The Griboedov house

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When Ivan, after the decapitation of Berlioz, starts his chase of the strange trio he met at Patriarch’s, Ponds, for some unclear reason he thinks that the strange professor must be at Griboedov’s, home base of MASSOLIT. «To Griboedov's! Beyond all doubt, he's there». So he runs to the writers’ house in his underwear. He tries to explain his unusual dressing to the people present by telling the story of the day, but he got tied up, and transported to doctor Stravinsky’s psychiatric hospital.

Bulgakov describes a «two-storeyed,  cream-coloured  house» as Дом Грибоедова [Dom Griboedova] or the House of Griboedov at the Ring Boulevard. That's where he situates the Moscow Literary Club MASSOLIT of which Berlioz was the chairman.

Bulgakov was rather tough in his judgment about this club: «Massolit had settled itself at Griboedov's in  the best and cosiest way imaginable.  Anyone entering Griboedov's first  of  all became involuntarily acquainted with the announcements of various sports clubs, and with group as well as  individual photographs  of  the members of Massolit,  hanging  (the photographs) on the walls of the staircase leading to the second floor.»

On the door to the very first room of this upper  floor one could see a big  sign: «Fishing and Vacation  Section', along with the picture of a carp caught on a line».

The real person giving his name to the house is Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov (1795-1829), author of one of the most famous Russian theatre plays, Горе от ума [Gorye ot uma] or Woe from Wit. But the Griboedov house never really existed. When following Bulgakov's routemap, we arrive at Tverskoy Boulevard 25. There's a house that fits the description: the Дом Герцена [Dom Gertsena] or Herzen house, where Alexander Ivanovich Herzen (1812-1870), another Russian author, was born in 1812.

The role of the original Herzen house corresponds to Gribodeov in the book. The Herzen house was the home of many literary organizations in the twenties. The Российская Ассоциация Пролетарских Писателей (РАПП) [Rossiyskaya Assotsiatsiya Proletarskikh Pisateley (RAPP)] or Russian Association of Proletarian Writers,  the Московская Ассоциация Пролетарских Писателей (MAPP) [Moskovskaya Assotsiatsiya Proletarskikh Pisateley (MAPP)] or Moscow Association of Proletarian Writers and the Литературный Организация Красной Армии и Флота(ЛОКАФ) [Literaturniy Organizatsiya Krasnoy Armiy i Flota (LOKAF)] or the Literary Union of the Red Army and the Marine. The names of these organisations are real: much hideous abbreviations were commonly used in the Soviet Union. Bulgakov based the fictive MASSOLIT on the RAPP and the MAPP.

In The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov gives no explanation for the abbrevation MASSOLIT. But it probably was the Мастера Социалистической литературы [Mastera Sotsialisticheskoy literatury] or Masters for Socialist Literature, by analogy with the Мастера Коммунистической Драмы (МАСТКОМДРАМ) [Mastera Kommunisticheskoy Dramy (MASTKOMDRAM)] or Masters for Communist Drama, an organisation that really existed in Bulgakov's era.

Until 1931 there was a writers' restaurant in the Herzen house. Vladimir  Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1894-1930) criticized it heavily in his satirical poem Herzen house. Since 1930 it is the home of the Maxim Gorki Literary Institute, where aspirant-writers are trained.

At the end of the novel the cat Behemoth and Koroviev visit the writers' restaurant and start a fire there.

Metro: Маяковская (Mayakovskaya)

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