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Sympathy for the Devil

Michael Wood, 16 October 1997

The Master and Margarita 
by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O’Connor.
Picador, 367 pp., £20, August 1997, 0 330 35133 8
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The Master and Margarita 
by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Penguin, 412 pp., £7.99, May 1997, 0 14 118014 5
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... In an early chapter of Mikhail Bulgakov’s funny and frightening novel, The Master and Margarita, written between 1928 and 1940 and now available in four different English translations, a character loses his head – literally. He slips on a Moscow street and is hit by a tram. His last thought is ‘Can this be?’ and his severed head then bounces away across the cobblestones ...


John Barber, 29 October 1987

Socialism, Peace and Democracy: Writings, Speeches and Reports 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Zwan, 210 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 1 85305 011 3
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by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 314 pp., £5.95, May 1987, 0 631 15880 4
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The Sixth Continent: Russia and Mikhail Gorbachov 
by Mark Frankland.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 241 12122 1
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Shadows and Whispers: Power Politics inside the Kremlin from Brezhnev to Gorbachev 
by Dusko Doder.
Harrap, 349 pp., £12.95, July 1987, 0 245 54577 8
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Pravda: Inside the Soviet News Machine 
by Angus Roxburgh.
Gollancz, 285 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 575 03734 2
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Utopia in Power: A History of the USSR from 1917 to the Present 
by Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich.
Hutchinson, 877 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 09 155620 1
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... or opponents such as Nikolai Gumilyev, Georgy Ivanov, Vladislav Khodosevich, and prose works by Mikhail Bulgakov, Vasily Grossman, Anatoly Platonov and Yevgeny Zamyatin. Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago, for publishing which abroad he was expelled from the Writers’ Union in 1958, is due to appear next year; and publication of some of Nabokov’s novels has ...

Putin’s Counter-Revolution

James Meek, 20 March 2014

... anyway.’ The city is no longer the urban Russian island in a rural Ukrainian sea described by Mikhail Bulgakov in The White Guard, his novel about the Russian Civil War. It is a comfortably bilingual place, most of whose schools and colleges use Ukrainian as a teaching medium, but where Russian is commonly spoken. The uncertain atmosphere ...

An Assassin’s Land

Charles Glass: Lebanon without the Syrians, 4 August 2005

... After all, who didn’t go through the most improbable adventure during the civil war? Mikhail Bulgakov, Black Snow When a Lebanese wants your attention, he lowers his voice. You draw closer, and he asks: ‘Do you want to hear a story?’ If you say yes, and everyone does, you’re hooked. You listen. In the most Lebanese of his novels, Little Mountain, Elias Khoury tells a story about stories ...

Aphrodite bends over Stalin

John Lloyd, 4 April 1996

... Erofeyev acknowledges, involved a real loss; throughout the Soviet period, from Zamyatin through Bulgakov and Pasternak to Solzhenitsyn, writing had displayed a ‘worthy resistance to tyranny’. But the loss has also released ‘the energy that is indispensable for a full journey . . the new Russian literature flutters out of its mine cage. The intensity ...

Russia’s Managed Democracy

Perry Anderson: Why Putin?, 25 January 2007

... the grotesque, the supernatural and the utopian, in a line that includes not only Gogol and Bulgakov – presently the two most fashionable masters – but such diverse figures as Chernyshevsky, Leskov, Bely, Zamiatin, Nabokov, Platonov and others. What is new in the current versions of this tradition is their cocktail of heterogeneous genres and tropes ...

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