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Black Snow

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Paperback published by Melville House (Melville House)

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About This Book
A new edition of Bulgakov’s blistering satire about the great Russian director Stanislavski, inventor of “Method acting,” part of Melville House’s reissue of the Bulgakov backlist in Michael Glenny’s celebrated translations.

In 1926, a play based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The White Guard premiered at the prestigious Moscow Arts Theatre and it was an immediate and long-lasting success that laid the ground for the rest of Bulgakov’s career as a playwright and novelist.

But it was not an entirely positive experience, and this novel, written near the end of Bulgakov’s life, skewers the theatrical fraternity he had been a part of for many years, and the Stalinist system of censorship that suppressed his work.

Black Snow is the story of Maxudov, a young playwright whose play is chosen, almost at random, to be performed by the legendary Independent Theatre, and the chaos that ensues. The two co-directors of the theater, modeled after Stanislavski and his co-director, battle to control the production, star actresses throw daily fits, and with each rehearsal the chances of the play ever being ready to perform recedes. The ultimate backstage novel and a brilliant satire from one of the greatest modern Russian writers.
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A new edition of Bulgakov’s blistering satire about the great Russian director Stanislavski, inventor of “Method acting,” part of Melville House’s reissue of the Bulgakov backlist in Michael Glenny’s celebrated translations.

In 1926, a play based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The White Guard premiered at the prestigious Moscow Arts Theatre and it was an immediate and long-lasting success that laid the ground for the rest of Bulgakov’s career as a playwright and novelist.

But it was not an entirely positive experience, and this novel, written near the end of Bulgakov’s life, skewers the theatrical fraternity he had been a part of for many years, and the Stalinist system of censorship that suppressed his work.

Black Snow is the story of Maxudov, a young playwright whose play is chosen, almost at random, to be performed by the legendary Independent Theatre, and the chaos that ensues. The two co-directors of the theater, modeled after Stanislavski and his co-director, battle to control the production, star actresses throw daily fits, and with each rehearsal the chances of the play ever being ready to perform recedes. The ultimate backstage novel and a brilliant satire from one of the greatest modern Russian writers.
Product Details
Paperback (224 pages)
Published: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Melville House
Imprint: Melville House
ISBN: 9781612192147
Other books byMikhail Bulgakov
  • The Master and Margarita

    The Master and Margarita
    Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. Full of pungency and wit, this luminous work is Bulgakov's crowning achievement, skilfully blending magical and realistic elements, grotesque situations and major ethical concerns. Written during the darkest period of Stalin's repressive reign and a devastating satire of Soviet life, it combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with incident and with historical, imaginary, frightful and wonderful characters. Although completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was not published until 1966 when the first section appeared in the monthly magazine Moskva. Russians everywhere responded enthusiastically to the novel's artistic and spiritual freedom and it was an immediate and enduring success. This new translation has been made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.  

    Heart of a Dog

    Heart of a Dog
    I first read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita on a balcony of the Hotel Metropole in Saigon on three summer evenings in 1971. The tropical air was heavy and full of the smells of cordite and motorcycle exhaust and rotting fish and wood-fire stoves, and the horizon flared ambiguously, perhaps from heat lightning, perhaps from bombs. Later each night, as was my custom, I would wander out into the steamy back alleys of the city, where no one ever seemed to sleep, and crouch in doorways with the people and listen to the stories of their culture and their ancestors and their ongoing lives. Bulgakov taught me to hear something in those stories that I had not yet clearly heard. One could call it, in terms that would soon thereafter gain wide currency, "magical realism". The deadpan mix of the fantastic and the realistic was at the heart of the Vietnamese mythos. It is at the heart of the present zeitgeist. And it was not invented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as wonderful as his One Hundred Years of Solitude is. Garcia Marquez's landmark work of magical realism was predated by nearly three decades by Bulgakov's brilliant masterpiece of a novel. That summer in Saigon a vodka-swilling, talking black cat, a coven of beautiful naked witches, Pontius Pilate, and a whole cast of benighted writers of Stalinist Moscow and Satan himself all took up permanent residence in my creative unconscious. Their presence, perhaps more than anything else from the realm of literature, has helped shape the work I am most proud of. I'm often asked for a list of favorite authors. Here is my advice. Read Bulgakov. Look around you at the new century. He will show you things you need to see.

    A Country Doctor's Notebook

    A Country Doctor's Notebook
    Part autobiography, part fiction, this early work by the author of The Master and Margarita shows a master at the dawn of his craft, and a nation divided by centuries of unequal progress. In 1916 a 25-year-old, newly qualified doctor named Mikhail Bulgakov was posted to the remote Russian countryside. He brought to his position a diploma and a complete lack of field experience. And the challenges he faced didn’t end there: he was assigned to cover a vast and sprawling territory that was as yet unvisited by modern conveniences such as the motor car, the telephone, and electric lights. The stories in A Country Doctor’s Notebook are based on this two-year window in the life of the great modernist. Bulgakov candidly speaks of his own feelings of inadequacy, and warmly and wittily conjures episodes such as peasants applying medicine to their outer clothing rather than their skin, and finding himself charged with delivering a baby—having only read about the procedure in text books. Not yet marked by the dark fantasy of his later writing, this early work features a realistic and wonderfully engaging narrative voice—the voice, indeed, of twentieth century Russia’s greatest writer.   From the Trade Paperback edition.

    White Guard

    White Guard
    White Guard, Mikhail Bulgakov’s semi-autobiographical first novel, is the story of the Turbin family in Kiev in 1918. Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka Turbin have just lost their mother—their father had died years before—and find themselves plunged into the chaotic civil war that erupted in the Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In the context of this family’s personal loss and the social turmoil surrounding them, Bulgakov creates a brilliant picture of the existential crises brought about by the revolution and the loss of social, moral, and political certainties. He confronts the reader with the bewildering cruelty that ripped Russian life apart at the beginning of the last century as well as with the extraordinary ways in which the Turbins preserved their humanity.   In this volume Marian Schwartz, a leading translator, offers the first complete and accurate translation of the definitive original text of Bulgakov’s novel. She includes the famous dream sequence, omitted in previous translations, and beautifully solves the stylistic issues raised by Bulgakov’s ornamental prose. Readers with an interest in Russian literature, culture, or history will welcome this superb translation of Bulgakov’s important early work.   This edition also contains an informative historical essay by Evgeny Dobrenko.  

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