Manuscripts Don't Burn: Mikhail Bulgakov a Life in Letters and Diaries

J. A. E. Curtis, Author
J. A. E. Curtis, Author Overlook Press $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-87951-462-4
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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Brilliant satirist of life under Stalin, Soviet novelist-playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) struggled to make a career as a ``conservative'' writer in the 1920s and 1930s. His household was rife with informers and snoops, and though Stalin made him a director of the Moscow Arts Theatre, his plays were banned in 1929 and most of his writings were neither published nor performed during his lifetime. By the time of his death, Bulgakov had suffered nervous collapse and was afraid to be on the street alone. In this documentary biography, Oxford scholar Curtis ( Bulgakov's Last Decade ) splices together the writer's letters and diary entries, correspondence with friends and family, and interpretive commentary as a way to reveal Bulgakov's frustrations, his revulsion at his early medical career and at Soviet tyranny, his struggle through three marriages and his involvement in Moscow's theatrical-literary circles. Bulgakov's prickly, emotionally charged writings--which are excerpted here--flash with irony and wit. Photos. (Nov.)
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