Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov (1891 – 1940)

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, The Enlightenment (1650-1800)
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Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov (1891 – 1940) • Biography • Born in Kiev on May 3d, 1891 to Afanasy Ivanovich Bulgakov and Varvara Mikhailovna Pokrovskaya • the writer’s father, 1907

 Father is a son of a priest, and is studying for his doctorate at Kiev Theological Seminary at that time, where he would eventually become a professor specializing in the history of religion; he also works as a censor in Kiev Censorship Section, in charge of material printed in French, German, and English

Mother is a teacher, whose father was a bishop, and her two brothers are doctors • the writer’s mother in 1907, after her husband’s death

 Father dies of sclerosis of the kidneys at age 48 (when Mikhail is 16). His wife is left to care for 7 children, Mikhail being the oldest • Bulgakov enters Kiev University in 1909, at age 18. He specializes in medicine

• Bulgakov as a high school boy, 1909

• Bulgakov as a student

• Bulgakov during his university years

• At the age of 22, he marries Tatyana Nikolaevna Lappa, the niece of one of his mother’s friends • In 1916, Bulgakov receives his degree. During 1916-1919, he works as an army doctor with his wife as a nurse in different areas of Russia and Ukraine

• Bulgakov working at the hospital in Saratov in the summer of 1914

• He witnesses a number of horrors, tries to desert the army several times and gets mobilized again

• During 1919-1920, he gets his first professional experience as a journalist and a playwright, writing, giving lectures, and seeing his first plays produced. He gives up his medical career and decides to make a living as a writer • During 1921-1923, Bulgakov writes feuilletons and stories for the Moscow and Leningrad newspapers and magazines

 In 1922, his first serious literary effort – Part One of “Notes on the Cuff” – is published in the newspaper Nakanune. It is heavily autobiographical; its style and structure mimic the lack of stability in Civil War Russia • A year later, Part Two of “Notes on the Cuff” is published in the magazine Rossia. The novel White Guard was apparently begun around this time. It is a historical novel about the Civil War, abounding in realistic descriptions of real people and real places. The novel was deemed provocative because it was sympathetic in its depiction of its White heroes

Lyubov Evgenievna Belozerskaya, Bulgakov’s second wife • In 1921, the story collection “Diaboliad,” which is mainly dark satire, and part one of the novel White Guard were published. This same year, Bulgakov marries Lyubov Evgenievna Belozerskaya

• In 1925, the Moscow Art Theater suggests that Bulgakov make a play out of White Guard, a project he had already begun on his own. Diaboliad, a collection of his stories, which includes “The Fatal Eggs,” is published. His novella Heart of a Dog is written but rejected by the censors. Although being an entertaining work, it is also a political allegory, imploying an idea of unnatural operation on a man and a dog as an obvious metaphor for the Bolshevik Revolution

the Art Theater building

• In 1926, two minor collections of feuilletons are published: Stories and A Treatise on Housing. Due to attention attracted by attempts to get his novella Heart of a Dog published, representatives of secret police search his apartment, confiscating both the manuscript of the novella and his diaries, and interrogate him. His plays, Days of the Turbins and Zoya’s Apartment, premiere; they are immediately successful and controversial

Bulgakov in 1926, at the time of the premiere of Days of the Turbins

 Days of the Turbins brought a lot of fame to Bulgakov and revitalized the Moscow Art Theater. When it was premiered, the play caused a political and social sensation, due to its special meaning to post-Civil War and post-Revolutionary society in which the conquered have no voice and the victors are not quite at ease • During 1925-1927, stories which belong to the cycle Notes of a Young Doctor are published in The Medical Worker. This is Bulgakov’s last appearance in print during his lifetime

The most famous picture of Bulgakov taken at the time of the premiere, 1926

 During 1927, attacks on Bulgakov intensify; play Days of the Turbins is banned

 In 1928, he begins the work which will become The Master and Margarita; his play Flight is banned before its premiere. Play Crimson Island premieres

Bulgakov’s study in his apartment

 In 1929, his plays Days of the Turbins, Zoya’s Apartment, and Crimson Island are banned. After continuing attacks, Bulgakov writes to the Secretary of the Central Committee of USSR, Enukidze, asking that he and his wife be allowed to leave the country. The full text of White Guard is published in Paris • In 1930, in despair at his general situation, and the banning of his new play The Cabal of Hypocrites, for which he had high hopes, Bulgakov burns his manuscripts. He writes a letter to Stalin, in which he points out that he is obviously useless to his country as a writer and asks that he be allowed to leave. Stalin provides him with a minor theater job at TRAM (Theater of the Working Youth. Later, he is given work at the Art Theater as an assistant director on the production of Dead Souls

 in 1931, the play Adam and Eve is written, a work which has never been published in Soviet Union. Bulgakov again addresses the government asking for permission to travel abroad, and receives no answer

• In 1932, after a routine request by the theater, Days of the Turbins is allowed on stage again, a development which mystifies all concerned. New play Days is premiered. Bulgakov marries Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya. Premiere of Dead Souls at the Art Theater takes place in Bulgakov’s adaptation

Bulgakov and Elena Sergeevna. His third marriage

Bulgakov in 1932

 In 1933, Bulgakov turns in his Life of Monsieur de Moliere, a short biography for a series edited by A. Tikhonov, who soon rejects the manuscript. Later in a year, Bulgakov secretely does extensive work on the new draft of The Master and Margarita • In 1934, he writes the play Bliss which will not be produced in his lifetime. Later, he writes again to the government requesting permission to travel. Finishes the scenario of The Inspector General • In 1935, he rewrites Zoya’s Apartment for the Paris production

• In 1936, after a warfare in the theater, the play The Cabal of Hypocrites finally premieres. It is a great success with the public despite the flaws of interpretation imposed by Stanislavsky, but official criticism is swift and damaging. The most important attack on this play is published in Pravda under the title “External Glitter and False Content.” The play is immediately taken out of the repertory. This event is a final blow to the already strained relations between Stanislavsky and Bulgakov. Bulgakov officially resigns from the Art Theater. Toward the end of the year, he begins Theatrical Novel which is a satire on his adventures in the Art Theater from his first play to his last

 In 1937, Bulgakov works with V. Veresaev on the play Pushkin, a collaboration which ends in a quarrel; ultimately, Veresaev takes his name off the manuscript. The first version of the play Ivan Vasilievich is finished

• In 1938, Bulgakov continues his intensive work on The Master and Margarita. The adaptation of Don Quixote is finished

• In 1939, the epilogue to Master and Margarita is written. The play Batum, about the young Stalin (written at the Art Theater’s instigation for Stalin’s jubilee) is finished. Permission has been granted to Bulgakov to travel. He and his wife go to Leningrad. There he becomes sick and it is discovered that he has hypertonic nephrosclerosis, the disease which killed his father at almost the same age. Bulgakov returns to Moscow seriously ill and anxious to finish his novel

Bulgakov during the last days

 In 1940, the last work is done on the final proof and correction of Master and Margarita. In March of that year, Bulgakov dies

• To most people today, Bulgakov is best known as the author of –Master and Margarita; in his own lifetime, he was known mainly as a playwright. He is a hero to Russians, but in the Soviet Union both his life and his works are still presented selectively.

– Major Works por • Notes on the Cuff – autobiographical prose White Guard – novel • Heart of a Dog - novella • The Master and Margarita -novel

• Stories • Diaboliad – collection of stories • Notes of a Young Doctor

• Stories and A Treatise on Housing - feuilletons

• Plays • Days of the Turbins • Zoya’s Apartment • Flight • The Crimson Island • The Cabal of Hypocrites • Adam and Eve • Life of Monsieur de Moliere • Bliss • The Inspector General • PushkinIvan Vasilievich • Batum

Major Themes • Bulgakov is a unique phenomenon and a characteristic victim of life under 20th century totalitarianism • Regarded as a “mystical” writer • Spiritual barrenness was characteristic of Russian radical thought at the beginning of the 20th century

• Lived at a time when Soviet Union was single-mindedly engaged in constructing a “new socialist society;” everything was directed to speeding the nation’s progress toward communist future • Was regarded as a writer “out of his time,” as an alien in Moscow literary world, which was dominated by Socialist-Realist tradition

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