The Institute employs expert researchers who carry out its mission together with colleagues from both the national scientific network and scholars from around the world in the following areas:
- medieval studies
- literature of the Bulgarian Revival
- new and contemporary literature
- theory of literature
- comparative studies
- Russian studies
- source studies
The long-term research experience and the scientific potential of the Institute allow for the realization of fundamental scientific projects, requiring team work of highly qualified specialists. Unique encyclopedic and reference editions such as The Cyril and Methodius Encyclopedia (4 vols.), Dictionary of Bulgarian Literature (3 vols.), Dictionary of New Bulgarian Literature (1995), Periodicals and Literature (6 vols.), History of the Reception of Translations of European Literatures in Bulgaria” (6 vols.), Periodicals of the Russian Emigration in Bulgaria, Encyclopedia of the Bulgarian Revival. Literature. Periodic Printing. Literary Life. Cultural Centers (3 vols.), Literary Archive (9 vols.), 40 surveys with prominent Bulgarian writers and critics and many other collective scientific publications have been published.
The Institute of Literature carries out literary-historical, comparative research and theoretical works aimed at the analytical study of the Bulgarian literary heritage as part of the European culture and in dialogue with the rest of the world literatures. These activities are carried out by employing current research approaches as well as by taking advantage of modern technologies. Through such a prism, literary history and modernity are analyzed as a process in which documentary facts and current critical interpretations meet and enter into dialogue. The publications and Internet sites in which the results of the fundamental research projects for literary studies are published inscribe Bulgarian science in the context of European humanitarian knowledge.
The literary research carried out at the Institute offers approaches for a new, qualitative connection between science and education, and provides a natural connection between academic research and society. The results are successfully applied in university education and teaching literature in schools, becoming a basis for creating modern curricula and textbooks.
The research projects developed at the Institute, as well as the academic papers prepared by interdisciplinary teams, are a sign of our scholarly activity. They implement in practice the integration between Bulgarian literary studies and other fields of the humanities: history, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, political science, social anthropology, culturology, art history, media studies. A significant part of the Institute's projects are conducted with the participation of researchers from other Bulgarian scientific institutions or in cooperation with foreign scientific organizations from Austria (Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Vienna), Azerbaijan (Institute of Literature at the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences in Baku), Belgium (Ghent University), Great Britain (British Library in London and the School of Humanities at the University of Keele), Georgia (Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature in Tbilisi), Greece (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Lithuania (Institute for the Lithuanian Language at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), Poland (Institute of Literary Studies, Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences), Romania (G. Călinescu Institute for Literary Theory and History at the Romanian Academy of Sciences), Russia (Institute of Slavic Studies, Institute for Russian Literature at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg; Marina Tsvetaeva House-Museum in Moscow), USA (University of Pittsburgh), Slovakia (Institute of World Literature at the Slovak Academy of Sciences), Northern Macedonia (Institute of Macedonian Literature at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje), Slovenia (Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Serbia (Institute for Literature and Art in Belgrade), Hungary (Institute for Literary Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Czech Republic (Institute of Slavonic Studies at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague), Sweden (Departments of Slavic Studies at Gothenburg University and Uppsala University).
The Institute for Literature is a member of the international consortium for the development of standards for the transmission of texts in electronic form and for their dissemination Text Encoding Initiative (since 2003), of the International Organization for Archival Research (ICARUS), of which more than 30 countries from Europe and America are members, the international scientific network Cultures européennes - identité européenne with partners such as the University of Bonn, Paris IV Sorbonne, Toulouse, Florence, St. Andrews, Salamanca, Warsaw and Friborg (Switzerland), the European Scientific ERA NET Plus RUS network with partners such as Ghent University (Belgium) and the Institute of Slavic Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Institute for Literature treasures:
- archives of the writers Mihalaki Georgiev, Hristo Smirnenski, Nikola Vaptsarov, Vessela Vasileva and others.
- illustrative fund Photos of Bulgarian Writers from the 19th and 20th Centuries
- the personal libraries of Nikolay Liliev and Asen Raztsvetnikov
The Library of the Institute is the largest branch library in the system of BAS. It stores over 110,000 library items in 15 languages: books, periodicals, digital copies, graphics. The Institute owns and maintains a unique analytical file with over 1,500,000 titles of original and translated fiction in Bulgaria from 1853 to the present day, including publications in literary printing, literary collections and other types of publications.
Part of the Institute is also the Boyan Penev Publishing Center, which focuses on publishing scholarly works by employees of the Institute such as reference books, thematic collections of scientific sessions and conferences, anniversary collections, and other literary works.
The Institute for Literature publishes scientific journals and series:
- Literaturna Misal (Literary Thought)
- Starobulgarska Literatura (Medieval Bulgarian Literature)
- Scripta & e-Scripta
- Studia Medievalia Slavica et Byzantina
In the academic history of the Institute it has become a tradition for authoritative literary critics to establish themselves as talented poets and writers who achieve national and international recognition. Such are the founders of the Institute: Elin Pelin, Nikolay Raynov, Nikolay Liliev, Lyudmil Stoyanov; scholars whose work has a fundamental place in modern literary studies such as Toncho Zhechev and Svetlozar Igov; the world-famous contemporary Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov, the poets Plamen Antov, Ivan Hristov and a number of other artists, whose work has been translated into a number of European languages, compliment the research team of the Institute.
In the field of "Cultural and Historical Heritage and National Identity" at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Institute fор Literature is the academic institution that has received undisputed recognition with the large number of scholars presented with the highest national award for scientific achievements. Among our colleagues who have become laureates of the Pythagorean Prize are: Prof. Anissava Miltenova, head of the best research team for the project Repertorium of Old Bulgarian Literature and Letters (2009), Prof. Rumyana Damyanova (2009), Assoc. Prof. Radosvet Kolarov (2010), Prof. Dorotey Getov (2011), Prof. Ivan Mladenov (2018). The Institute for Literature employs habilitated specialists from all fields of literary studies, who give lectures and conduct seminars in all major Bulgarian and elite foreign universities. Within the framework of doctoral programs, the Institute trains PhD students in the field of history and theory of literature and comparative literature.