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“Empire of Hunger”: between Irony and Ideology

Maria Ruseva

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”



The main objective of this article is to analyze the literary portrait of The Land of the Rising Sun created in the Svetoslav Minkov’s travelogue “Empire of Hunger” (1952). The text analyzes how Japan’s negative depiction is achieved by means of ironic distance toward the so-called “capitalist” and “imperialist” Japan. The ironic approach allows for a broader panoramic view of Japanese society instead of unilaterally portraying the life of the Japanese workers who sympathize with the communist idea. The text argues that the book can be seen as a symptomatic example of the inexorable way the socialistic power affects the field of literature in the years 1944-1956, when the most rigorous ideological control was introduced in Bulgaria.

Key words: travel, Japan, Svetoslav Minkov, irony, ideology

*The article has been submitted for publication in the proceedings of the research conference “Paisii Annual Readings”, November 10 – 11, 2022.