The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / Slavic Studies / Literature & Criticism


Bai Ganyo
Incredible Tales of a Modern Bulgarian
Aleko Konstantinov
Edited by Victor A. Friedman
Translated by Victor A. Friedman, Christina E. Kramer,
Grace E. Fielder, and Catherine Rudin

"A rollicking, Rabelaisian masterpiece, skillfully translated. Victor Friedman’s meticulous editing provides linguistic, cultural, and political context." —Harold B. Segel, Columbia University

Winner of the Bulgarian Studies Association Book Prize
•Finalist, Foreword Magazine’s Multicultural Fiction Book of the Year
•Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association for School Libraries
•Best Books for High Schools, selected by the American Association for School Libraries
•Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association

A comic classic of world literature, Aleko Konstantinov's 1895 novel Bai Ganyo follows the misadventures of rose-oil salesman Ganyo Balkanski ("Bai" is a Bulgarian title of intimate respect) as he travels in Europe. Unkempt but endearing, Bai Ganyo blusters his way through refined society in Vienna, Dresden, and St. Petersburg with an eye peeled for pickpockets and a free lunch. Konstantinov's satire turns darker when Bai Ganyo returns home—bullying, bribing, and rigging elections in Bulgaria, a new country that had recently emerged piecemeal from the Ottoman Empire with the help of Czarist Russia.

Bai Ganyo has been translated into most European languages, but now Victor Friedman and his fellow translators have finally brought this Balkan masterpiece to English-speaking readers, accompanied by a helpful introduction, glossary, and notes.

Aleko Konstantinov (1863–1897) was a well-traveled Bulgarian journalist and political writer. He was killed by an assassin's bullet while riding in an open cab. In 2003, Konstantinov and Bai Ganyo were honored on Bulgaria's currency, depicted on the 100-lev note.

Victor A. Friedman is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Christina E. Kramer is professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Toronto. Grace E. Fielder is professor of Russian and Slavic studies at the University of Arizona. Catherine Rudin is professor of modern languages and linguistics at Wayne State College.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Bai Ganyo

May 2010
LC: 2009041983 PG
176 pp.    6 x 9

Book icon
Paper $19.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-23694-6
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout

"A literary treasure of the Balkans."

—Ronelle Alexander, University of California, Berkeley

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated 7/31/2015

© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System