Marietta Chudakova’s biography of Bulgakov was first published in 1988 and remains the most authoritative and comprehensive study of the writer’s life ever produced. It has received acclaim for the journalistic style in which it is written: the author draws on unpublished manuscripts and early drafts of Bulgakov’s novels to bring the writer to life. She also explores archive documents and memoirs written by some of Bulgakov’s contemporaries so as to construct a comprehensive and nuanced portrait of the writer and his life and times. The scholar casts light on Bulgakov’s life with an unrivalled eye for detail and a huge amount of affection for the writer and his works.
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Life and Times will be of particular interest to international researchers studying Mikhail Bulgakov’s life and works, and is recommended to a broader audience worldwide.
With a guest introduction by Professor Julie Curtis.
Published with the support of the Institute for Literary Translation, Russia
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Endorsements and Review Quotes
“Huw Davies’s translation is a major contribution to the fields of Soviet literary, biographical, and intellectual studies. […] It is a book that will mean many things to many different people: a standard resource for the scholar, an introduction to a very different intellectual climate for the student of Russian Studies, and a mind-bending adventure for the English-language reader of Master and Margarita looking to learn more about Bulgakov’s life and times.” Sidney Eric Dement, The Russian Review
“As Chudakova makes clear in her preface, her focus is primarily biographical: ‘Bulgakov’s creative output is only mentioned to the extent that it proved possible to perceive it and trace its connections…’. Anyone expecting critical evaluative insights into Bulgakov’s stories, novels and plays may therefore in one sense be disappointed. They should, however, resist the temptation to take advantage of the extensive, if not always reliable, index in order merely to dip in and out of the book. Despite the challenges outlined above, it repays careful reading; in its sheer wealth of detail it includes so much to savour.” Roger Cockrell, East-West Review
“Chudakova’s compilation of often extremely minute details of Bulgakov’s life—from the flora, fauna, and intellectual atmosphere of pre-Revolutionary Kiev, to the attendees and menus of various social gatherings, to the color of the pencils he favored (“on this occasion, red”)—and her correlations of this factual material with Bulgakov’s oeuvre resulted in the first glasnost-era biographical study of Bulgakov in Russian, Zhizneopisanie Mikhaila Bulgakova.” Timothy D. Sergay, Delos
“This abridged English translation of the Russian original (Zhizneopisanie Mikhaila Bulgakova) is a long but, nonetheless, absorbing read. It provides rich detail about Bulgakov’s life and times, drawing context from diaries, letters and personal accounts. All of these sources have been authored by either Bulgakov himself, an array of wives and close relatives, or friends from various stages of his short, vexed, but, nevertheless, incredibly productive, life. In addition, there are a number of contributions from other contemporary sources that throw light on Bulgakov’s rich œuvre.” John Cook, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies (ASEES) Journal