Liuben Karavelov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Karavelov, Liuben


Born about 1834, in Koprivshtitsa; died Jan. 21, 1879, in Ruse. Bulgarian writer and public figure. Studied at the Plovdiv Greek Gymnasium (1850–53).

In his travels with his father, Karavelov learned about the life of the people under the Ottoman yoke. He became interested in the customs of the people and in folklore. From 1857 to 1866 he lived in Moscow and audited courses at Moscow University. He was influenced by Slavophilism, but the decisive factor for him was the ideas of the Russian revolutionary democrats and his reading of the works of N. V. Gogol, N. A. Nekrasov, T. G. Shevchenko, I. S. Turgenev, and Marko Vovchok. He began publishing in Russian (the novella Hetman of the Bulgarian Brigands, 1860; Monuments of the Life of the Bulgarian Common People, vol. 1, 1861; and the collection of short stories and novellas Pages From the Book of Suffering of the Bulgarian Tribe, 1868). Karavelov lived in Serbia after 1867. He became involved with the radical democratic circles connected with the Om-ladina. His critical articles in the press provoked the dissatisfaction of the authorities. He moved to Novi Sad.

Karavelov was imprisoned in 1868 on a false charge of complicity in the murder of the Serbian prince Mihailo Obrenovic. He was released early in 1869. He wrote articles on realism, as well as novellas and short stories, for the Serbian press. In 1869 he moved to Bucharest and began collaborating with the Bulgarian revolutionary democrats V. Levski and, later, Kh. Botev. He published (in Bulgarian) the newspapers Freedom (1869–72) and Independence (1873–74). In the fall of 1869 he became a member of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee in Bucharest. He was the author of the committee’s program, and in 1872 he was elected chairman. Having no faith in the reforms promised by the Turkish government, Karavelov called for revolutionary struggle in his pointed social and political journalism, literary criticism, and works of fiction.

After 1873, stunned by the Turkish authorities’ execution of Levski, Karavelov gradually withdrew from the revolutionary movement. In 1865 he began publication of the journal Knowledge, which was oriented toward a program of enlightenment. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 he was a translator at the General Headquarters of the Russian Army. The fiction works of Karavelov, who became one of the founders of Buigarian critical realism, were characterized by their organic links to the antifeudal national liberation struggle, the creation of the image of the positive fighting hero, the creative perception of folk poetry, and the combination of revolutionary-romantic motifs with realism. He also defended the principles of realism in his own works of literary criticism, which initiated the development of Bulgarian materialist aesthetics.


Izbrani proizvedeniia, vols. 1–3. Sofia, 1954–56.
In Russian translation:
Povesti i rasskazy, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1954.


Sheptunov, I. M. “Liuben Karavelov.” In Ocherki istorii bolgarskoi literatury XIX-XX vv. Moscow, 1959.
Vorob’ev, L. V. Filosofskie i sotsiologicheskie vozzreniia L. Karavelova. Moscow, 1962.
Dimitrov, M. Liuben Karavelov. Sofia, 1959.
Sharova, K. Liuben Karavelov i bulgarskoto osvoboditelno dvizhenie
1860–1867. Sofia, 1970. Konev, I. Beletristut Karavelov. Sofia, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Archive of the Planet 1911-2011 [exhibition] -- at the City Art Gallery in Varna [1 Liuben Karavelov Str., Open: Tue-Sun 10-5pm, tel.: 052/ 61 23 63]
Archive of the Planet 1911-2011 [exhibition]-at the City Art Gallery in Varna [1 Liuben Karavelov Str., Open: Tue-Sun 10-5pm, tel.: 052/ 61 23 63]