Mikhail Bulgakov

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Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov (Russian: Михаи́л Афана́сьевич Булга́ков, May 15 [O.S. May 3] 1891, Kiev – March 10, 1940, Moscow) was a Russian writer and playwright active in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which The Times of London has called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.[1]



Mikhail Bulgakov was born on May 15, 1891 in Kiev, at that time in the Russian Empire. He was the eldest son of Afanasiy Bulgakov, an assistant professor at the Kiev Theological Academy. Both of his grandfathers were were clergymen in the Russian Orthodox Church. From 1901 to 1904 Bulgakov attended the First Kiev Gymnasium, where he developed an interest in Russian and European literature, theatre and opera.

In 1913 Bulgakov married Tatiana Lappa. At the outbreak of the First World War he volunteered with the Red Cross as a medical doctor and was sent directly to the frontline, where he was badly injured at least twice. In 1916, he graduated from the Medical Department of Kiev University and then served in the White Army alongside his brothers. He also briefly served in the Ukrainian People's Army.

After the Civil War and rise of the Soviets, much of his family emigrated to Paris (in exile). Mikhail and brothers ended up in the Caucasus. He first began to work as a journalist there, but when they were invited to return as doctors by the French and German governments, Bulgakov was refused permission to leave Russia because of typhus. This was when he last saw his family.

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