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Mikhail Bulgakov


Mikhail Bulgakov was born in Kiev in 1891. His father was a professor in a theological seminary. He studied medicine in Kiev and then became a doctor, working in local hospitals. His brothers joined the White Russians but Bulgakov remained in Kiev under both the German and the Red Army occupation. During this period he became addicted to morphine but kicked the habit with the help of his first wife. He then left medicine to work as a journalist and writer, later moving to Moscow. He divorced his first wife and married again. He wrote his first novel, Белая гвардия (The White Guard), in 1924 but only part of it was published before publication was suspended by the authorities. He continued to write but much of his writing was put away in a drawer or confiscated because of his criticism of the regime. At Stalin’s request he became stage manager at the Moscow Academic Arts Theatre in 1930, a job he would hold till his death, though he was unable to stage his own plays. He asked permission to emigrate in 1938 but Stalin personally phoned him to deny him permission. It was at this time he started work on Мастер и Маргарита (The Master and Margarita), with his third wife, Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya, being the inspiration for the character of Margarita. He worked on it till his death from kidney failure in 1940. Much of his work was not published in Russia till the 1980s. His use of what we would now call magic realism, as well as fantasy and the supernatural was considered unRussian but it is what makes him stand out for us.

Books about Mikhail Bulgakov

J. A. E. Curtis: Manuscripts Don’t Burn: Mikhail Bulgakov A Life in Letters and Diaries
Ellendea Proffer: Bulgakov – Life and Work

Other links

Mikhail Bulgakov
Mikhail Bulgakov – Satirist and Playwright
Mikhail Bulgakov: I am a satirist
Mikhail Afanasjevitch Bulgakov (15.05.1891 – 10.03.1940)
Mikhail Bulgakov in the Western World: A Bibliography
Булгаков, Михаил Афанасьевич (in Russian)
Булгаковскую энциклопедию (in Russian)


(Works translated into English only)

1917 Записки юного врача (A Country Doctor’s Notebook)
1923 Дьяволиада (Diaboliad)
1923 Записки на манжетах (Notes on the Cuff & Other Stories)
1924 Роковые яйца (The Fatal Eggs)
1924 Белая гвардия (The White Guard)
1925 Собачье сердце (Heart of a Dog; A Dog’s Heart; Dog Heart)
1926 Дни Турбиных (The Days of The Turbins)
1926 Зойкина квартира (Zoya’s Apartment; Madame Zoyka)
1928 Бег (Flight; On the Run)
1929 Кабала святош (Мольер) (Moliere)
1929 Театральный роман (Black Snow : Theatrical Novel)
1933 Жизнь господина де Мольера (The Life of Monsieur de Molière)
1935 Последние дни (Пушкин) (The Last Days)
1967 Мастер и Маргарита (The Master and Margarita)
1972 The Early Plays of Mikhail Bulgakov
1991 Six Plays