Literary roundup: Ukrainian Lit Day, another Bulgakov film, Russian women writers

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych celebrated the Day of Ukrainian literature and language with a rousing (though admittedly not so well-translated message): “The Ukrainian language is the powerful factor in the consolidated state-building that contributes to the enrichment of the spiritual culture of the society.” Uh, yeah . . my sentiments exactly.

The day commemorates 12th century Saint Nestor the Chronicler. ForUm news report goes on to add that Yanukovych said something to the effect that “systemic changes in the language of legislation aimed at the full developing and strengthening the national language are still relevant.” The report didn’t specify whether Yanukovych said this gibberish in his native Russian or Ukrainian. In August, the president passed a highly controversial language law giving Russian official language status in about half the country’s regions.

Bulgakov miniseries

Bulgakov lovers dreading waiting for the adaptation of The Master and Margarita get an appetizer dropped onto their plates in the form of a filmed version of A Country Doctor’s Notebook. The British miniseries stars Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Jon Hamm (no idea) and is retitled A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the new title presumably meant to appeal more to the young crowd as opposed to the country crowd (more purchasing power, I suspect). You can view the trailer online here. Besides the title change they have split the title character into an older pre-revolutionary doctor and an older, wiser post-World War II self, a part which Bulgakov, who died in 1939, obviously didn’t write.


It makes you fear for The Master and Margarita feature (which, if you’ve seen the Yugoslav version, has been butchered before). Will it be set in a bar in Boston with the old cast of Cheers and retitled The Master has a Margarita? Will fear of protest have them cut the Yeshua Ha-Nozri character out, especially once the Christian right figure out who that timid, Jewish-sounding guy is supposed to be?

Russian women writers

At Russia Beyond the Headlines there is a nice profile of how prominent women writers have become in Russian fiction as of late, with a number of greater and lesser-known names such ranging from Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, Olga Slavnikova to Irina Bogatyreva, Anna Babiashkina, Elena Chizhova and Ksenia Zhukova. Reading about the range of subjects and styles is fascinating. I have at least one of these writers in my review pile and look forward to getting to more of them.




Photo – Forensic facial reconstruction of Nestor the Chronicler by S.A.Nikitin (Sergey Nikitin/wikimedia)

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2 Comments on “Literary roundup: Ukrainian Lit Day, another Bulgakov film, Russian women writers”

  1. 13/11/2012 at 12:23 am #

    here’s your missing high cultural reference: http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men/cast/don-draper

    • 13/11/2012 at 12:26 am #

      Ah, thanks. True, I’ve never seen it. Can’t download, I mean, see, everything.

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