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The Master and His Muse: A Love Story Defying Censorship and Time

  The magical literary work “The Master and Marguerite” is still famous all over the world. As the prototype of the hero and heroine, the love between Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov and his wife Irina Serkivna is also full of “magic”.
  Only she supports his creation
  In February 1929, Bulgakov and Irina met at a party at a friend’s house. Irina had seen “The Days of the Turbins” at the Moscow Art Theater where her sister worked. Now she was happily staying with the author, watching him passionately perform an improvised story. The next day they went skiing together and visited the Actors Club. When summer arrived and Irina was on vacation in the North Caucasus, Bulgakov wrote a new work “To a Secret Friend” specifically for her. The seemingly humorous Bulgakov’s career was not going well. His dream-structured play “Escape” described the exile of Russian officials and intellectuals. The authorities hoped to add one or two “meaningful dreams”. Due to Bulgakov’s refusal, “Escape” was not released. He also wrote “The Life of Molière” to console his unfortunate situation, but was also banned from performing. At that time, Bulgakov could not publish his works, and he could not even find work as a stage manager or printer. Seeing that he had burned the manuscripts of several works in succession, Elena, who had an upright personality, helped him send a firm letter. In the letter, Bulgakov cited the media’s criticism and demanded the right to work. A week later, he received an invitation to direct at the Youth Workers’ Theater, and Irina helped refine the details of the contract.
  In September 1932, they met again and they were both single. Bulgakov and Elena decided to get married. He told her: “The whole world is against me, and I have always been alone. Now that we are together, I am not afraid of anything.” After the marriage, the two went to Leningrad During their honeymoon, Bulgakov regained the manuscript of “The Master and Margaret” that had been burned three years ago, and Irina was responsible for the transcripts. Elena also used a diary to record events related to her husband. “I wrote down these real things that will surprise readers in the future.” Back in Moscow, Bulgakov’s enthusiasm for writing was high. Returning from the theater at night, he continued to dictate chapters of “The Master and Margarita” to Elena. One day in January 1934, the extremely tired Bulgakov was lying on the bed explaining about “fire”. Then a fire actually broke out in their home, and Irina couldn’t laugh or cry about it. In addition to running the household, she was also Bulgakov’s business assistant, taking over the administrative work of commercial negotiations for his works, so that Bulgakov could concentrate on his creations.
  Bulgakov often created several works simultaneously. In order to ensure that the biographical work commemorating the centenary of Pushkin’s death passed the review, he cooperated with Veresayev, a recognized research expert. Irina also helped him collect materials and independently analyzed a note written by Pushkin’s friend. Bulgakov describes Pushkin’s life in the last few years. Historically, Pushkin’s wife Natalya has always been criticized for being “unsupportive of her husband.” However, Bulgakov writes about her as Pushkin’s muse. This new perspective makes her Elena was excited.
  Hand in hand to withstand the wind and rain
  Some critics and dramatists have never stopped criticizing Bulgakov, citing both political speculation and personal jealousy. “The Fate of the Turbins” was performed for hundreds of performances, and the performers did not even want to mention Bulgakov’s name. When the play was staged in the United States, the director wrote a letter inviting the couple to meet in New York. Bulgakov himself also wanted to go to France to visit relatives, but all his applications to go abroad were rejected. Bulgakov felt like a prisoner and was anxious, so Irina hired a famous doctor to provide him with hypnotherapy. The staff of the Art Theater hoped that Elena would persuade her husband to write a “letter of repentance” to admit his mistakes, but Elena refused directly. She blocked all similar persuaders from Bulgakov’s world.
  Although she could not make ends meet, Irina still added an antique desk to Bulgakov’s study. It is said that the original owner of the desk was Alexander I, and Bulgakov liked to think of himself as nineteenth century people. Elena also improves the lives of her family with homemade pâté and pies, and Bulgakov also plays games with his young stepson, creating a happy atmosphere at home. At the beginning of 1937, Bulgakov replenished “To a Secret Friend”. In the book, he told Elena everything about his own experience. The reality was rough, but there was no lack of comedy between the lines. Bulgakov sometimes discussed with his wife the creative situation he faced, but Irina never persuaded him to stop writing. “If you don’t create your own works, wouldn’t life lose its meaning?” When July came, Irina persuaded Bulgakov to stop writing. Garkov went to the Ukrainian countryside for a summer vacation. During this period, they did not read newspapers or answer phone calls, aiming to completely relax their emotions. Returning home a month later, Bulgakov resigned from his job at the Art Theater.
  Bulgakov, who was idle at home, continued to perfect “The Master and Margaret”: the work written by the hero could not be published, and his wife Margaret used supernatural power to save him and Margaret. his works. In May 1938, Bulgakov contacted a publisher whom he had known for many years. The publisher did not agree to provide publishing help for “The Master and Margarita”. Bulgakov could not help but mutter to himself: “It belongs to me.” Sunset work…” At the end of the next year, Bulgakov wrote the play “Batumi” about Stalin at the theater’s request. Some people still jumped out to criticize his writing method and blocked the performance just to “turn around his career.” Bulgakov On the “edge of collapse.”
  Let the world know your husband’s name
  Due to an attack of kidney disease, Bulgakov’s physical condition was quite bad. He suffered from splitting headaches and was nearly blind. He could only stay in bed most of the time. When he occasionally went out for a walk, Bulgakov wore a hat knitted by Irina for him, which was exactly the same hat worn by the hero of “The Master and Margarita”. When Bulgakov’s health allowed, Irina took the trouble to reread the manuscript of the novel for him and wrote down the final revisions. Entering the last days of his life, Bulgakov said affectionately to Elena: “You are everything to me, you illuminate my earthly life.”
  After Bulgakov’s death, Irina regarded publishing “The Master and Margaret” as her living mission. She became friends with the writer Fadeev, who wrote a eulogy for Bulgakov. During the 1941 war, Irina took temporary refuge in Tashkent with the help of Fadeev. She kept meeting Bulgakov in her dreams. After waking up, she wrote in her diary: “You winked at me quietly and looked at me with a smile. Only we two know what this means.” 1950s and 1960s In the 1990s, Irina published some of her husband’s works with the help of friends. In the following ten years, she tried her best to publish “The Master and Margaret” but failed, but she firmly believed that the whole world would know her husband’s name.
  In the winter of 1966, the abridged version of “The Master and Margaret” was published in a niche magazine “Moscow”. Soon, Harper’s Company in New York published the complete version of the novel, and Paris immediately released the French version… “Bulgakov” resounded throughout the world. Irina was invited to visit abroad. She met with the widow of Bulgakov’s brother and worked together to sort out their brothers’ correspondence. In the summer of 1970, the TV series version of Bulgakov’s “Escape”, which Irina participated in the production of, was about to be released. She passed away the day after watching the sample.
  At a cemetery in Moscow, a special granite stone tablet was erected in front of the tombs of Bulgakov and Irina. This kind of stele called “Golgotha” comes from the grave of the writer Gogol, and was found by Elena on a special trip in the past. Elena felt that this black and porous stone must match her husband’s temperament. Of course she was right, Bulgakov had no doubt.

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