Mila Krasteva

The Passport of Malakov



In 1864 P. R. Slaveikov wrote the play “Malakova” that was publicised in his newspaper called “Gayda” (‘Bagpipe’). In that play (as in many other texts that had different genres) the writer showed that in the “grammar of fashion” malakov (hoop skirt) formed his own specific paradigm and “worked” with а specific language, with a specific description of events and characters.

Our analysis tries to clarify:

  • what kind of mystification is Мalakov;

  • where do the Bulgarian Renaissance people find it;

  • how do they bring it at home;

  • how do the people make their hypothesis about its characteristics;

  • what do they think about the new West European fashion which takes possession in their life and so on.

We try to analyse also the structure and cultural meanings that in Slaveikov’s texts change the simple word malakov (hoop skirt) into a phenomenon for the identification of slavish imitation of foreign fashions.

The analysis insists also that Slaveikov is not so conservative interpreter of Fashion because he describes the West European Modernity not only as a threat (1) but also as a necessity that the Bulgarian Renaissance people can’t escape from (2). Describing the first plan of Modernity Slaveikov enriches the Bulgarian Renaissance culture with the metaphor of the monstrosity and describing the second plan he uncovers the metaphor of the masquerade.


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