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"And Who Are the Judges?": Mikhail Bulgakov Versus Soviet Censorship, 1926-1936

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Mikhail Bulgakov is renowned for his challenge to the dry literary canons of the Soviet regime through his fantstical works of colorful content and unorthodox form, such as Sobach'e serd'tse (Heart of a Dog) and Master i Margarita. But Bulgakov is much mort than an exotic exception to Soviet puritanicalness. His works also include the highly practical and realistic, such as the tragic war-time works "Zapiski iungo vracha" (Notes of a Young Doctor) and Belaia gvardiia (The White Guad). Bulgakov's literary challenge to Soviet censorship also took direct forms. including two works that brazenly satire and examine the utterly taboo subjest of state censorship: the play, Bagrovyi ostrov (The Crimson Island) and Teaal'nyi roman (Theatrical Novel). Bulgakov's challenge to power also extendel to the epistolary, in the form of letters he sent to the Soviet government (and were read by Stalin) that contain attacks against the Soviet censorship bureau. In this real-life drama of Bulgakov versus Soviet censorship, we witness the icredible creativity and bravery of the artist, as well as discover his original and informative theory about how Soviet censorship operated. Let us begin our examina tion of this drama with the censorship bureau itself, how it first functioned and how it came to focus its sights on Bulgakov.

Affiliations: 1: (Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey


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