Mikhail Bulgakov was born on May 15, 1891 in Kiev, at that time in the Russian Empire. He was one of seven children (the oldest of three brothers) of Afanasiy Bulgakov, an assistant professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, and Varvara Mikhailovna, a former teacher. In 1901 Bulgakov joined the First Kiev Gymnasium, where he developed an interest in Russian and European literature, theatre and opera. After graduation from the Gymnasium in 1909, Bulgakov entered the Medical Faculty of Kiev University, which he finished with special commendation to become a physician at the Kiev Military Hospital. 

In 1916, Bulgakov graduated from the Medical Department of Kiev University and, after serving as a surgeon at Chernovtsy hospital, was appointed provincial physician to Smolensk province. His life in those days is reflected in his Country Doctor's Notebook. In September 1917 Bulgakov was moved to the hospital in Vyazma, near Smolensk. In February 1918, he returned to Kiev, where he opened a private practice at his home. In February 1919 he was mobilised as an army physician by the Ukrainian People's Army and assigned to the Northern Caucasus. There he became seriously ill with typhus and barely survived.

After illness Bulgakov abandoned his career as a doctor for that of a writer. He wrote plays, critical works, stories, and made translations and dramatisations of novels, librettos. Many of them were not published, other ones were "torn to pieces" by critics.

He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.

Mikhail Bulgakov

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