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Theatrical Novel

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Wikipedia article

'Theatrical Novel' ('Notes of a Dead Man'), translated as 'Black Snow' and 'A Dead Man's Memoir' ( is an unfinished novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. Written in first-person, on behalf of a writer Sergei Maksudov, the novel tells of the drama behind-the-scenes of a theatre production and the Soviet writers' world.


In 1929, Bulgakov started working on a novella, written in the form of letters, called 'For Secret Friend' (also unfinished), addressed to his future wife Elena Bulgakova, which explains how he "became a playwright". In 1930, 'For Secret Friend' began to develop into a new novel, 'The Theatre', but in the same year he burned his initial sketches, along with rough drafts of 'The Master and Margarita'.

Six years later and several weeks after the final break with Moscow Art Theatre, Bulgakov began writing a novel about the theatre. On the first page of the manuscript, he outlined two titles: 'Notes of a Dead Man' and 'Theatrical Novel'.' . .' [http://www.litrossia.ru/archive/item/5393-tratatest ] // 4445 4 2011


The book satirizes Konstantin Stanislavski through the character Ivan Vasilievich, whose methods hinder actors' performances, reflecting Bulgakov's frustration with Stanislavski whilst attempting to stage 'The Cabal of Hypocrites' and 'The Days of the Turbins' (which is mentioned in the novel as 'Black Snow') in 19301936.

English translations

* 'Black Snow: A Theatrical Novel', translated by Michael Glenny, Simon & Schuster , 1967. .

* 'A Dead Man's Memoir: A Theatrical Novel', translated by Andrew Bromfield, Penguin Classics , 2007. .

* 'Black Snow', translated by Roger Cockrell, Alma Books , 2014. .


Category:Novels by Mikhail Bulgakov

Category:Unfinished novels

Category:1967 novels

Category:1936 Russian novels

Category:Novels set in the Stalin era

Category:Moscow Art Theater

Category:Novels set in Moscow

Category:Russian novels adapted into films

Category:Works originally published in Novy Mir

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