The Institute for Literature was founded in 1948, as a section of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences by the academicians Nikolay Raynov, Elin Pelin, Lyudmil Stoyanov, Konstantin Petkanov, Nikolay Liliev and Petar Dinekov. The directors of the Institute were as follows:
- Acad. Nikolay Raynov (1948-1949)
- Acad. Lyudmil Stoyanov (1949-1957)
- Acad. Georgi Tzanev (1958-1962)
- Prof. Stoyko Bozhkov (1962-1973)
- Corr.Mem. Toncho Zhechev (1974-1982)
- Acad. Ephrem Karanfilov (1982-1988)
- Prof. Boyan Nichev (1988-1991)
- Prof. Stefan Kozhuharov (1992-1999)
- Assoc. Prof. Raya Kuncheva, PhD (1999-2011)
- Assoc. Prof. Elka Traykova, PhD (2012-)
The Institute for Literature at the BAS is a research center for Bulgarian Literature from the Middle Ages to the present day, in its theoretical, historical, cultural and comparative aspects. European, Asian, African and Australian Literatures are also examined at the Institute.
The main areas of research at the Institute are: Old Bulgarian Literature, Bulgarian Renaissance Literature, Modern and Contemporary Bulgarian Literature, Theory of Literature, Comparative Literature and Bibliographical Studies.
The Institute publishes several periodicals: Literaturna Misal journal, founded in 1957, Starobulgarska Literatura series, started in 1971 and Scripta & e-Scripta journal, started in 2003.
The study of literary process of particular periods presents Bulgarian literature through its greatest authors and works, as well as through changes in style, poetics, reception and different conceptions on the literature and its function. Academic issues of Bulgarian and foreign authors are released as monographs and comparative studies.
Among the eminent editions of the Institute are the Cyrillo-Methodian Encyclopedia (4 vols.), the Dictionary of Bulgarian Literature (3 vols.) and the Dictionary of Modern Bulgarian Literature. They are essential reference books for every specialist in the field of palaeoslavistics, slavistics and Bulgarian Studies. A substantial part of the research conducted at the Institute is published as numerous scholarly works on the main aspects of Bulgarian literature. Periodicals and Literature is a several-volume edition of studies on the Bulgarian culture which presents literature process in the periodicals and journals after the Liberation. The series Reception of the European Literatures translated in Bulgarian (6 vols.-) entitles a systematic research on the dissemination of the English, Russian, Antique, Scandinavian, Baltic, Balkan, and Slavic literatures in Bulgaria. Another major editions are the forthcoming Encyclopedic Dictionary of Modern Bulgarian Literature (3 vol.), Encyclopedia of Bulgarian Renaissance, and Dictionary of Bulgarian writers. More than 40 volumes containing literary investigations on various generations of writers, poets and literary critics have been released to date.
The latest methods available in the humanities are applied in the scientific researches at the Institute for Literature. A special program has been created for electronic description of Old Slavic manuscripts,for computer processing of Medieval Slavonic texts and for creation of an electronic data base of Old Bulgarian Literature.
The Institute projects aim on studying, preservation and popularization of Bulgarian literary heritage and the modern Bulgarian Literature and culture, as well as representing them in an international context.
The Institute for Literature collaborates in joint research projects with institutes from Great Britain (The British Library - London, Research Institute for the Humanities at Keele University), Austria (The Institute for Slavonic Studies at the University of Vienna), Poland (Institute for Literary Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences), Slovakia (Institute of World Literature at the Slovakian Academy of Sciences), Romania (Institute of History and Theory of Literature 'G. Kalinescu' at the Romanian Academy of Sciences), Czech Republic (Slavonic Institute at the Czech Academy of Sciences), Hungary (Institute of Literary Science at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Russia (Institute of Slavic Studies, The Institute of Russian Literature (the Pushkin House), St. Petersburg), Sweden (Universities of Göteborg and Uppsala) and Finland (Finish Academy of Sciences), Serbia (The Institute for Literature and Arts), Slovenia (The Scientific Research Centre at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) Macedonia (The Institute for Macedonian Literature - Skopje), Georgia (Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature - Tbilisi).
More than 114 000 issues are available at the Institute’s Library – books, periodicals and series in the field of the literary theory, linguistics, philosophy, folklore, culture, science, education, social studies (sociology, art criticism, politics, military studies, history, biographies), as also fiction and child’s literature. The whole Library fund can be used every day in the reading room.
The Institute address: