Mikhail Bulgakov

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Mikhail Bulgakov
Bulgakov in 1928
BornMikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov
15 May [ O.S. 3 May] 1891
Kiev, Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine)
Died10 March 1940(1940-03-10) (aged 48)
Moscow, Soviet Union (present-day Russian Federation)
Resting place Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Occupationnovelist, short-story writer, playwright, physician
Nationality Russian, later Soviet [1]
GenreSatire, Fantasy, Science fiction, Historical fiction
SpouseTatiana Lappa 1913–1924
Lubov Belozerskaya 1925–1931
Elena Shilovskaya 1932–1940
(his death)

Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov (Russian :Михаи́л Афана́сьевич Булга́ков,IPA:  [mʲɪxɐˈil ɐfɐˈnasʲjɪvʲɪtɕ bʊlˈɡakəf] ; [2] 15 May [ O.S. 3 May] 1891 – 10 March 1940) was a Russian writer, medical doctor and playwright active in the first half of the 20th century. [1] He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita , published posthumously, which has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. [3]

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Old Style and New Style dates 16th-century changes in calendar conventions

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Russian literature

Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia and its émigrés and to the Russian-language literature. The roots of Russian literature can be traced to the Middle Ages, when epics and chronicles in Old East Slavic were composed. By the Age of Enlightenment, literature had grown in importance, and from the early 1830s, Russian literature underwent an astounding golden age in poetry, prose and drama. Romanticism permitted a flowering of poetic talent: Vasily Zhukovsky and later his protégé Alexander Pushkin came to the fore. Prose was flourishing as well. The first great Russian novelist was Nikolai Gogol. Then came Ivan Turgenev, who mastered both short stories and novels. Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky soon became internationally renowned. In the second half of the century Anton Chekhov excelled in short stories and became a leading dramatist. The beginning of the 20th century ranks as the Silver Age of Russian poetry. The poets most often associated with the "Silver Age" are Konstantin Balmont, Valery Bryusov, Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Nikolay Gumilyov, Osip Mandelstam, Sergei Yesenin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak. This era produced some first-rate novelists and short-story writers, such as Aleksandr Kuprin, Nobel Prize winner Ivan Bunin, Leonid Andreyev, Fyodor Sologub, Aleksey Remizov, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Andrei Bely.


Life and work

Early life

Mikhail Bulgakov was born on 15 May [ O.S. 3 May] 1891 in Kiev, Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire, into a Russian family. He was one of the seven children (the oldest of three brothers) of Afanasiy Ivanovich Bulgakov (ru) — a state councilor, an assistant professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, as well as a prominent Russian Orthodox essayist, thinker and translator of religious texts. His mother was Varvara Mikhailovna Bulgakova (nee Pokrovskaya), a former teacher. Both of his grandfathers were clergymen in the Russian Orthodox Church. [4]

Kiev City with special status in Kiev City Municipality, Ukraine

Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine, located in the north-central part of the country on the Dnieper. The population in July 2015 was 2,887,974, making Kiev the 7th most populous city in Europe.

Kiev Governorate governorate of the Russian Empire

Kiev Governorate was an administrative division of the Russian Empire from 1796 to 1919 and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1919 to 1925. It was formed as a governorate in the Right-bank Ukraine region following a division of the Kiev Viceroyalty into the Kiev and the Little Russia Governorates, with the administrative centre in Kiev. By the start of the 20th century it consisted of 12 uyezds, 12 cities, 111 miasteczkos and 7344 other settlements. After the October Revolution it became part of the administrative division of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1923 it was divided into several okrugs and on 6 June 1925 it was abolished by the Soviet administrative reforms.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Afanasiy Bulgakov was born in Bryansk Oblast, Russia, where his father was a priest, and he moved to Kiev to study in the academy. [5] Varvara Bulgakova was born in Karachev, Russia. [6] According to Edythe C. Haber, in his "autobiographical remarks" Bulgakov stated that she was a descendant of Tartar hordes, which supposedly influenced some of his works. [7] However, there is no mention of it in Bulgakov's collection of works, so the source of the claims is unclear. [8] From childhood Bulgakov was drawn to theater. At home, he wrote comedies, which his brothers and sisters acted out. [9]

Bryansk Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Bryansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Bryansk. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 1,278,217.

Karachev Town in Bryansk Oblast, Russia

Karachev is an ancient town and the administrative center of Karachevsky District in Bryansk Oblast, Russia. Population: 19,715 (2010 Census); 20,175 (2002 Census); 22,446 (1989 Census).

Tartary Historical region in northern and central Asia

Tartary or Great Tartary, was a historical region located in northern and central Asia stretching eastwards from the Caspian Sea and from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, inhabited mostly by Turkic peoples.

In 1901 Bulgakov joined the First Kiev Gymnasium, where he developed an interest in Russian and European literature (his favourite authors at the time being Gogol, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Saltykov-Shchedrin, and Dickens), theatre and opera. The teachers of the Gymnasium exerted a great influence on the formation of his literary taste. After the death of his father in 1907, Mikhail's mother, a well-educated and extraordinarily diligent person, assumed responsibility for his education. After graduation from the Gymnasium in 1909, [10] Bulgakov entered the Medical Faculty of Kiev University, which he finished with special commendation. He then took a position as a physician at the Kiev Military Hospital. [11]

Fyodor Dostoevsky Russian author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoyevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Dostoevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, and engage with a variety of philosophical and religious themes. His most acclaimed works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Dostoevsky's oeuvre consists of 11 novels, three novellas, 17 short stories and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest psychologists in world literature. His 1864 novella Notes from Underground is considered to be one of the first works of existentialist literature.

Charles Dickens English writer and social critic

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.

In 1913, Bulgakov married Tatiana Lappa. At the outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered with the Red Cross as a medical doctor and was sent directly to the front, where he was badly injured at least twice. Bulgakov's suffering from these wounds had deleterious long-term effects. To suppress chronic pain, especially in the abdomen, he injected himself with morphine. Over the next year his addiction grew stronger. In 1918, he abandoned morphine and never used it again. Morphine, a book released in 1926, is his account of that trying period.

Morphine Pain medication of the opiate family

Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate family which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals. It acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to decrease the feeling of pain. It can be taken for both acute pain and chronic pain. It is frequently used for pain from myocardial infarction and during labor. It can be given by mouth, by injection into a muscle, by injection under the skin, intravenously, injection into the space around the spinal cord, or rectally. Maximum effect is reached after about 20 minutes when given intravenously and after 60 minutes when given by mouth, while duration of effect is 3–7 hours. Long-acting formulations also exist.

In 1916, Bulgakov graduated from the Medical Department of Kiev University and after serving as a surgeon at Chernovitsy hospital, was appointed provincial physician to Smolensk province. His life in those days is reflected in his A Country Doctor's Notebook. [11] In September 1917 Bulgakov was moved to the hospital in Vyazma, near Smolensk. In February 1918, he returned to Kiev, Ukraine, where he opened a private practice at his home at Andreyevsky Descent, 13. Here he lived through the Civil War and witnessed ten coups. Successive governments drafted the young doctor into their service while two of his brothers were serving in the White Army against the Bolsheviks.

Smolensk City in Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River, 360 kilometers (220 mi) west-southwest of Moscow. Population: 326,861 (2010 Census); 325,137 (2002 Census); 341,483 (1989 Census).

Vyazma Town in Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Vyazma is a town and the administrative center of Vyazemsky District in Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Vyazma River, about halfway between Smolensk, the administrative center of the oblast, and Mozhaysk. Throughout its turbulent history, it defended western approaches to Moscow. Population: 57,101 (2010 Census); 57,545 (2002 Census); 59,022 (1989 Census); 44,000 (1970).

Russian Civil War multi-party war in the former Russian Empire, November 1917-October 1922

The Russian Civil War was a multi-party civil war in the former Russian Empire immediately after the two Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the Bolshevik form of socialism led by Vladimir Lenin, and the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favouring political monarchism, economic capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and anti-democratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eight foreign nations intervened against the Red Army, notably the former Allied military forces from the World War and the pro-German armies. The Red Army eventually defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak to the east in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920. Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, and minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. The war ended in 1923 in the sense that Bolshevik communist control of the newly formed Soviet Union was now assured, although armed national resistance in Central Asia was not completely crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties during the war, mostly civilians. The Russian Civil War has been described by some as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen.

In February 1919 he was mobilised as an army physician by the Ukrainian People's Army and assigned to the Northern Caucasus. There, he became seriously ill with typhus and barely survived. [11] [12] In the Caucasus he started working as a journalist, but when he and others were invited to return as doctors by the French and German governments, Bulgakov was refused permission to leave Russia because of the typhus. That was when he last saw his family; after the Civil War and the rise of the Soviets most of his relatives emigrated to Paris.


After his illness, Bulgakov abandoned his medical practice to pursue writing. In his autobiography, he recalled how he began: "Once in 1919 when I was traveling at night by train I wrote a short story. In the town where the train stopped, I took the story to the publisher of the newspaper who published the story". [11] His first book was an almanac of feuilletons called Future Perspectives, written and published the same year. In December 1919 Bulgakov moved to Vladikavkaz. He wrote and saw his first two plays, Self Defence and The Turbin Brothers, being produced for the city theater stage with great success. [10] [11]

Bulgakov in the 1910s. Bulgakov1910s.jpg
Bulgakov in the 1910s.

After travelling through the Caucasus, Bulgakov headed for Moscow, intending "to remain here forever". It was difficult to find work in the capital, but he was appointed secretary to the literary section of Glavpolitprosvet (Central Committee of the Republic for Political Education). [11] In September 1921 Bulgakov and his wife settled near Patriarch's Ponds, on Bolshaya Sadovaya street, 10 (now close to Mayakovskaya metro station). To make a living, he started working as a correspondent and feuilletons writer for the newspapers Gudok, Krasnaia Panorama and Nakanune, based in Berlin. [11] For the almanac Nedra, he wrote Diaboliad, The Fatal Eggs (1924), and Heart of a Dog (1925), works that combined bitter satire and elements of science fiction and were concerned with the fate of a scientist and the misuse of his discovery. The most significant features of Bulgakov's satire, such as a skillful blending of fantastic and realistic elements, grotesque situations, and a concern with important ethical issues, had already taken shape; these features were developed further in his most famous novel. [9]

Between 1922 and 1926 Bulgakov wrote several plays (including Zoyka's Apartment), none of which were allowed production at the time. [10] The Run, treating the horrors of a fratricidal war, was personally banned by Joseph Stalin after the Glavrepertkom (Department of Repertoire) decided that it "glorified emigration and White generals". [11] In 1924 Bulgakov divorced his first wife and next year married Lyubov Belozerskaya.

When one of Moscow's theatre directors severely criticised Bulgakov, Stalin personally protected him, saying that a writer of Bulgakov's quality was above "party words" like "left" and "right". [13] Stalin found work for the playwright at a small Moscow theatre, and next the Moscow Art Theatre (MAT). On 5 October 1926, The Days of the Turbins , the play which continued the theme of The White Guard (the fate of Russian intellectuals and officers of the Tsarist Army caught up in revolution and Civil war) [9] was premiered at the MAT. [10] Stalin liked it very much and reportedly saw it at least 15 times. [14]

Ivan Vasilievich, Last Days (Pushkin), and Don Quixote were banned. The premier of another, Moliėre (also known as The Cabal of Hypocrites ), about the French dramatist in which Bulgakov plunged "into fairy Paris of the XVII century", received bad reviews in Pravda and the play was withdrawn from the theater repertoire. [11] In 1928, Zoyka's Apartment and The Purple Island were staged in Moscow; both comedies were accepted by public with great enthusiasm, but critics again gave them bad reviews. [11] By March 1929 Bulgakov's career was ruined when Government censorship stopped the publication of any of his work and his plays. [10]

In despair, Bulgakov first wrote a personal letter to Joseph Stalin (July 1929), then on 28 March 1930, a letter to the Soviet government. [15] He requested permission to emigrate if the Soviet Union could not find use for him as a writer. [11] In his autobiography, Bulgakov claimed to have written to Stalin out of desperation and mental anguish, never intending to post the letter. He received a phone call directly from the Soviet leader, who asked the writer whether he really desired to leave the Soviet Union. Bulgakov replied that a Russian writer cannot live outside of his homeland. Stalin gave him permission to continue working at the Art Theater; on 10 May 1930, [10] he re-joined the theater, as stage director's assistant. Later he adapted Gogol's Dead Souls for stage. [9]

In 1932, Bulgakov married for the third time, to Yelena Shilovskaya, who would prove to be inspiration for the character Margarita in his most famous novel, which he started working on in 1928. [11] During the last decade of his life, Bulgakov continued to work on The Master and Margarita, wrote plays, critical works, stories, and made several translations and dramatisations of novels, librettos. Many of them were not published, other ones were "torn to pieces" by critics. Much of his work (ridiculing the Soviet system) stayed in his desk drawer for several decades. The refusal of the authorities to let him work in the theatre and his desire to see his family who were living abroad, whom he had not seen for many years, led him to seek drastic measures[ clarification needed ]. Despite his new work, the projects he worked on at the theatre were often prohibited, and he was strained and unhappy.

Last years

In the late 1930s he joined the Bolshoi Theatre as a librettist and consultant. He left after perceiving that none of his works would be produced there. Stalin's favor protected Bulgakov from arrests and execution, but he could not get his writing published. His novels and dramas were subsequently banned and, for the second time, Bulgakov's career as playwright was ruined. When his last play Batum (1939), a complimentary portrayal of Stalin's early revolutionary days, [16] was banned before rehearsals, Bulgakov requested permission to leave the country but was refused.

Gravestone of Mikhail Bulgakov and Yelena Bulgakova. Bulgakov Grave April 2015.jpg
Gravestone of Mikhail Bulgakov and Yelena Bulgakova.

In poor health, Bulgakov devoted his last years to what he called his "sunset" novel. The years 1937–1939 were stressful for Bulgakov, veering from glimpses of optimism, believing the publication of his masterpiece could still be possible, to bouts of depression, when he felt as if there were no hope. On 15 June 1938, when the manuscript was nearly finished, Bulgakov wrote in a letter to his wife:

"In front of me 327 pages of the manuscript (about 22 chapters). The most important remains – editing, and it's going to be hard, I will have to pay close attention to details. Maybe even re-write some things... 'What's its future?' you ask? I don't know. Possibly, you will store the manuscript in one of the drawers, next to my 'killed' plays, and occasionally it will be in your thoughts. Then again, you don't know the future. My own judgement of the book is already made and I think it truly deserves being hidden away in the darkness of some chest..." [9]

In 1939 Mikhail Bulgakov organized a private reading of The Master and Margarita to his close circle of friends. Yelena Bulgakova remembered 30 years later, "When he finally finished reading that night, he said: 'Well, tomorrow I am taking the novel to the publisher!' and everyone was silent", "...Everyone sat paralyzed. Everything scared them. P. (P. A. Markov, in charge of the literature division of MAT) later at the door fearfully tried to explain to me that trying to publish the novel would cause terrible things", she wrote in her diary (14 May 1939). [9]

In the last month of his life, friends and relatives were constantly on duty at his bedside. On March 10, 1940, Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov died from nephrosclerosis [17] (an inherited kidney disorder). His father had died of the same disease, and from his youth Bulgakov had guessed his future mortal diagnosis. On March 11, a civil funeral was held in the building of the Union of Soviet Writers. Before the funeral, the Moscow sculptor Sergey Merkurov removed the death mask from his face. He was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Early works

During his life, Bulgakov was best known for the plays he contributed to Konstantin Stanislavski's and Nemirovich-Danchenko's Moscow Art Theatre. Stalin was known to be fond of the play Days of the Turbins (Дни Турбиных) (1926), which was based on Bulgakov's novel The White Guard . His dramatization of Molière's life in The Cabal of Hypocrites (Кабала святош, 1936) is still performed by the Moscow Art Theatre. Even after his plays were banned from the theatres, Bulgakov wrote a comedy about Ivan the Terrible's visit into 1930s Moscow. His play Batum (1939) about the early years of Stalin was prohibited by the premier himself.

Bulgakov began writing prose with The White Guard (Белая гвардия) (1924, partly published in 1925, first full edition 1927–1929, Paris) – a novel about a life of a White Army officer's family in civil war Kiev. In the mid-1920s, he came to admire the works of H. G. Wells and wrote several stories with elements of science fiction, notably The Fatal Eggs (Роковые яйца) (1924) and Heart of a Dog (Собачье сердце) (1925). He intended to compile his stories of the mid-twenties (published mostly in medical journals) that were based on his work as a country doctor in 1916–1918 into a collection titled Notes of a Young Doctor (Записки юного врача), but he died before he could publish it. [18]

The Fatal Eggs tells of the events of a Professor Persikov, who, in experimentation with eggs, discovers a red ray that accelerates growth in living organisms. At the time, an illness passes through the chickens of Moscow, killing most of them, and to remedy the situation, the Soviet government puts the ray into use at a farm. Due to a mix-up in egg shipments, the Professor ends up with chicken eggs, while the government-run farm receives the shipment of ostrich, snake and crocodile eggs ordered by the Professor. The mistake is not discovered until the eggs produce giant monstrosities that wreak havoc in the suburbs of Moscow and kill most of the workers on the farm. The propaganda machine turns on Persikov, distorting his nature in the same way his "innocent" tampering created the monsters. This tale of a bungling government earned Bulgakov his label of counter-revolutionary.

Heart of a Dog features a professor who implants human testicles and a pituitary gland into a dog named Sharik (means "Little Balloon" or "Little Ball" – a popular Russian nickname for a male dog). The dog becomes more and more human as time passes, resulting in all manner of chaos. The tale can be read as a critical satire of liberal nihilism and the communist mentality. It contains a few bold hints to the communist leadership; e.g. the name of the drunkard donor of the human organ implants is Chugunkin ("chugun" is cast iron) which can be seen as a parody on the name of Stalin ("stal'" is steel). It was adapted as a comic opera called The Murder of Comrade Sharik by William Bergsma in 1973. In 1988 an award-winning movie version Sobachye Serdtse was produced by Lenfilm, starring Yevgeniy Yevstigneyev, Roman Kartsev and Vladimir Tolokonnikov.

The Master and Margarita

Soviet postal stamp: prepaid postcard of 1991. 1991 CPA PC 221.jpg
Soviet postal stamp: prepaid postcard of 1991.

The Master and Margarita became the best known novel by Bulgakov. He began writing in 1928, but the novel was finally published by his widow only in 1966, twenty-six years after his death. The book contributed a number of sayings to the Russian language, for example, "Manuscripts don't burn" and "second-grade freshness". A destroyed manuscript of the Master is an important element of the plot. Bulgakov had to rewrite the novel from memory after he burned the draft manuscript in 1930, as he could not see a future as a writer in the Soviet Union at a time of widespread political repression.

The novel is a critique of Soviet society and its literary establishment. The work is appreciated for its philosophical undertones and for its high artistic level, thanks to its picturesque descriptions (especially of old Jerusalem), lyrical fragments and style. It is a frame narrative involving two characteristically related time periods, or plot lines: a retelling Bulgakov's interpretation of New Testament and a description of contemporary Moscow.

The novel begins with Satan visiting Moscow in the 1930s, joining a conversation between a critic and a poet debating the most effective method of denying the existence of Jesus Christ. It develops into an all-embracing indictment of the corruption of communism and Soviet Russia. The novel was completely published more than 25 years after Bulgakov's death.

A story within the story portrays the interrogation of Jesus Christ by Pontius Pilate and the Crucifixion.


Exhibitions and museums

Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, Kiev

The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum (Bulgakov House) in Kiev has been converted to a literary museum with some rooms devoted to the writer, as well as some to his works. [19] This was his family home, the model for the house of the Turbin family in his play

The Bulgakov Museums in Moscow

In Moscow, two museums honor the memory of Mikhail Bulgakov and The Master and Margarita. Both are situated in Bulgakov's old apartment building on Bolshaya Sadovaya street nr. 10, in which parts of The Master and Margarita are set. Since the 1980s, the building has become a gathering spot for Bulgakov's fans, as well as Moscow-based Satanist groups, and had various kinds of graffiti scrawled on the walls. The numerous paintings, quips, and drawings were completely whitewashed in 2003. Previously the best drawings were kept as the walls were repainted, so that several layers of different colored paints could be seen around the best drawings. [20]

There is a rivalry between the two museums, mainly maintained by the later established official Museum M.A. Bulgakov, which invariably presents itself as "the first and only Memorial Museum of Mikhail Bulgakov in Moscow". [21]

The Bulgakov House

The Bulgakov House (Russian: Музей – театр "Булгаковский Дом") is situated at the ground floor. This museum has been established as a private initiative on May 15, 2004.

The Bulgakov House contains personal belongings, photos, and several exhibitions related to Bulgakov's life and his different works. Various poetic and literary events are often held, and excursions to Bulgakov's Moscow are organised, some of which are animated with living characters of The Master and Margarita. The Bulgakov House also runs the Theatre M.A. Bulgakov with 126 seats, and the Café 302-bis.

The Museum M.A. Bulgakov

In the same building, in apartment number 50 on the fourth floor, is a second museum that keeps alive the memory of Bulgakov, the Museum M.A. Bulgakov (Russian: Музей М. А. Булгаков). This second museum is a government initiative, and was founded on March 26, 2007.

The Museum M.A. Bulgakov contains personal belongings, photos, and several exhibitions related to Bulgakov's life and his different works. Various poetic and literary events are often held.

Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, Kiev Bulgakov house.jpg
Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, Kiev

Other places named after him

Works inspired by him




  • The Flight (1970) — a two-part historical drama based on Bulgakov's Flight , The White Guard and Black Sea. It was the first Soviet adaptation of Bulgakov's writings directed by Aleksandr Alov and Vladimir Naumov, with Bulgakov's third wife Elena Bulgakova credited as a "literary consultant". The movie was officially selected for the 1971 Cannes Film Festival.
  • The Master and Margaret (1972) — a joint Yugoslav-Italian drama directed by Aleksandar Petrović, the first adaptation of the novel of the same name, along with Pilate and Others. It was selected as the Yugoslav entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 45th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
  • Pilate and Others (1972) — a German TV drama directed by Andrzej Wajda, it was also a loose adaptation of The Master and Margarita novel. The film focused on the biblical part of the story, and the action was moved to the modern-day Frankfurt.
  • Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973) — an adaptation of Bulgakov's science fiction/comedy play Ivan Vasilievich about an unexpected visit of Ivan the Terrible to the modern-day Moscow. It was directed by one of the leading Soviet comedy directors Leonid Gaidai. With 60.7 million viewers on the year of release it became the 17th most popular movie ever produced in the USSR. [25]
  • Dog's Heart (1976) — a joint Italian-German science fiction/comedy movie directed by Alberto Lattuada. It was the first adaptation of the Heart of a Dog satirical novel about an old scientist who tries to grow a man out of a dog.
  • The Days of the Turbins (1976) — a three-part Soviet TV drama directed by Vladimir Basov. It was an adaptation of the play of the same name which, at the same time, was Bulgakov's stage adaptation of The White Guard novel.
  • Heart of a Dog (1988) — a Soviet black-and-white TV movie directed by Vladimir Bortko, the second adaptation of the novel of the same name. Unlike the previous version, this movie follows the original text closely, while also introducing characters, themes and dialogues featured in other Bulgakov's writings.
  • The Master and Margarita (1989) — a Polish TV drama in four parts directed by Maciej Wojtyszko. It was noted by critics as a very faithful adaptation of the original novel.
  • After the Revolution (1990) – a feature-length movie created by András Szirtes, a Hungarian filmmaker, using a simple video camera, from 1987 to 1989. It is a very loose adaptation, but for all that, it is explicitly based on Bulgakov's novel, in a thoroughly experimental way. What you see in this film is documentary-like scenes shot in Moscow and Budapest, and New York, and these scenes are linked to the novel by some explicit links, and by these, the film goes beyond the level of being but a visual documentary which would only have reminded the viewer of The Master and Margarita.
  • The Master and Margarita (1994) — Russian movie directed by Yuri Kara in 1994 and released to public only in 2011. Known for a long, troubled post-production due to the director's resistance to cut about 80 minutes of the movie on the producers' request, as well as copyright claims from the descendants of Elena Bulgakova (Shilovskaya).
  • The Master and Margarita (2005) — Russian TV mini-series directed by Vladimir Bortko and his second adaptation of Bulgakov's writings. Screened for Russia-1, it was seen by 40 million viewers on its initial release, becoming the most popular Russian TV series. [26]
  • Morphine (2008) — Russian movie directed by Aleksei Balabanov loosely based on Bulgakov's autobiographical short stories Morphine and A Country Doctor's Notebook . The screenplay was written by Balabanov's friend and regular collaborator Sergei Bodrov, Jr. before his tragic death in 2002.
  • The White Guard (2012) — Russian TV mini-series produced by Russia-1. The film was shot in Saint Petersburg and Kiev and released to mostly negative reviews. In 2014 the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture banned the distribution of the movie, claiming that it shows "contempt for the Ukrainian language, people and state". [27]
  • A Young Doctor's Notebook (2012—2013) — British mini-series produced by BBC, with Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe playing main parts. Unlike the Morphine film by Aleksei Balabanov that mixed drama and thriller, this version of A Country Doctor's Notebook was made as a black comedy.

Medical eponym

After graduating from the Medical School in 1909, he spent the early days of his career as a venereologist, rather than pursuing his goal of being a pediatrician, as syphilis was highly prevalent during those times. It was during those early years that he described the affectation and characteristics of syphilis affecting the bones. He described the abnormal and concomitant change of the outline of the crests of the shin-bones with a pathological worm-eaten like appearance and creation of abnormal osteophytes in the bones of those suffering from later stages of syphilis. This became known as "Bulgakov's Sign" and is commonly used in the former Soviet states, but is known as the "Bandy Legs Sign" in the west. [28] [29]


Novels and short story collections




  1. 1 2 Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. "Bulgakov". Collins English Dictionary .
  3. Mukherjee, Neel (9 May 2008). "The Master and Margarita: A graphic novel by Mikhail Bulgakov". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  4. Lesley Milne. Mikhail Bulgakov: A Critical Biography. Cambridge University Press. 2009. p. 5
  5. Ермишин О. Т., Православная энциклопедия, Том 6, 2003 http://www.pravenc.ru/text/153625.html (in Russian)
  6. Булгакова, Варвара Михайловна :: Булгакова, Варвара Михайловна (in Russian). Bulgakov.ru. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  7. Edythe C. Haber, Mikhail Bulgakov: The Early Years, Harvard University Press (1998), p. 70
  8. Mikhail Bulgakov (2011). Mikhail Bulgakov. The Complete Collection of Works in 8 Volumes. — Moscow: Azbuka, 5760 pages ISBN   978-5-389-02185-3
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Mikhail Bulgakov Biography". www.homeenglish.ru. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bulgakov timeline /Краткая хроника жизни и творчества М.А.Булгакова". www.m-a-bulgakov.ru. Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Katherine Konchakovska and Bohdan Yasinsky (1998). "Mikhail Bulgakov in the Western World: A Bibliography". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  12. Vilensky, Yu, G., Bulgakov's doctor (1991) T. I. Borisova (ed.) Kiev. Zdorovie. pp. 99–103. ISBN   5-311-00639-0
  13. Simon Sebag Montefiore, p. 110. swedish edition of Stalin: The Red Tsar and His Court.
  14. Shaternikova, Marianna. Why Did Stalin Loved The Days of the Turbuns. Почему Сталин любил спектакль «Дни Турбиных». Опубликовано: 15 октября 2006 г.
  15. Михаил Афанасьевич Булгаков. Письмо правительству СССР (in Russian). lib.ru/Новый мир, 1987, N8. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  16. "Батум. Комментарии". lib.ru. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  17. Zilberstein, Gleb; Maor, Uriel; Baskin, Emmanuil; D'Amato, Alfonsina; Righetti, Pier Giorgio. "Unearthing Bulgakov's trace proteome from the Master i Margarita manuscript". Journal of Proteomics. 152: 102–108. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2016.10.019.
  18. Coulehan, Jack (1999-11-09). "Literature Annotations: Bulgakov, Mikhail – A Country Doctor's Notebook". Literature Arts and Medicine Database. New York University . Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  19. Inna Konchakovskaia (1902–85) a daughter of the owner (who had become a hero of Bulgakov's novel) and niece of composer Witold Maliszewski preserved the house during hard soviet times.
  20. Stephen, Chris (5 February 2005). "Devil-worshippers target famous writer's Moscow flat". The Irish Times. Page 9.
  21. Galtseva, Elina. "About the museum". Museum M.A. Bulgakov.
  22. Schmadel, Lutz (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer. ISBN   9783540002383.
  23. Lesley Milne, ed. (1995). Bulgakov: the novelist-playwright. Routledge. p. 232. ISBN   978-3-7186-5619-6.
  24. Harkins, Thomas; Corbett, Bernard (2016). Pearl Jam FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Seattle's Most Enduring Band. Hal Leonard Corporation.
  25. Soviet box office leaders at KinoPoisk
  26. Vladimir Bortko about The Master and Margarita interview to the MIGNnews.com website (in Russian)
  27. Ukraine Bans Russian Films for Distorting Historical Facts by Moscow Times, July 29, 2014
  28. Johnson, A.B. (1911). Surgical Diagnosis. 1. D. Appleton. p. 570. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  29. Milne, L. (1990). Mikhail Bulgakov: A Critical Biography. Cambridge University Press. p. 136. ISBN   9780521227285.

Related Research Articles

Bulgakov is a Russian surname. Notable people with the surname include:

<i>The Master and Margarita</i> novel by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita is a novel by a Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, written in the Soviet Union between 1928 and 1940 during Stalin's regime. A censored version was published in Moscow magazine in 1966–1967, after the writer's death. The manuscript was not published as a book until 1967, and then first in Paris. A samizdat version circulated that included parts cut out by official censors, and these were incorporated in a 1969 version published in Frankfurt. The novel has since been published in several languages and editions.

Woland character in The Master and Margarita

Woland is a fictional character in the 1937 novel The Master and Margarita by the Russian (Soviet) author Mikhail Bulgakov. Woland is the mysterious foreigner and professor whose visit to Moscow sets the plot rolling and turns the world upside-down. Different people see him in different ways: "[t]he first says that the [he] was short, had gold teeth, and limped on the right foot. The second, that the man was of enormous height, had platinum crowns, and limped on the left foot. The third states laconically that the man had no special distinguishing characteristics."

<i>Heart of a Dog</i> 1925 satirical novel by Mikhail Bulgakov

Heart of a Dog is a novel by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov. A biting satire of Bolshevism, it was written in 1925 at the height of the NEP period, when communism appeared to be relaxing in the Soviet Union. It is generally interpreted as an allegory of the Communist revolution and "the revolution's misguided attempt to radically transform mankind." Its publication was initially prohibited in the Soviet Union, but it circulated in samizdat until it was officially released in the country in 1987. The novel has become a cultural phenomenon in Russia, known and discussed by people "from schoolchildren to politicians." It has become a subject of critical argument, was filmed in Russian and Italian-language versions, and was adapted in English as a play and an opera.

<i>The White Guard</i> novel by Mikhail Bulgakov

The White Guard is a novel by 20th-century Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, famed for his critically acclaimed later work The Master and Margarita.

<i>The Master and Margarita</i> (miniseries) television series

The Master and Margarita is a Russian television mini-series produced by Russian television channel Telekanal Rossiya, based on the novel The Master and Margarita, written by Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov between 1928 and 1940. Vladimir Bortko directed this adaptation and was also its screenwriter. The series tagline is "Manuscripts do not burn!".

Mikhail Bulgakov Museum

Mikhail Bulgakov Museum is a museum in Kiev, Ukraine, dedicated to Kiev-born Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov.

The following is a bibliography of the works of Mikhail Bulgakov in English and Russian.

The Fatal Eggs is a satirical science-fiction novella by Mikhail Bulgakov, a Soviet novelist and playwright whose most famous work is The Master and Margarita. It was written in 1924 and first published in 1925. The novel became quite popular, but was much criticised by most Soviet critics as a mockery of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the leadership of Soviet Russia.

<i>Heart of a Dog</i> (1988 film) 1988 film by Vladimir Bortko

Heart of a Dog is a black-and-white 1988 Soviet television film directed by Vladimir Bortko. It is based on Mikhail Bulgakov's novel Heart of a Dog.

Bulgakov Museum in Moscow building of Bulgakov Museum in Moscow, Russia

The Bulgakov Museum in Moscow is a writer's house museum which commemorates the life and work of author Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov in an apartment where he lived in Moscow, Russia, and in which he set portions of his novel The Master and Margarita. Graffiti, including text from the novel and drawings of its characters, have decorated the external walls and stairwells of the apartment building since the beginning of perestroika. It is located about two blocks from Patriarch Ponds, the scene of the opening chapter of the novel, where the Moscow city government had planned to erect statues commemorating the novel. It is close to Mayakovskaya metro station

Vladimir Bortko Soviet and Russian film director, screenwriter and producer

Vladimir Vladimirovich Bortko PAR, is a Russian film director, screenwriter, producer and politician of Ukranian origin. Member of the State Duma since 2011.

<i>The Master and Margarita</i> (1988 TV series) 1989 film by Maciej Wojtyszko

The Master and Margarita is a Polish television production of Polish Film Producers Teams, based on the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov.

<i>The Master and Margarita</i> (1994 film) 1994 film by Yuri Kara

The Master and Margarita is a Russian film made by director Yuri Kara, based on the novel The Master and Margarita by the Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov.

<i>The White Guard</i> (TV series) television series

The White Guard is a Russian television series, based on the novel by Bulgakov, The White Guard.

Bulgakov House (Moscow)

The Bulgakov House is situated on the ground floor of Bolshaya Sadovaya ulitsa no. 10 in Moscow, in the building where the Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov used to live, and in which some major scenes of his novel The Master and Margarita are set. The museum was established as a private initiative on May 15, 2004.

Incident in Judaea is a British film made by Paul Bryers, based on the novel The Master and Margarita by the Soviet author Mikhail Bulgakov. The film only tells the biblical parts of the novel though. It was broadcast by the British Channel 4 on 31 March 1991.

<i>The Days of the Turbins</i> 1955 play written by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Days of the Turbins is a four-act play by Mikhail Bulgakov based upon his novel The White Guard.

<i>The Days of the Turbins</i> (1976 film) 1976 film by Vladimir Basov

The Days of the Turbins is a 1976 Soviet three-part television drama film directed by Vladimir Basov, based on the eponymous play by Mikhail Bulgakov.

Mark Prudkin Soviet and Russian actor

Mark Isaakovich Prudkin was a Soviet and Russian actor of theater and cinema. People's Artist of the USSR (1961). Hero of Socialist Labor (1989). Laureate of three Stalin Prizes. Member of the CPSU (b) since 1941.



Biographies of Bulgakov

Letters, memoirs