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By Salem Press, Carl Rollyson

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It is the moment at which the hetman Pavel Petrovich Skoropadsky, who has ruled with the support of the Germans, flees the city, and the forces of the Ukrainian nationalist Semyon Petlyura prove temporarily triumphant over Whites and Bolsheviks. The White Guard is a polyphonic arrangement of a variety of characters and incidents within a brief, dramatic period in the history of modern Kiev. Its focus, however, is on the fate of one family, the Turbins, representative of a venerable way of life that is disintegrating as Ukrainian society undergoes radical change.

Captain Sergey Talberg, the opportunistic scoundrel to whom Elena is married, abandons her to seek safety and another woman in Paris. The hetman, in the cowardly disguise of a German officer, likewise deserts Kiev at its moment of greatest danger. Nevertheless, Alexei and Nikolka, along with many others, enlist in the loyalist army in a futile effort to repulse Petlyura’s advance into the city. Bulgakov depicts a range of heroism and knavery on all sides during the months of crisis in Kiev. The narrative weaves multiple subplots of combat and domestic drama into a vivid account of an obsolescent society under siege.

Achievements Some twenty-five years after his death, Mikhail Bulgakov began to receive increasing recognition—both in the Soviet Union and abroad—as a major figure in modern Russian literature. The Master and Margarita is a complex, ambitious masterpiece that has won an intensely loyal readership and much critical scrutiny since its first serialized publication in 1966-1967. This novel’s posthumous success in turn began to direct attention to Bulgakov’s other neglected works. 32 Fantasy Novelists Bulgakov, Mikhail The hazards of cultural life under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin frustrated Bulgakov’s aspirations in prose fiction, where he did his finest work, and channeled him into the theater, where, though productive, he was probably temperamentally out of place.

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