Written by:
Mikhail Bulgakov

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2022
1 hour 16 minutes
Mikhail Bulgakov was born on 15th May 1891 in Kiev, in the Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire, into a Russian family. He was one of seven children.In 1901, Bulgakov attended the First Kiev Gymnasium, and developed a keen interest in Russian and European literature, theatre and opera. After the death of his father in 1907, his mother assumed responsibility for his education. After graduating Bulgakov entered the Medical Faculty of Kiev University and then took up a post as physician at the Kiev Military Hospital.At the outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered as a doctor and was sent directly to the front, where he was badly injured at least twice. To suppress chronic pain, especially in the abdomen, he injected morphine. It took years to wean himself off.He now took up medical posts in various towns and in 1919, he was mobilised by the Ukrainian People's Army and assigned to the Northern Caucasus. There, he became seriously ill with typhus and barely survived. After this illness, Bulgakov abandoned his medicine to pursue writing. He moved to Vladikavkaz and had two plays staged there with great success. He wrote too for various newspapers and other outlets, but his critics were many. And growing.When a Moscow's theatre director severely criticised Bulgakov, Stalin personally protected him, saying that a writer of Bulgakov's quality was above ‘party words’ like ‘left’ and ‘right’. Indeed, it is said that Stalin watched ‘The Days of the Turbins’ at least 15 times.It was not to last and by March 1929, Bulgakov's career was ruined when Government censorship stopped publication of any of his work and plays.In despair, Bulgakov wrote a personal letter to Stalin. He requested permission to emigrate. He received a phone call from the Soviet leader, who asked the writer whether he really desired to leave. He replied that a Russian writer cannot live outside of his homeland. Stalin thus gave him permission to continue working. In May 1930, he re-joined the theater, as stage director's assistant. During the last stressful decade of his life, and in poor health, Bulgakov continued to work on ‘The Master and Margarita’, wrote plays, critical works, stories, and continued translations and dramatisations of novels. Many of them were not published, others were derided by critics. On 10th March 1940, Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov died from nephrosclerosis. He was 48.‘The Master and Margarita’ was not published in any form until the mid-1960’sIn this story Bulgakov relates the terrifying and hellish descent into addiction that seems so avoidable and yet so chillingly not.
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