Diaries and Selected Letters by Mikhail Bulgakov


To dictate diary entries is perhaps not the highest act of trust, but it’s still an act of trust.

Where do I begin with this book, first of all I would like to thank Will at Alma Books for being so kind and sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Diaries and Selected Letters is a collection of diary entries and letters that Mikhail Bulgakov wrote between 1921-1940. Many of the diary entries and letters that appear within this collection have been translated for the first time in English. Throughout these diary entries and letters you get a glimpse into a period of Russian history and literature that is both compelling and fascinating.  This translation was first published in 2013 and was translated by Roger Cockrell.

The story centres on (official blurb): “The career of Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of The Master and Margarita – now regarded as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century literature – was characterized by a constant and largely unsuccessful struggle against state censorship. This suppression did not only apply to his art: in 1926 his personal diary was seized by the authorities. From then on he confined his thoughts to letters to his friends and family, as well as to public figures such as strain and his fellow Soviet writer Gorky, while also encouraging his wife Yelena to keep a diary, with many entries influenced or even dictated by him.”

There are many things that can be said about this collection of diary entries and letters that Mikhail Bulgakov wrote between 1921-1940. However, the first thing I would like to stated about this collection is the fact that after 1926 Bulgakov’s diary entries abruptly end due to the fact his house was searched/raided by officials and his personal writings were in fact confiscated.

One of the things I loved about this collection the most by Mikhail Bulgakov is the fact his diary entries and letters give you an insight into Russia and its Stalinist era as well as the events, issues and in many cases the effects that certain things had on everyday society during this period of history. This collection shows the uniqueness and creatively that Bulgakov’s writing has. Mikhail’s writing has a power about it that sucks you in and makes you really feel like you are right there next to him when he is writing these diary entries and letters to his family and friends. It also makes you feel like you are right there in Russia experiencing everything that he and the society of that time are also experiencing and going/living through.  In general this book is wonderful and most definitely shows that Bulgakov was a gifted writer of this era.

So for those of you that love or enjoy Mikhail Bulgakov and/or writing this book is an absolute must read, but also for those who want to get to know him.

“Let’s wait and see, learn and be silent.”

The edition was published by Alma Classics (2016)

(The Image is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)



2 responses to “Diaries and Selected Letters by Mikhail Bulgakov

  1. I love Mikhail Bulgakov’s writings and considering the time and era when he wrote, it is marvelous how much he managed to share despite all the censorship. I will try and get a copy this one! Thank You for a great review


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