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Elisaveta Bagriana (1893–1991)

Author of Penelope of the Twentieth Century: Selected Poems of Elisaveta Bagryana

Includes the names: Elisaveta Bagryana

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Elisaveta Lyubomirova Belcheva first began writing poetry as a child living with her family in Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. She worked as a teacher in the rural village of Aftani from 1910 to 1911, after which she studied Slavic philology at Sofia University. Her first poems were published in 1915 in the magazine Contemporary Thought. By the end of World War I, she was active in literary circles and collaborated on the magazine Modernity, among other publications. After joining the staff of the literary periodical Zlatorog (Golden Horn) in 1922, she adopted the pseudonym Elisaveta Bagryana. Her first marriage to a military officer was unhappy, and in 1924 she married secondly her former teacher and mentor, Boyan Penev. She published a collection of verse entitled Vechna i suyatata (The Eternal and the Saint) in 1927, and Zvezda na moryaka (Sailor's Star) in 1932. She strenuously advocated freedom for women and travelled widely. Today she is considered a founder of modern Bulgarian literature, and her works have been translated into more than 30 languages. In 1969, she won a gold medal from the National Association of Poets in Rome. Her poems are most recently available in a book entitled Penelope of the Twentieth Century: Selected Poems of Elisaveta Bagryana, translated by Brenda Walker.
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