Bulgarian Women Write the New European Subject: Emilia Dvorianova’s Zemnite Gradini na Bogoroditsa as a Response to Julia Kristeva’s Crisis of the European Subject

Margarita Marinova, Christopher Newport University
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Fall 2015), 379-401

In her essay “Europe Divided: Politics, Ethics, Religion,” Julia Kristeva investigates the many problems Europe has to overcome before becoming “united.” She elaborates a theory of difference that aims to illuminate the malady (the ailing Western European as well as the “fundamentally damaged” Orthodox subjects), and its potential cure: the profound transformation, or metanoia, of the (male) Orthodox self. Balkan male critics have taken issue with Kristeva’s theory, arguing that it ultimately reaffirms the primacy of the Western existence as “pure reason” and “civic nationalism.” This paper adds yet another dimension to the response to Kristeva’s construction of the Balkan abject, this time from a woman’s point of view. How does the female Orthodox subject creation differ from the male one? What is the price that Balkan women in particular have to pay if the transition to a unified Europe is to be successful? The article addresses these and similar questions in the context of a recent novel by a young Bulgarian female writer: Emilia Dvorianova’s Zemnite Gradini na Bogoroditsa (The earthly gardens of God’s mother).

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]