The book has been based on the materials from Bulgakov's family archive that were collected, preserved and studied by the writer's sister Nadezhda Afanasyevna Bulgakova-Zemskaya (1893—1971).
The book is divided into two parts. In the first part various materials have been published: M. Bulgakov's letters and the letters of his relatives, friends, parents, brothers and sisters addressed to him; his family members' diaries; memoirs of the family life in Karachev at the borderline between the 19th and the 20th centuries; memoirs of M. Bulgakov; his brothers Nikolaj's and Ivan's stories about emigration; his grandfather priest Mikhail Pokrovsky's and his father Afanassij Ivanovich Bulgakov's obituaries. This part of the book ends with two articles by M. Bulgakov, «The Future to Come» (1919) and «The Theatrical October» (1920). Besides, it contains a number of sketches devoted to various topics, «The Bulgakovs and the Revolution», «The Last Year in the Mikhail Bulgakov's Life», «The Brothers Bulgakov» among them.
The materials published in the book add a lot to our knowledge about M. Bulgakov, draw the portraits of many members of his family (his grandfather priest Mikhail Pokrovsky, his mother and father, his mother's younger sister Shurochka Barkhatova, the writer's brothers and sisters), recreate the atmosphere of not only Bulgakov's grandparents' and parents' house, but the life of the Russian intellectual elite and clergy as well, reveal the roots of the family, the influence the family and the city Kiev had on the would-be writer's life and creative work. The book helps clarify and make more accurate the relationship between a number of facts of the writer's biography and his literary work.
In the second part of the book, the archive materials are analyzed from the historical, cultural and linguistic perspectives. The analysis includes the study of the language and style of the documents coming from the borderline between the 19thand the 20th centuries. This part helps throw new light on quite a number of facts of the Russian standard language history.
The book contains about 200 illustrations, photo of M. Bulgakov and his family members, of old Kiev and Moscow, Xerox copies of some archive papers and of some of Bulgakov's manuscripts. The most part of these materials has been published for the first time.
The book is addressed to everyone interested in Mikhail Bulgakov's life and creative work and to those interested in the history of Russian language, culture and everyday life of the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century.
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