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Stalin’s Discourse in Mikhail Bulgakov’s Works

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Abstract. The article proposes that allusions to a particular politician in Mikhail Bulgakov’s works are combined with the repetitive motifs and their configurations. One of such examples is the system of allusions to Joseph Stalin, which can be found in a number of writer’s texts (the novel “Heart of a Dog”, the comedies “Zoika’s Apartment” and “Ivan Vasilievich”, the drama “Batum”). Taking into account that many biographical episodes in the mythologized official Stalin’s biography were either hushed up or presented in a falsified way, the analysis shows that the subtext of Bulgakov’s works contains hints of incriminating facts about the leader’s biography (the information about which was circulated “unofficially” in rumors and similar “apocryphs”): uncertainty of birth or origin, criminal activities before the Revolution, cooperation with the tsarist Guard Department (as a provocateur), etc. Accordingly, the image of Stalin in Bulgakov’s artistic thinking is steadily combined with the theme of lycanthropy (the motif of bodily transformations combined with “physical” and metaphysical connotations), and of lycanthropy in metaphorical sense, as duplicity (personality uncertainty, character’s ambivalence, social mimicry, etc.). The philological analysis of Bulgakov’s works in this article is supplemented by the detailed examination of a number of episodes of Stalin’s biography.

Keywords: Mikhail Bulgakov, plays, prose, poetics, allusions, Joseph Stalin, bodily transformations, werewolf.

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