Georgi Gospodinov, Dr.


Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Born in 1968 in Yambol, Bulgaria
Studied Bulgarian Philology at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski


The First Fear (a novel)

How do fears change over a century …? How do fears shape our century …?
What I've started is a novel of exploration, but also a personal book on the great fears, historical and deeply intimate, and their evolution during the 20th century and in the new millennium. Fear keeps alive the child in each of us. So the question of fear is also a question of childhood. How do our basic fears change against the backdrop of history? That is what I will try to find out through the characters and the plot lines of this book.
Childhood has a special power to observe, a capacity to see the world in detail, perhaps because in the beginning the child's point of view is as tall as a tulip. We know that childhood is a relatively recent phenomenon. In Antiquity and the Middle Ages, children were perceived as smaller adults. But in turbulent historical moments, including in the 20th and 21st century, childhood disappears again. The (hi)story of the century could be written based on the child on the run, the abandoned child, the refugee child of today and their fears.
A few years ago, I was invited for a semester at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. I proposed a course "Childhood and Ideology in Traumatic Moments of the 20th Century", a theme that has always haunted me and my writing.
One day, I assigned my students the task of describing their first childhood fear – half a page, maybe more, as much as the fear would allow them. The next assignment was to gather their mothers' and fathers' childhood fears. The third stage was to question their living grandparents. Thus, we reached fears from another age. Many of the students had heard their parents' and grandparents' fears for the first time. We gathered a small corpus of three generations' memories of fear: the current dreads, the Cold War anxieties of the parents, the war and post-war traumas of the grandparents. A small drawer of fear. A fear file.
I imagine this real situation fictionally developed in the future novel, accumulating various personal voices and stories.

Recommended Reading

Gospodinov, Georgi. 8 Minuten und 19 Sekunden (short stories). Graz: Droschl, 2016. First published as: I vsicko stana luna. Plovdiv: Žanet 45, 2013.
-. The Physics of Sorrow (novel). Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2015. First published as: Fizika na tagata. Plovdiv: Žanet 45, 2012. German: Physik der Schwermut. Graz: Droschl, 2014.
-. Natural Novel (novel). Dalkey Archive Press, 2005. First published as: Estestven roman. Plovdiv: Žanet 45, 2000. German: Natürlicher Roman. Graz: Droschl, 2007.

Publikationen aus der Fellowbibliothek

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Berlin, 2017)
Lapidarium Lapidarium

Gospodinov, Georgi ( München, 2016)
Physik der Schwermut : Roman Fizika na tagata

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Graz, 2016)
8 Minuten und 19 Sekunden : Erzählungen I vsichko stana luna

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Rochester, NY, 2015)
The physics of sorrow Fizika na tŭgata

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Köln, Weimar, Wien, 2010)
Die Geschwindigkeit der Seele

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Graz, 2010)
Kleines morgendliches Verbrechen : Gedichte Baladi i razpadi <dt.>

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Graz, 2007)
Natürlicher Roman Estestven roman <dt.>

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Evanston, Ill, 2007)
And other stories I drugi istorii <engl.>

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Sofija, 2006)
Inventarna kniga na socializma, 1956 - 1989; 1989-

Gospodinov, Georgi ( Normal, IL, 2005)
Natural novel Estestven roman <engl.>


8 Minuten und 19 Sekunden