Mikhail Bulgakov Top Quotes 💬

The growth of Russian literature has been significantly influenced by Mikhail Bulgakov. His writings were among the first in the 20th century to make use of a distinct, informal style that would later become a literary signature of Russia. To develop a distinct and incredibly original voice, he also experimented with several genres and styles, fusing aspects of fantasy, satire, and realism.

Mikhail Bulgakov

(1891-1940), Russian

The penetrating examination of human nature in Mikhail Bulgakov’s works is distinguished by his use of satire, fantasy, and political commentary to make fun of the social and political structures of his time. The complicated interactions between people and society are frequently described in Bulgakov’s writing, which also examines how social and political forces affect the lives of common people. His writing provided comments on the social and political issues of the day and frequently represented the turbulent time in Soviet history in which he lived.

The combination of irony, comedy, and fantastical aspects to probe deeper truths about the human experience distinguishes Bulgakov’s writing style. He frequently utilized his characters to represent many facets of society, and his writings provided scathing critiques of governmental and societal structures. Their unique style and profound insights into the human condition of Bulgakov’s writing have persisted in being praised and studied despite the repression and persecution he endured from the Soviet authorities throughout his lifetime. His writings are still read and appreciated by audiences all around the world, and his writing is still relevant today.

Repression of Expression in The Soviet Union

I am a Soviet writer, and the power of the Soviet people is limitless

From Bulgakov’s speech at the First Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934. It represents his difficult relationship with the Soviet authorities, who frequently restricted or banned his writing. The Soviet Union was a socialist nation that aimed to build a new society on the ideas of justice, equality, and social advancement. The Soviet Union made significant investments in the arts, industry, and education because it thought these sectors could be used to build a new, better society. Bulgakov contributed to this greater cultural endeavor as a writer. He belonged to a group of writers, thinkers, and artists who thought their contributions may influence how Soviet society would develop in the future. The Soviet system presented him with many difficulties as a writer, yet, at the same time. The arts were subject to strict governmental control, and authors were required to produce works that endorsed the state’s official philosophy.

In light of this, Bulgakov’s assertion reveals his complicated relationship with Soviet authority. He refers to himself as a “Soviet writer,” which implies that he sees himself as a component of a wider cultural endeavor that aims to create a new society. Nonetheless, his choice of the phrase “limitless” implies that he thinks the Soviet people’s power is beyond the confines of the state itself. Bulgakov frequently explores this conflict between the individual and the state in his writing. ‘The Master and Margarita,‘ his most well-known book, is a sophisticated examination of the place of the artist in Soviet society.

The point is not whether I’m a fascist or not, the point is that you won’t even let me be a poet.

This quote is from Bulgakov’s correspondence with Soviet authorities in the 1930s. It implies that Bulgakov’s literary output and political beliefs were improperly combined. It is significant to highlight that Bulgakov’s political views were nuanced and have generated discussion among academics. He has drawn criticism for allegedly supporting fascism, although other critics contend that he opposed both fascism and communism. Regardless of Bulgakov’s convictions, the remark emphasizes the fact that his poetry was wrongly judged and suppressed due to his alleged political leanings. Bulgakov preferred to use poetry as a vehicle for aesthetic expression rather than as a tool for brainwashing or political propaganda.

Every true artist is a revolutionary.

This quote is from Bulgakov’s novel ‘The White Guard.‘ The fundamental idea here is that artists can question the current quo and effect social and cultural change. Real artists strive to create something new, something that challenges the status quo, rather than merely copying what has previously been done or according to accepted conventions. They are motivated by a need to convey who they are and their worldview, no matter how radical or outlandish it may be.

Openness to Experiences and the Future

The heart is forever inexperienced

This quote is from Bulgakov’s novel ‘The Master and Margarita.’ The emotional side of ourselves does not “experience” things in the same way that our mind does. Every new experience will be felt with the same intensity and freshness as the first time we encounter it, even if we have previously faced identical situations or feelings. As a result, our hearts never become jaded or cynical from prior experiences and instead constantly remain “inexperienced” in the sense that they are always receptive to new feelings and emotions. This proverb serves as a gentle reminder to treasure our feelings and welcome the fresh experiences life has to offer. It serves as a caution against being overly pessimistic or jaded, as these traits might result in a closed heart and a resistance to novel experiences.

I have always known that at last I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today.

Mikhail Bulgakov expressed the idea that our lives are continuously changing and that we never know what the future holds for us. It implies that while we may have a general notion of the direction we want to go in life, we are not always aware of the moment when that direction will become evident to us or the moment when we will have to choose a new path. The quotation serves as a reminder that life is unpredictable and that we should be ready to adjust as needed to changing circumstances. Even while we may have a basic plan for our lives, we are unable to foresee all of the unexpected turns that may come our way.

For the Love of Writing

Literature is my true mistress, and I am already devoted to her for life

This quote is from Bulgakov’s correspondence with his wife, Yelena Shilovskaya. Bulgakov describes literature as his “real lover” and declares that he is committed to it for the rest of his life in this quotation. It implies that writing is a lifelong endeavor that calls for commitment and love rather than just a pastime or a job.

Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.

Culled from Bulgakov’s diary. An artist’s creations are the expression of their special sentiments and experiences rather than just the product of technical skill or workmanship. By communicating their emotions and viewpoints through their art, artists can connect with viewers and frequently elicit comparable reactions from them. This quotation highlights the value of feeling and individual experience in the production of art. It implies that making art is a means of connecting with others and sharing one’s viewpoint with the world, in addition to being a form of self-expression.


Was Mikhail Bulgakov a fascist?

No, he was not. Some people or organizations likely made up accusations against Bulgakov in order to undermine his writing or as a result of the general political atmosphere of distrust and paranoia that prevailed in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist era. Nonetheless, there is no proof that Bulgakov had fascist sympathies or beliefs.

What is Mikhail Bulgakov’s best quote?

Manuscripts don’t burn“. This quotation is well-known because it captures Bulgakov’s willpower and fortitude in the face of difficulty. In the Soviet Union, where he lived, Bulgakov was a writer whose works were severely restricted by the authorities. He created his masterpiece, ‘The Master and Margarita,‘ while continually subject to Soviet government censorship and persecution.
Bulgakov never gave up writing even though his manuscripts were frequently turned down, and he was unable to publish them during his lifetime. Out of exasperation, he famously burnt a rough draft of ‘The Master and Margarita,‘ but eventually rewrote the entire book from memory.

What were Mikhail Bulgakov’s religious beliefs?

The complicated nature of Mikhail Bulgakov’s religious views has generated a lot of discussion among academics and literary critics. Although he was raised in a family of devoted Orthodox Christians and received religious instruction in his youth, Bulgakov later developed a personal interpretation of Christianity that was influenced by his philosophical and literary interests. He also became more critical of organized religion at this time. Many commentators have regarded Bulgakov’s later works, especially ‘The Master and Margarita,‘ which is rife with religious themes and imagery, as a study of his spiritual ideas.

Charles Asoluka
About Charles Asoluka
Charles is an experienced content creator, writer, and literary critic. He has written professionally for multiple reputable media organizations. He loves reading Western classics and reviewing them.
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