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Notes on a Cuff and Other Stories
Translated by Roger Cockrell
Begun in 1920 while Bulgakov was employed in a hospital in the remote Caucasian outpost of Vladikavkaz, and continued when he started working for a government literary department in Moscow, Notes on a Cuff is a series of journalistic sketches which show the young doctor trying to embark on a literary career among the chaos of war, disease, politics and bureaucracy.
Stylistically brilliant and brimming with humour and literary allusion, Notes on a Cuff is presented here in a new translation, along with a collection of other short pieces by Bulgakov, many of them – such as ‘The Cockroach’ and ‘A Dissolute Man’ – published for the first time in the English language.
Contains: ‘Notes on a Cuff’, ‘The Fire of the Khans’, ‘The Crimson Island’, ‘A Week of Enlightenment’, ‘The Unusual Adventures of a Doctor’, ‘Psalm’, ‘Moonshine Lake’, ‘Makar Devushkin’s Story’, ‘A Scurvy Character’, ‘The Murderer’, ‘The Cockroach’, ‘A Dissolute Man’.
Roger Cockrell’s unstrained and highly readable translations capture with admirable versatility the whole gamut of situations, characters and voices encompassed in this absorbing collection of stories.
This is a very good place to start on Bulgakov if you haven’t read any of his work before. All his manic energy is here; and so, largely, is his talent. … In Notes on a Cuff you can see one of the most original voices of the twentieth century starting to find itself. Congratulations to the publisher for making it available to us.
Loyal fans will enjoy spotting the great writer's early seeds of talent.
Vigorous, unevenly brilliant and deeply felt, [these stories] amply justify Bulgakov's attraction to the darker aspects of his times … They sparkle with helter-skelter Gogolian verve.
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.