Almost every Bulgarian, from average citizen to Slavic scholar will agree that Ivan Vazov’s Under the Yoke is Bulgaria’s most important historical novel.
Historically, the book concerns the bloody uprising of 1876, when Bulgarian patriots fought to free their country of 500 years of Ottoman rule. To this day, Bulgaria’s greatest heroes are considered to be those who fought in the 1870’s against the Turkish occupation.
Vazov’s tale is much more than a tale of rebellion. Above all, it is a story of the people, Bulgarians and Turks, living in the towns and villages of rural Bulgaria during a time of great social upheaval.
Some of the characters are based on historical figures, while others were created by Vazov to show us how different people dealt with the stresses of the time. We get to know well the privileged and the downtrodden, the romantics, the fools, the brave, and the cowardly.
Under the Yoke is filled with suspense, action, romance, tragedy, humor and other key elements of great novels. The reader may well be reminded of the works of Vazov’s contemporary, Mark Twain, especially with the respect to the humor and the author’s observations about the human condition.
In this newly edited version of the 1960 translation, we have taken the best from past editions and melded them together to produce a book that may be read for both pleasure and study.
Included are two interesting, earlier introductions (1955 and 1960 editions), footnotes and glossary, descriptive lists of characters and historical figures mentioned in the novel, and 12 black and white illustrations from the 1960 edition. Also included are a new introduction and the publishing history of prior English language editions.
Under the Yoke has been published and republished for over a hundred years, sometimes by the State, sometimes by independent publishers who are charmed by its story. In English alone, it has had three translations and five major editions.
The book will be appreciated by a wide audience of readers, from teenagers to university students, from Balkan scholars to those who just like a tale of adventure and romance.
For those interested in the life under Ottoman occupation or in Bulgarian and Balkan history, the book is truly a must read!
Hardcover with dust-cover
12 black and white illustrations
Color photo; Map; Appendices; Glossary
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