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 Mikhail Bulgakov


Born:   May 15, 1891
Deceased:   March 10, 1940

Short story writer, novelist, playwright, journalist; the most famous work a grotesque fantasy The Master and Margarita"

      

Mihail Bulgakov was born into a Russian family in Kiev, Ukraine on the 15th of May 1881. His father was a Russian theology professor at the Kiev Theological Academy. After graduation from the First Kiev High School Mikhail studied medicine at the Kiev University. In 1916-1918 he worked as a doctor in front-line and military hospitals. Bulgakov described his medical experience in notes of a young doctor called “Zapiski yunogo vracha” written in 1925-1926.

In 1920 Bulgakov abandoned medicine and chose a writing carrier. He organized a sub-department of the arts in the Caucasus and started with writing stories for newspapers. In 1921 Bu

lgakov moved to Moskow where he worked as a journalist for various groups and papers within the literary department of the People's Commissariat of Education. In 1925 he released an autobiographical novel called “Belaya Gvardia” (literary means the White Guard) depicting lives of a White family in the Ukraine during the turbulent years of 1914-1921.

In 1925 Bulgakov also started working for the Moscow Arts Theatre. Many of his plays were and had a great popularity. Although Bulgakov was known to be a critic of the Soviet system Stalin favoured him and that saved Mikhail from arrests and executions. Bulgakov`s novel “The White Guard” was one of Stalin's favorite plays. However, many of his works were officially banned from being published. Amongst Bulgakov`s most notable works was “The Heart of the Dog” (1925) - a science fiction satire on the Soviet life, “Pokhozhdenia Chichikova” - the protaginist of Gogol's “Dead Soul”s was brought to the middle of the New Economic Policy period in Russia in 1921-1927. By 1930s Bulgakov's works had been rarely published and almost all of his plays were banned from being staged.

Then Bulgakov wrote a letter to the Soviet government asking for permission to emigrate. Stalin called him personally and offered being employed as an assistant producer at the Moscow Arts Theatre to adapt classics for the stage. Even after getting a new job at the theatre most of Bulgakov`s writings remained unpublished.

Bulgakov's most prominent and famous work was “The Master and Margarita”, a fantasy story about the Devil disguised as a professor, who causes chaos in the city. The Soviet authorities insisted on making some changes in the novel text, but Bulgakov refused and the work was suppressed. The first Soviet edition of the novel was published in 1966-1967 and the full version was published only in 1989. For a long time Bulgakov had a reputation of one of the most un-Soviet writers. He was attracted to the supernatural and occult, used fantasy and mockery in his works.

Mikhail Bulgakov was married three times and had no children. Bulgakov died on the 10th of March 1940 in Moscow while working on a theatre novel “Black Snow”.


Tags: Russian literature Russian writers Mikhail Bulgakov   




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