Myth, Dialectics … and Persecution: Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita and the GAKhNovtsy

Humanities Seminar
Event Format
In person
CGIS South, Rm. S354, 1730 Cambridge St

Mikhail Bulgakov’s move at the end of 1924 from his “cursed” apartment on Sadovaya Street (immortalized in The Master and Margarita) to a flat in the Prechistenka neighborhood brought with it a whole new circle of friends and acquaintances, mostly affiliated with the State Academy of Artistic Sciences, also known as the State Academy of Artistic Research — or GAKhN (Gosudarstvennaia akademiia khudozhestvennykh nauk). The only undisputed trace that members of GAKhN left on Bulgakov’s literary works is the character of Fesya in the first draft of his “novel about the devil.” I propose that their influence on The Master and Margarita — in particular that of the well-known philosopher and classicist Aleksei Losev — is far-reaching, contributing to the portrait of the Master and — more significantly, if more speculatively — clarifying the philosophical/religious underpinnings of the novel, still the subject of heated debates.

Refreshments will be provided.


This seminar is co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.