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In his lifetime, Mikhail Bulgakov was scarcely published. A quarter of a century after his death, his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, became a worldwide bestseller. In Manuscripts Don't Burnthe title a line from his famous novel, J.A. E. Curtis presents a gripping chronicle of Bulgakov's life, using as source material, among other documents, a partial copy of one of his diaries which was presumed lost and uncovered decades later in the KGB's archives. That diary and those of his third wife record the nightmarish precariousness of life during the Stalinist purges. Also included are letters to Stalin, in which Bulgakov pleads to be allowed to emigrate; letters to his siblings; intimate notes to his second and third wives; and letters to and from other writers such as Gorky and Zamyatin.