Bulgakov is one of my favourite Russian authors. Not only am I fascinated by his writing style, but I also have a sense of profound respect for him as he was a satirist in the censorship-heavy times of the Soviet Union.
5 Reasons I think he is cool:
- He was determined and kept writing books he knew were not going to be approved by the Soviet authorities, which is especially astonishing considering the fact that the 1930s was a decade of intense Stalinist purges. Most of them ended up being published and revered internationally.
- He graduated with a degree in medicine but decided to follow his dreams and become a journalist and author instead. This must have been particularly risky given the social pressures at the time.
- He did not let his medical knowledge go to waste and volunteered for the Red Cross during World War I.
- Bulgakov’s writing style, in my opinion, is a mixture between magic-realism and fantasy – he pioneered this genre but does not get enough recognition for this. I also really love how he personifies animals in his novels and treats them as equals, and how hilarious his satire on Soviet society is.
- He has a minor planet named after him, discovered by the Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Karachkina.
Favourite quotes and excerpts from his books:
“The tongue can conceal the truth, but the eyes never! You’re asked an unexpected question, you don’t even flinch, it takes just a second to get yourself under control, you know just what you have to say to hide the truth, and you speak very convincingly, and nothing in your face twitches to give you away. But the truth, alas, has been disturbed by the question, and it rises up from the depths of your soul to flicker in your eyes and all is lost.”
“You should never ask anyone for anything. Never- and especially from those who are more powerful than yourself.”
‘The person who always finds time is the one who is never in a hurry.”