with Michael Seraphinoff

Reviews of Micheal’s Works

:: The Nineteenth-Century Macedonian Awakening ::
Steven Sowards
Swarthmore College
“Michael Seraphinoff’s book on the early nineteenth century Macedonian monk, Kiril Pejchinovich, combines literary and linguistic analysis with historical perspective to explain how and why a limited body of religious writing deserves our attention as important evidence for the early development of Macedonian national self-consciousness. Contrary to assertions that Macedonian identity is of recent vintage, Pejchinovich’s works imply almost two hundred years of linguistic continuity.”
Full review

E. C. Hawkesworth
The Slavonic Review
School of Slavonic and East European Studies
University of London
“The somewhat startling anachronism in the title of this valuable work is compounded by the fact that Pejchinovich himself referred to the language in which he wrote as either ‘Bulgarian language of Lower Moesia’ or simply ‘the common language of Lower Moesia’. Michael Seraphinoff rests his case for the existence of a ‘nineteenth century Macedonian awakening’ on the fact that Pejchinovich undoubtedly wrote in a dialect that is distinct from both Serbian and standard Bulgarian.”

The following three reviews are from
Biser Balkanski: Canadian Macedonian Internet Community
June Vigor
Whidbey News-Times
“Michael Seraphinoff’s new book is a slim volume on a highly academic subject: the writings of Kiril Pejchinovich, a 19th century Macedonian priest. But it could have an impact on the ethnic struggles going on right now in the Balkans - all the way from Whidbey Island. The Greenbank writer and Slavic scholar hopes his book will help to save the people of Macedonia from the kind of struggle that has devastated Bosnia, by documenting their right to exist. ‘The idea was to partition Bosnia among the Serbs, Muslims and Croats,’ Seraphinoff said Thursday. Neighboring Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs, who don’t recognize the Macedonian language or culture, pose the same kind of threat to Macedonia. That’s where the writings of Pejchinovich and Seraphinoff’s study come in. Both establish the identity of the Macedonians as a separate, independent people. Without that history, neighboring ethnic groups can say,’You’re just some mongrel mixture with no identity of your own, so it makes sense to divvy you up,’ Seraphinoff said. His focus is on Pejchinovich because the priest was one of the first to write in the Macedonian language. Seraphinoff’s book was adapted ... from his 1993 doctoral thesis. ...”

Dissertation Reading Committee
Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literature
University of Washington
“The dissertation presented by Michael Seraphinoff is the first effort to present the life and work of Kiril Pejchinovich to the English-speaking world. Pejchinovich is regarded by many to be the founder of modern Macedonian literature and one of the earliest writers to use the dialect that lies at the base of the modern Macedonian literary language. ... Mr. Seraphinoff seeks to establish Pejchinovich’s position in American studies of Balkan culture. He brings together all the rather sparse facts that are known about Pejchinovich’s life and his literary activities, and these constitute a contribution to our understanding of the complicated emergence of Macedonian letters from the cultural backwaters that were the heritage of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. The linguistic identity of the Macedonians and their creation of a distinct cultural realm in the center of the peninsula are not just historical questions, as the writer points out: they are topics that still reverberate throughout the area today ...”

Professor Ljubica Janeshlieva
“An American Dissertation on Kiril Pejchinovich”
Studies in Macedonian Language, Literature and Culture
Skopje, Macedonia
“Seraphinoff considers Pejchinovich a central figure of the Macedonian Awakening and Enlightenment, a monk-priest, teacher and a writer whose works “advanced the spiritual, the social and the ethnic-cultural consciousness of the Orthodox Slavs of Macedonia.

“The dissertation is based upon a systematic research and study of relevant literature by Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian and Macedonian scholars, as well as of the books and MSS used by Pejchinovich himself. Seraphinoff aims at producing an all-encompassing study on Pejchinovich’s literary works. ...

“[The book] deserves the interest and the respect of readers. It is the first study on Pejchinovich’s life and work written in English, and Slavists and other readers in the English-speaking countries will find it useful.”

:: Macedonian Gold ::
“Macedonian Gold is a fascinating fiction story that will captivate you and keep you reading to the end because you just can’t wait to find out what happens next.” –R. Stefov, Macedonian News, Toronto, Canada, October 2004

“... how ‘novel’ his novel is – it’s not every day that we read about a mystery in Macedonia.” –K. Rothboeck, The Coupeville Examiner, Coupeville, Washington, July 3, 2004

“Macedonian Gold makes for great Sunday afternoon reading ... His interesting story transports Western readers to an archaeological site in the mountains of Macedonia where the tomb of Alexander the Great is about to be opened.” –V. Surso, Macedonian Tribune, Fort Wayne, Indiana, February 3, 2005

“... readers will have a new understanding of the Balkans ... including ways in which the past continues to ... dominate contemporary events.” –W. Ude review, Whidbey Marketplace, Clinton, Washington, July 3, 2004

“This work explores a very real theme for Macedonians, their heritage and survival ...” –D. Ristevski, Australian Macedonian Weekly, Melbourne, Australia, August 10, 2004

:: Some Great Old Stories From the Old Country ::
“This book is geared towards a younger audience with a view to introducing them to some of the folklore of their Macedonian ancestors ... and even though these stories were told years ago, their wisdom can be applied today as the human condition remains unchanged.” –Virginia Dubiel, Canadian Macedonian News, Toronto, Canada

:: Silyan the Stork ::
The folk lore collector and tailor from the Macedonian town of Prilep, Marko Tsepenkov (1829-1920), heard this tale from one of his visitors some time in the mid-nineteenth century. Tsepenkov collected many such Macedonian folk tales from the oral folk tradition and wrote them down for the first time. The tale of Silyan the stork is probably the best known and the longest of all Macedonian folk tales. It tells the story of a young man, Silyan, who is transformed into a stork after a series of misadventures. During his life as a stork he observes his family from a perch on the roof of their home and learns some important lessons about the value of the family life. –Translator of the story, Michael Seraphinoff