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Title:The Works of Mikhail A. Bulgakov: A Search for the Ideal Hero (Russia)
Author(s):Levine, Ilene Rochelle
Department / Program:Slavic Languages and Literatures
Discipline:Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Literature, Slavic and East European
Abstract:Underlying the wonderfully varied and often delightfully comic oeuvre of Mikhail Afanas'evich Bulgakov (1891-1940) was a stern intent: to examine, protest, and ultimately (particularly in his last, most challenging novel, The Master and Margarita), to answer society's many abuses of the individual. In the brutal aftermath of the Russian Revolution and Civil War, Bulgakov's need for a figure who would effectively uphold his own exacting value system became ever more compelling. His protagonists quickly became instruments of retaliation; to counteract society's consistent denigration of the human spirit, he portrayed what elevates it, turning soon to the gifted individual, and most often the Writer, as the clearest exemplar--and in his frequent failures, the most to be lamented--of the values of freedom and compassion which Bulgakov was pursuing. The Master and Margarita embodies Bulgakov's meticulously developed counter-argument to the materialistic and man-centered philosophy fostered by submission to temporal authority.
The dissertation begins by examining the continuity between Bulgakov's work and the output of (a) the nineteenth-century writers who portrayed the conflicts and impotence of the so-called Superfluous Man; (b) the alienated Fellow-Travellers of the 1920's; and (c) the satirists of the immediate post-Revolutionary period. Then, Bulgakov's own work is explored insofar as it contributes to an understanding of what it was that he valued in a "positive" hero. The principal characters of his last novel are analysed in detail in light of their responses to the demands which Bulgakov placed upon them. His most valued heroes reflect his own sense of responsibility for the fate of justice and truth, and thus for the direction of society. The Master is found to have betrayed his duty to his art and to the principles expressed in his "novel." Ieshua's ability to create that Truth which he so loves, and to give adequate weight to the need to choose the Good, is questionable at best. Margarita and Pilate are briefly dealt with here. It is Woland who is the consistent prophet of that enlightened virtue which should lead man to understand and accept his difficult choices, and thus to progress and perfect himself.
Issue Date:1983
Type:Text
Description:248 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/71568
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8409986
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1983


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