that within interwar Bulgarian secular thought only random juxtapositions between personalism and identity discourse can be expected, and I examine three such cases.


personalism; collective identity; Byzantium after Byzantium; morphology of history; conservative avant-garde; Bulgarian intellectual culture 1919–1944

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236