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226 KARAVELOV, Lyuben Stoychev (1834–1879) Celebrated Bulgarian writer, poet and publicist; liberal and national revolutionary ; advocate of women’s equality, especially with regards to education. Lyuben Karavelov was born in 1834 in the mountainous village of Koprivshtitsa, to Stoycho Karavelov, a well off trader, and Nedelya Doganova, a woman from a rich and educated family. Slightly literate, the parents educated the four boys of their seven children. Lyuben, the first-born, studied at the local monastery school and at the primary and middle schools of Koprivshtitsa and Plovdiv. After the Crimean War, Russia continued its offensive with regard to ‘the Eastern Question’ by peaceful means. Lyuben Karavelov made use of scholarships established by the Russian Slavophils (right-wing Russian political groups supporting expansion of the Great Russian Empire into the territories of all the European Slavonic nations and Russian domination in the Straits). With a scholarship from the Slavonic Committee, he enrolled as an auditing student at the Faculty of History and Philology of Moscow University in 1859, but did not pass any examinations. He went on to educate himself further, establishing contacts with public figures (Slavophiles such as M. P. Pogodin, I. S. Aksakov, A. V. Rachinskii, V. I. Lamanskii and V. A. Kokarev; and Revolutionary Democrats such as I. G. Prizhov, I. A. Hudiakov, and A. A. Kotliarevskii ), as well as working as a publicist. Karavelov felt close to the ideas expressed in newspapers such as Kolokol (Bell), published by Alexander Hertsen and the Revolutionary Democrat N. P. Ogaryov (1813–1877), and in the magazine Sovremennik (Contemporary), published by N. G. Chernishevskii, N. A. Dobroliubov and D. I. Pisarev, ideologists of the Narodnitsi movement. Through these publications, he became acquainted with the ideas of the Western Enlightenment, liberalism and positivism . Informed by the works of K. Foht, L. Buchner, Charles Darwin, John Draper and H. Bocl, Karavelov saw knowledge as a road to individual and collective prosperity and liberation from political and religious oppression. He admired the natural sciences , was sharply critical of the priesthood and superstition, and supported the fight to keep scientific thought independent of political and church power. The populist slogan of ‘going amongst the people,’ interpreted by Karavelov as an interest in tradi- 227 tional culture, inspired him to compose the collection Pamjatniki narodnogo bita bolgar (Records of Bulgarian popular customs, 1861). Later, he would fill his short novels with scenes from Bulgarian rural life, as in his Balgari ot staro vreme (Bulgarians of past times, 1867). The Revolutionary Democrats’ conception of national education, which opposed different levels of education on the basis of class, wealth, age or sex, also appealed to Karavelov. His sensitivity to gender developed with his reading on ‘the woman question ,’ which was widely discussed in Russia in the 1850s and 1860s. While the Russian intelligentsia was acquainted with the works of John Stuart Mill, George Sand and the sociologist Bocl, Russian populist ideas had even greater currency—ideas which opposed low levels of girls’ education and the placement of women under male guardianship . Chernishevskii wrote about women’s equality and freedom in his famous Chto delat? (What is to be done, 1863) and Dobroliubov depicted a strong woman who opposed the conservatism of the patriarchal family and followed the impulses of her emotions. In 1868, a year after he moved from Russia to Serbia, Karavelov explored similar ideas. He published the short novel Kriva li e sadbata? (Is fate wrong? 1868–1869), with the intention of presenting a new type of philosophical polemic. Through the novel’s central characters, Kalmich and Tsaya, Karavelov presented woman not as a thing and a slave, but as a rational and independent person of value to society, not merely there to satisfy the caprices of men. Tsaya is a ‘real Serbian woman’ with common sense and an aptitude for intellectual achievement. Kalmich criticizes the notion of difference between the minds of women and men, remarking that divergences in their education caused the sexes to think differently, and that enlightened women would request equal treatment and freedom. This short novel received a great deal of attention, not only because Karavelov had taken Chernishevskii’s novel Chto delat? as his example, but also because he was close to the leaders of the patriotic cultural organization Omladina (Society of Young People), which was then gathering liberal members of the intelligentsia. Thus it was a Bulgarian man who placed ‘the woman question’ at the center of public discussion in Serbia. The year before he published his...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9786155053726
Related ISBN
9789637326394
MARC Record
OCLC
868217084
Pages
698
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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