Who was Peyo Yavorov?
Peyo Yavorov was a Bulgarian romantic poet. The liberation of Macedonia and independence of Armenia served as the backbone of many of his poems. Being a socialist, he supported independence of the general people in Macedonia and Armenia, where he is still remembered with immense respect and admiration. Peyo Yavorov grew up to become one of the highly acclaimed Bulgarian poets during the end of the Principality of Bulgaria and beginning of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. He was also involved with politics and participated in the revolutionary movements against Ottoman rule (over Bulgaria, Macedonia and Armenia). He composed a variety of love poems and plays, dedicated to two women in his life. He wrote a total of around 160 poems in three poetry collections and also wrote two plays during his lifetime. Some of his distinguished works include ‘Stikhotvoreniya’, ‘Bezsanitsi, ‘Podir senkite na oblatsite’, ‘V polite na Vitosha’, and ‘Kogato gram udari, kak ehoto zaglahva’. His works have been translated into over 20 languages, including English, German, Polish, Armenian, French, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian. His apartment in Sofia has been converted into a house museum, while a mountain peak in Antarctica has been named after him
Childhood & Early Life
Peyo Yavorov was born as Peyo Totev Kracholov on January 1, 1878, in Chirpan, South Bulgaria, to Totyo Kracholov and Gana. His father switched from an artisan shoemaker to winemaker to merchant to make ends meet.
Despite financial issues, his mother encouraged him to pursue education. He got attracted to literature during his school days as the books of Pushkin and Lermontov caught his attention.
He brushed up his skills while reading the works of Bulgarian authors, such as Ivan Vazov, Zachari Stoyanov, and Lyuben Karavelov.
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He took up the job of a telegraph operator in 1894, a position through which he travelled extensively across different cities in southern Bulgaria.
While travelling and working, his interest in literature grew bigger. As such, he drafted a few of his initial poems.
His early works were mainly inspired by the struggle of Macedonia (against the Ottoman Empire), sufferings of the Armenian community, and his concern for the peasant class.
Pencho Slaveykov and Krastyo Krastev, the founders of Misal literary and intellectual group, appreciated his work and invited him to Sofia to join their group in 1900. He willingly did so and saw his life change completely for the better.
In 1901, he released his first volume of poems titled ‘Stikhotvoreniya’.
He got actively involved with the activities of Misal group and started working with the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization, Macedonia.
He traveled to Macedonia on various occasions during 1902-03, for editing manifestos of the revolutionary groups protesting against the Ottoman authorities.
Upon returning to Sofia in 1904, he was hired at the National Library and wrote his first biography, of Gotse Delchev. This was followed by the second edition of his first book ‘Stikhotvoreniya’ which included a preface by Pencho Slaveykov.
He was promoted to various positions at the National Library and continued to publish articles during 1904-10. Also, he served as a director in the National Theatre.
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Most of his creations were a series of romantic poems, inspired by the two women in his life. His two collection of poems – ‘Sleepless’ (1907) and ‘Following the Cloud Shadows’ (1910), were dedicated to Mina Todorova.
The second revised edition of his collection of poems ‘Following the Cloud Shadows’ was out in 1914, but was dedicated to his wife, Lora, this time.
His apartment in Sofia was converted into a museum on October 31, 1954, to mark his 40th death anniversary.
‘Haydushki kopneniya’ (Rebel Dreams) was written by him in 1908 as reminiscences of his struggling days spent in Macedonia.
The sudden death of Mina Todorova formed the basis of his first play ‘V polite na Vitosha’ (At the foot of Vitosha) in 1911.
He published his second play ‘Kogato gram udari, kak ehoto zaglahva’ (When Thunder Roars, the Echo is Lost) in 1912, which was staged in 1913.
Personal Life & Legacy
He fell in love with Mina Todorova, sister of his friend and member of Misal group. She contracted tuberculosis and died eventually in 1910. She was buried in Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
Broken and disappointed, he met Lora Karavelova, daughter of statesman Petko Karavelov, and married her in 1912.
Their intense and ardent love was evident from the letters communicated between the two, while he was in Macedonia after marriage. Upon his return, the couple shifted to an apartment on GS Rakovsky Street, Sofia.
Differences between the couple’s thoughts led to conflicts, which resulted in Lora shooting herself and Yavorov following suit in November 2013. However, the bullet hit his temporal bone, which blinded him.
Terrorized by Lora’s death and distressed by the rumor of him killing his wife at judicial proceedings provoked him to commit suicide. He poisoned and shot himself with a pistol on October 29, 1914, aged 36.
He has several elementary, middle and secondary schools in Bulgaria named after him. An elementary school in Yerevan, Armenia, also bears his name.
A mountain peak – Yavorov Peak, situated on Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, has been named after him