For more than fifty years Ivan Vazov was the most prominent figure in Bulgarian literature after the liberation. He was a citizen-poet who considered the social mission of literature an organic part of the nation's life and fate. He wrote his most compelling works to glorify Bulgaria's national reawakening and to articulate the ideals of the past, lest they be forgotten by postliberation society. His view of the Bulgarian national character had an enormous impact on his people, and to this day his works remain an invaluable treasure of Bulgarian cultural history. Vazov is considered the patriarch of Bulgarian literature because he provided the highest standards for future generations of writers, who would seek in his verse a solution to their doubts and a confirmation of their ideas. Vazov was, in fact, the founder of all the literary genres employed in modern Bulgarian literature. His wide-ranging works are a brilliant manifestation of his artistic creativity. Partly because of his love of his homeland, its freedom and its nature, and his ability to incorporate into his works Bulgaria's traditions, history, morality, and national spirit, Vazov has come to be regarded as Bulgaria's national poet.
Ivan Minchov Vazov was born on 27 June 1850 in Sopot, a small town at the foot of the Stara Planina Range. The whole sub-Balkan region played a crucial role in the Bulgarian national revolution. Vazov came from a family in which traditional values were highly regarded. His father, Mincho Vazov, was a merchant. An open-minded person, he combined a conservative, patriarchal spirit with sympathy for the Enlightenment and the national revival. Vazov's mother, Suba, was an intelligent, generous, and charming woman who supported her son's creative aspirations. Vazov was profoundly grateful to her all his life and dedicated to her memory some of his most deeply felt verse.