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A Country Doctor's Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov. London. 1975. Collins & Harvill. Translated from the Russian by Michael Glenny. 158 pages. Jacket design by Michael Harvey. 0002621037.

0002621037FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    Somerset Maugham; Anton Chekhov; A. J. Cronin; some of the most popular and successful writers in both English and Russian literature have been doctors. The powers of observation and human insight fostered by a medical training added to a creative temperament can be an ideal combination in making a writer. With his collection of stories a new name for English-speaking readers is added to the list of doctor-authors - Mikhail Bulgakov. To those who have read and enjoyed his novels of humour, tension and often grotesque fantasy - BLACK SNOW; THE HEART OF A DOG, THE WHITE GUARD and his chefd’oeuvre THE MASTER AND MARGARITA - it will be a rewarding surprise. Here, in a straightforward yet polished and gently ironic vein of writing, are a series of fascinating stories drawn directly from Bulgakov’s own experiences as a newly-qualified doctor during the turbulent years of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. With the ink still wet on his diploma, the 25-year-old Dr Mikhail Bulgakov was flung into the depths of rural Russia which was still largely untouched by such novelties as the telephone, electric light and the motor car. How he coped (and failed to cope) with the new and often appalling responsibilities of a lone practitioner in a vast country practice is described in a delightful blend ol candid realism and wry, self-deprecating humour.

 

bantam country doctors notebook

 

 

 

Bantam published the 1st American edition as a paperback original - 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulgakov MikhailEldest son of a professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov was born in that city in 1891. After graduating in. medicine at Kiev University, Bulgakov was sent in 1916 (as an alternative to army service) to his first practice in a remote country region of one of the north-western provinces of Russia. There he worked for two years in sole charge of a local govenment clinic serving a large and scattered rural population. Late in 1918, after a spell as a hospital intern, Bulgakov returned to his native Kiev, where he set up in private practice as a specialist in venereology. Driven out, it seems, by the intolerable strains imposed on a doctor in a city racked by civil war, he left Kiev for the Caucasus; it was at this time, in 1919 or 1920, that Bulgakov resolved to give up medicine for a full-time literary career. Moving north to Moscow in the early twenties, Bulgakov endured a period of hardship and struggle to gain recognition as a writer. His first success was his novel The White Guard, originally published in serial form in 1925 and based on his experience of Kiev in the civil war, which he turned into a play for the Moscow Arts Theatre with the altered title of The Days of the Titrbins. From then on Bulgakov’s career was intimately bound up with the stage, in particular with the Moscow Arts Theatre under the joint direction of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, where he worked as an. assistant producer and resident dramatist until his break with Stanislavsky in 1936. After some time spent as an opera librettist with the Bolshoi Theatre, he was reduced to literary impotence by Stalin’s increasingly harsh censorship. Bulgakov fell ill with a painful kidney complaint in 1939, went blind as a result of the disease and died in March 1940. In addition to the stories in the present collection (first published in two magazines in the mid-twenties) Bulgakov wrote altogether fourteen plays, three novels and a rich and varied collection of satirical stories. Although many of his works still remain unpublished in the USSR, enough of his best books and plays have appeared posthumously, between 1955 and 1967, to have secured for Mikhail Bulgakov a place as one of the most original and powerful Russian writers of the twentieth century.

 

 

 

 

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