Tuesday, 2 January 2007

"A museum dedicated to Mikhail Bulgakov, a Russian writer condemned by the Orthodox church for his authorship of a 'Satanic gospel' has been largely destroyed," reports Agence France-Presse in The Australian today.

I've often heard of The Master and Margarita, but I've not come across a copy yet. According to the article, it wasn't published in English until 1997, by Penguin. Bulgakov died in 1940 and the book wasn't even published in Russian until 1966. Must be some pretty bad stuff, meseems. I'd better try to get my hands on a copy.

The man who caused all the damage, Alexander Morozov, is described as "a bitter critic of Bulgakov's work" and, ironically, lived in the same building as the museum. He "demanded that the museum be evicted". Svetlana Kostina, deputy director of the museum, is not amused.

He "threw many objects out of the window, including valuable illustrations of Bulgakov's works signed by great Russian artists, not to mention several computers", she said. About half the contents were damaged.

And this is not the first time Morozov has agitated against the writer. In 2004, he "organised a successful protest by residents against the construction of a monument to the writer."

The Orthdox church says the book ... was "the fifth gospel, that of Satan".

Yahoo! News has run an edited version of the story.

1 comment:

Sam and Scarlet said...

This is such a strange story, reminds me of Murray Bail's Homesickness in many ways.

Bulgakov is a great writer. I'm still yet to read Master and the... despite Mark Mordue's insistance a few years back. If you want to read a really great book, read Bulgakov's The Heart of a Dog, which is just burning with political subtext and what not. He started out as a medical doctor, like Chekhov, if I remember correctly. Sometimes literature just makes it's call, and you're forced to answer it.

I didn't know that there was a museum. It could almost be a scene out of a Bulgakov book; in any regards it would be great way to start an autobiography, pity he's dead, then.