Professor Adrian Harding
19 November 2013
History and Revolution in Under the Yoke by Ivan Vazov
Under the Yoke by Ivan Vazov is considered to be one of the most important historical novels in Bulgarian literature. It is the first Bulgarian literary piece to be translated in other languages. Written in 1888, ten years after the Liberation when Vazov was in exile in Odessa. "A lot of sorrow, a lot of pain I felt there for my lost homeland. My mind, my heart, my soul were flying to it all the time. But there came my inspiration to write this novel and I was once again breathing in the sweet air of Bulgaria" (Toneva, 1). This nostalgic feeling plays an interesting part in the writing of the novel and is seen in the descriptions of the village and the people and also in the April Uprising.
Even though the author shows an essential moment in history, he focuses more on the thinking of the people and their change during the organisation of a revolution. The novel shows the beauty of a nation's awakening and its will for freedom.
In the centre of the novel is the April Uprising. The uprising was a turning point in Bulgarian history. After five hundred years of slavery the nation organised a revolution against the Ottoman Empire. It took place in a town called Koprivshchitsa. It was not successful however, it did mark the start of the war for freedom. It is also called "The Awakening of the Nation" because of the change that occurred on the nation's mentality. That is what Ivan Vazov shows in his novel Under the Yoke. The transition of the humble enslaved Bulgarian into a revolutionary and a soldier for freedom.