Longstocking and the long view Страница 2 of 3
are especially important at this point in Bulgaria's history; after the 'big change' and in the run-up to Bulgaria's accession to the European Union.
"This is very important for us now when we are building a 'modern society'. I think it's very important and very positive that many Bulgarian students - young people - can visit Sweden and come back to Bulgaria already well acquainted with the Swedish model of democracy, which is really a very well functioning model - not without problems of course - but it has proved that it's really pragmatic and it's also a subject of development - it's not static." The result of these exchanges is that when young people come back to Bulgaria, they think differently. "They have seen democracy in action, seen a society based on equality. That's why it is very important for us to have more and more students, not only in Scandinavian Studies, but more and more young people, go to Sweden and come back with this idea."
As well as taking Sweden as an example of a democratic political model to be learnt from, there are literary and artistic achievements to be shared. Professor Gancheva is currently co-ordinating the international bicentennial celebrations of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. More than 40 participants from countries including Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark and Russia took part in a conference on the author earlier this year. The celebrations continue throughout 2005 with many events including ballet performances based on The Red Shoes and The Emperor's New Clothes.
Also in the sphere of literature, Gancheva translated much-loved Swedish author Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking into Bulgarian; a service for which many Bulgarians must be extremely grateful, judging by the large amount of the population who cite this as a staple of their childhoods. "Pippi also contributed to this image of Scandinavia as space of freedom," says Gancheva, referring to Bulgarians' romantic notion of the region. "When Pippi came out in Bulgarian it was in the early 1970s, when we had another kind of society - more closed, more limited, highly ideological. And Pippi was considered as a kind of revolutionary. It was a book which really made an incentive for revolution, especially among young people, because Pippi speaks freely about everything. She created a revolution in Sweden and in other parts of Europe, but also in Bulgaria."
Gancheva is also involved in trying to get Bulgarian writers better known in Sweden. "There are Bulgarian authors who have been translated into Swedish, but not so many, unfortunately. We would like to have many Bulgarian authors known to Swedish readers. So, last year we organised a seminar dedicated to the latest events and trends and personalities in Swedish literature." The conference, organised with the help of the Swedish Institute; one of many j dedicated to Swedish literature and culture organised on a regular basis at the university, hosted well-known Swedish and Bulgarian writers. The main subject of the conference was: 'let's know each other better.'