Diaries and Selected Letters

Overview

The first English translation and only edition in print of Bulgakov's diaries and letters

The career of Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of Master and Margarita?now regarded as one of the masterpieces of 20th-century literature?was characterized by a constant and largely unsuccessful struggle against state censorship. This suppression did not only apply to his art: in 1926 his personal diary was seized by the authorities. From then on he confined his thoughts to letters to his ...

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Diaries and Selected Letters

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Overview

The first English translation and only edition in print of Bulgakov's diaries and letters

The career of Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of Master and Margarita—now regarded as one of the masterpieces of 20th-century literature—was characterized by a constant and largely unsuccessful struggle against state censorship. This suppression did not only apply to his art: in 1926 his personal diary was seized by the authorities. From then on he confined his thoughts to letters to his friends and family, as well as to public figures such as Stalin and his fellow Soviet writer Gorky, while also encouraging his wife Yelena to keep a diary, with many entries influenced or even dictated by him. This selection from the diaries and letters of the Bulgakovs provides an insightful glimpse into a fascinating period of Russian history and literature, telling the tragic tale of the fate of an artist under a totalitarian regime.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Cockrell's translation and his additional material crackle and glow with Bulgakov's energy." —Bookslut

Library Journal
11/15/2013
When writer and playwright Bulgakov (1891–1940) forsook his medical practice for a writer's life in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union, he could not have anticipated the measure of his hardships. This selection of letters (1921–40) and diary entries (1921–25) attest to the writer's personal sacrifice and commitment in defiance of totalitarian suppression and dictate. Daily accounts and correspondence to his brothers, his wives, and Constantin Stanislavski, cofounder of the Moscow Art Theatre, among other theater directors and his small circle of trusted friends, reveal a lifelong protest against bureaucratic intransigence, betrayal, and censorship. His impassioned letters to party apparatchiks and even Stalin, pleading for a chance to emigrate or secure a temporary visa, are depressing in their futility. Bulgakov often refers to his work on stories and plays, but there is little on his posthumously published masterpiece novel The Master and Margarita (1967). The informative endnotes beg amplification, and the biographical and historical "extra material" at the end of the book would have been more advantageous as a prolog contextualizing the forthcoming material. This selection, taken from more complete Russian editions (1997; 2004), is a fluid and solid English translation by Cockrell (Russian, Univ. of Exeter, England; Bulgakov's The Fatal Eggs and The White Guard). VERDICT For large public and academic libraries and ardent Bulgakov readers.—Lonnie Weatherby, McGill Univ. Lib., Montreal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847493033
  • Publisher: Alma Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Pages: 278
  • Sales rank: 1,014,823
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mikhail Bulgakov (1891–1940) was a Russian writer and playwright whose works include The Master and Margarita, which has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Roger Cockrell has also translated Bulgakov's The Fatal Eggs and White Guard.
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