Dora Gabe

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Dora Gabe
BASA 118K-2-85 Dora Gabe (crop).jpg
Dora Gabe, before 1939
Born (1886-08-28)28 August 1886
Dabovik, Bulgaria
Died 16 November 1983(1983-11-16) (aged 97)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Occupation Poet
Language Bulgarian
Nationality Bulgarian
Alma mater Sofia University, University of Grenoble, University of Geneva
Genre Poetry

Dora Petrova Gabe (Bulgarian: Изидора Петрова Габе, 28 August 1886 – 16 November 1983) was а Bulgarian Jewish poet.[1] She published poetry for adults and children as well as travel books, short stories and essays. In her later years, she also did extensive work in translation.


Dora Gabe was the daughter of Peter Gabe, an immigrant from Russia, who became the first Jew to be elected to the Bulgarian National Assembly. When he was barred from taking office, he turned to journalism and became a well known public figure in Bulgaria.[2] Dora attended high school in Varna, and then pursued a degree in Natural Sciences at Sofia University (1904). Later, she studied French Philology in Geneva and Grenoble (1905–1906). She taught French in Dobrich (1907). From 1911 to 1932, she resided abroad in Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Czech Republic, France, The United Kingdom with her husband Prof. Boyan Penev. In the 1920s and 1930s, she gave numerous lectures on political and cultural issues such as the development of Bulgarian literature and the fate of the Dobruja region.

In 1925, the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria assigned Dora Gabe to edit the series "Библиотека за най-малките" ("Library for the youngest"). She also served as the editor of the children's magazine "Window" (1939–1941).

Dora Gabe was one of the founders of the Bulgarian-Polish Committee (1922) and the Bulgarian PEN Club (1927). She served as a longtime president for the latter. She was counselor for cultural affairs at the Bulgarian Embassy in Warsaw (1947–1950), and a representative of Bulgaria in the International Congress of PEN clubs.

In 1968, she was awarded the title "Honorary citizen of the city Tolbuhin".

She is widely regarded as one of the most successful Bulgarian poets and is beloved by Bulgarians not only for her work but for her deep respect for all arts and her charitable spirit. A popular anecdote claims that after the 9 September coup d'état, partisans were sent to live in Gabe's apartment. The poet moved to her sister's unfinished villa where she had to sleep with a coat under the blankets, because there was no heating, and had to turn on the stove to warm her hands in order to be able to write. Later in life, Gabe opens her an apartment as a home to all young poet seeking where they can live and create.

Literary career[edit]

Photo of young Dora Gabe

In 1900 in Shumen, she published one of her first poems called "Spring" in the literary journal "Youth". Soon after, she published a series of poems in the magazines "Thought", "Democratic Review" and "New Society" in 1905–1906. This marked the start of her literary career.

In the 1920s-30s, she published poetry for adults and children, travelogues, stories, essayistic fiction, impressions, theater reviews, articles on issues of foreign and Bulgarian literature, biographical sketches of poets and writers in magazines such as "Contemporary Thought " Zlatorog, "Polish-Bulgarian review", "Democratic Review," "Falling Leaves", "Dobrudjanski review", "Art and Criticism", "Slovo", "Age", "Journal of Women", "Free Speech," "Dawn," "Women's Voice", "thought", "Contemporary", "Journal of newspapers", "Dnevnik", "Fireworks". She contributed to various in children's periodicals such as "Firefly", "Children's joy," "Children's World", "Drugarche", "Children's Life", "Iveta", "Nightingale ","Merry band", "Window" and others.

After 1944, she was widely published in the most popular Bulgarian newspapers and journals, as well as in the children's magazine "Nightingale", "Squad" "Children, art, books," and others. "Violets", Gabe's first lyrical poetry book, demonstrates Secession sentimentalism and a deep understanding of symbolism.

Her works have been translated in Argentina, Austria, Great Britain, Vietnam, Germany, Greece, Canada, Cuba, Lebanon, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, France, Czech Republic.


From 1917 to the end of her life, Dora Gabe actively engaged in translation. She translated the works of Adam Mickiewicz, Maria Konopnicka, Stanisław Wyspiański, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Juliusz Słowacki, Władysław Reymont, Jan Kasprowicz, Henryk Sienkiewicz, B. Leader, Adolf Dygasiński, L. Staffan, A. Slonimsky, Julian Tuwim, K. Alberti, I. Volker, F. Fletch, Vítězslav Nezval, Karel Čapek, G. Jian, Y. Seifert, A. Slutsk, V. Bronevski, C. Imber, Samuil Marshak, E. Kamberos, R. Bumi-Papa, M. Lundemis, Yiannis Ritsos and many others. She was fluent in Polish, Czech, Russian, French, and Greek.

Her most renowned translation works include:

  • The series of anthologies "Polish poets" (1921)
  • "Anthems" by Ian Kasprovich (1924)
  • "Angel" by J. Słowacki (1925)

Works in English[edit]


External links[edit]