Archibald Archibaldovich

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Context

Archibald Archibaldovitch is the manager of the restaurant of the writers' house Griboedov where the guests are spoiled with «perch au naturel done to order», praised as a «virtuoso little treat, for only fifty-five kopecks»! In the Coliseum a portion of perch costs thirteen roubles for three-day-old perch. «Eggs en cocotte», «mushroom puree in little dishes», «Quail à la genoise»... it's not clear how he managed to organize all this, but he was quite capable to ensure a pretty good life to his public - the members of MASSOLIT.

The commander of the brig or the pirate as Bulgakov called him a few times, is also a man of action. He inquired the doorman, who had allowed Ivan-in-his-underpants to enter "as a member of MASSOLIT". «A man in his underwear can walk the streets of Moscow only in this one case, that he's accompanied by the police, and only to one place - the police station! And you, if you're a doorman, ought to know that on seeing such a man, you must, without a moment's delay, start blowing your whistle». Having said this, the commander commanded precisely, clearly, rapidly: «Get Pantelei from the snack bar. Police. Protocol. A car. To the psychiatric clinic.» And he added: «Blow your whistle!»

So Archibaldovitch is responsible for Ivan's transportation to the hospital, where he will meet the master. At the end of the novel he will try to hand over Koroviev and Behemoth to the NKVD, but that doesn't really work out well. It comes to a shooting and the building bursts into flames.


Prototype

The prototype for Archibald Archibaldovich was Yakov Danilovich Rozental (1893-1966), nicknamed the Beard - for reasons that should be obvious from this photo. The same reasons why Bulgakov called him the pirate.

Archibald is a name of Germanic origin, composed of the words «ercan» or natural and «bald» or daring. To Russians it sounds rather odd, especially when, as the patronymic or father's name Archibaldovich indicates, it is used over two generations.

According to Boris Vadimovich Sokolov (°1957), the author of the Bulgakov Encyclopedia, Bulgakov was inspired by the name of Edward Edwardovich von Mandro from The Moscow eccentric by Andrei Bely (1880-1934). Not only because of the repetition in the name, but also because both von Mandro and Rozental were of Jewish origin.

Rozental, like Bulgakov, came from Kiev. And just like Bulgakov, he moved to Moscow in 1921. From 1925 to 1931, he was director of the restaurant of the Hertzen House which served as the model for the writers' house Griboedov. He also ran the restaurant in the Жургаз [Zhurgaz] or the Residency for Magazines and Newspapers, in short the Journalists' Union. The garden of the Zhurgaz probably inspired Bulgakov to describe the veranda of the Griboedev House in The Master and Margarita, and also the jazz orchestra playing Hallelujah might well come from there too.

Rozental always worked in the sector of literature, because later on he was responsible for the restaurant in the Клуб театральных работников [Klub teatralnikh rabotnikov] or the Club for Theater Workers which was later renamed the Central House for Artists. Boris Mikhailovich Filippov (1903-1991), the director of this house, remembered Rozental as a good manager, an excellent cook and a very friendly person.

The Bulgakovs knew Iakov Rozental well, and not only from the restaurant. From the summer of 1932 until his death, Bulgakov lived with Elena Sergeevna and her son Sergei in the Furmanov street (now Nashchokinsky pereulok) while Iakov Rozental lived on the Gogol Boulevard, 50 meters away. Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya (1893-1970) mentioned him in her diary. On August 11, 1939, she wrote: «Yakov Danilovich is funny. He serves gastronomic products, and then he talks about the theatre play as if he personally has watched it.».

But, just like Archibald Archibaldovich, Iakov Rozental could be vigorous and short against, for example, waiters who made mistakes. They'd better be prepared to abrupt remarks.



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