The Life of Monsieur de Molière
Translated by Mirra Ginsburg
Written in 1932, but not published until 1962, over twenty years after its author’s death, The Life of Monsieur de Molière charts the life of the French playwright, from his humble beginnings to later theatrical triumphs and political controversies. The work was met with disapproval by the Soviet authorities, who detected parallels between the lives of Molière and Bulgakov, and viewed the work as a veiled critique of their own times. With a dazzling blend of biography and novelistic imagination, Bulgakov’s eccentric and satirical take on the life of a fellow writer energetically captures the genius of Molière, while revealing another aspect of his own self.
Born in Kiev in 1891 to Russian parents, Mikhail Bulgakov trained as a doctor and volunteered for the Red Cross on the outbreak of the First World War. He later enlisted as a doctor for the anti-Bolshevik White Army, before eventually giving up medicine to concentrate on literature. The Master and Margarita is his most famous work, and has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.