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The Forest Traveler

Georgi Stoikov Rakovski and Bulgarian Nationalism


Mari A. Firkatian

The Forest Traveler is a penetrating inquiry into the life and activities of one of the most important national heroes of Bulgarian history. Georgi Stoikov Rakovski's life (1821-1867) mirrored a period of turbulent events in Southeast Europe. This in-depth biography unfolds against the backdrop of the declining Ottoman empire as Bulgaria underwent a period of national renaissance in the nineteenth century. The activists who spearheaded attempts to liberate their country from Ottoman rule were romantic idealists who borrowed their theories of nation building and national rights from abroad. As a literary figure and a revolutionary, Rakovski's image colors most Bulgarians' perception of their modern history. This work aims to strip away much of the mythological aura that surrounds Rakovski's life and to present this revered revolutionary as a more realistic figure.