Translation of Andrzej Drawicz’s the Master and the Devil: A Study of Mikhail Bulgakov

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This book examines all known prose and dramatic works by Mikhail Bulgakov in the context of his life and times. In the earlier chapters, evidence of his first steps in literature is correlated with the known facts of his career and used to build a picture of some biographical episodes which have not been recorded. Subsequent chapters focus on his works, from his earliest feuilletons and stories to his major plays and novels.


"Competently translated from the Polish, this is an interesting study of the life and work of a man who has emerged as a major Russian writer of the 20th century. Although Drawicz's account tends to be descriptive, factographic, and discursive, he makes many important points about Bulgakov's literary development. He notes that Bulgakov's fascination with the devil is of Gogolian origin--the devil symbolized "the mysterious nature of the world" and represented a natural phenomenon in an alien and hostile world--and probably turned into an obsession in the light of the revolutionary period and after, when Bulgakov nurtured a visceral disdain for communist life. Drawicz also shows how Bulgakov's works reflect various facets of his life and find ultimate synthesis in his greatest work, The Master and Margarita. In discussing that work, Drawicz cannot reach any "conclusive answer" concerning its "overall scheme," and he compares it to Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago in offering "spiritual freedom to the individual ... this is a very informative study. Upper-division undergraduates and above" - CHOICE

“In the case of this literary biography, one might add the skill of a detective in seeking out concealed evidence, the intuition of one whose experience has been akin to his subject’s in conjecturing what may have filled the blanks in the record, and the courage of the heretic in pursuing a study beyond the limits of tolerance of the regimes involved. There is to be added the perceptiveness of the translator who realised the value of the biography and who also had the talent and the insight into three languages and cultures to produce a translation worthy of the original. . . . Drawicz has three threads: the life of Bulgakov, the publication and stage history of his works and an evaluation of the literary and theatrical merit of those works. . . It is remarkable that a Polish literary critic, with an Anglo-Australian translator, can produce a study of one of the great Russian authors of the century which is not overwhelmed by its subject and which stands as the best short introduction to Bulgakov available to the English reader.” – Prof. Rosh Ireland, Australian National University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Leslie Milne


About the Author

The Master and the Lesser Devil

Chapter One: The City, The House, and Years of Wandering

Chapter Two: The Years of Study and Apprentice

Chapter Three: An Essay in Satire

Chapter Four: An Essay in Honest Reporting

Chapter Five: An Essay in Recovered Dignity

Chapter Six: An Essay in Comedy and Compromise

Chapter Seven: Breakdown and Attempts to Leave

Chapter Eight: An Essay in Normality

Chapter Nine: Essays in Almost Everything

Chapter Ten: Victory

The Master

The Devil


Select Bibliography

Index of Names

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