BULGAKOV, Mikhail


BULGAKOV, Mikhail
(1891-1940)
   Soviet playwright and novelist whose fame in the West has come only with the posthumous publication in translation of most of his fiction, including Belaya gvardiya (1925; trans Michael Glenny as The White Guard 1971 UK) and Cherny sneg (written late 1930s; trans Michael Glenny as Black Snow 1967 UK), neither of which are sf/fantasy. A collection of short stories, Dyaboliada (coll 1925; trans Carl R. Proffer as Diaboliad and Other Stories 1972 US), includes "The Crimson Island: A Novel by Comrade Jules Verne Translated from the French into the Aesopian" (1924 Germany), a Jules VERNE-like fable made into a play (performed 1928) with the same title, and "The Fatal Eggs" (1924), whose indictment of the mechanizing hubris of science reflects the influence of H.G. WELLS's The Food of the Gods (1904). A similar analysis shapes Sobacheye Serdste (written 1925; trans Michael Glenny from the manuscript as Heart of a Dog 1968 UK and by Mirra GINSBURG 1968 US), a short sf novel in which a scientist transforms a dog into a sort-of-man who proves incapable of the fundamental transformation to civilized behaviour; eventually, the scientist is forced to change him back into a dog (or allegorical peasant) again. The tale reappeared in The Heart of a Dog and Other Stories (coll trans Kathleen Cook-Horujy and Avril Pyman 1990 Russia), along with other stories. Master i Margarita (written 1938; 1966-7 US; complete text trans Michael Glenny as The Master and Margarita 1967 UK; cut text trans Mirra Ginsburg 1967 US) is a fantasy in which the Devil appears in modern Moscow, and Christ's crucifixion is re-enacted. It was filmed in 1972 and adapted as a serial on BBC radio in 1992; the play within the novel was made into a Polish film (English title Pilate and the Others) in 1971. In "The Crimson Island" (written 1927), which appears in The Early Plays (coll trans Carl R. Proffer and Ellendea Proffer 1972 US), and in "Adam and Eve" (written 1931), "Bliss" (written 1934) and "Ivan Vasilievich" (written 1935), MB mounted a series of profound assaults upon the reality-distortions of ideology. MB was a powerful, often extremely funny, ultimately very serious writer whose use of sf and fantasy forms was tightly linked to the messages he laboured to produce about the state of the SOVIET UNION, whose apparatchiks criticized him severely during his life.
   JC
   See also: RUSSIA; THEATRE.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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