Латунский, Ариман и Лаврович

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The critics Latunsky and Ariman, and the writer Mstislav Lavrovich have quite some power on the Master. They form the editorial board that has to decide on the possible publication of his novel.

This editorial board rejects the manuscript about Pontius Pilate so it can't be published. According to the editorial secretary Lapshennikova, "a girl whose eyes were crossed towards her nose from constant lying", the publisher was provided with material for two years ahead, and therefore the question of printing the novel, as she put it, "did not arise". And yet it is criticized in the press.

Ariman started the offensive. Under the title An attack on the enemy he warned all and sundry that the Master had attempted to foist into print an apology for Jesus Christ. Two days later Mstislav Lavrovich published a second article, in which he recommended to "strike back". He wrote about "pilatism" and an icon-dauber who had ventured to foist it - again that accursed word - into print. And Latunsky published that same day an article entitled A Militant Old Believer. Joyless autumn days set in. The monstrous disaster with his novel has cut out a piece of the Master's soul. The psychological desintegration sets in...

After her flight on the broom Margarita will take revenge on Latunsky - "'Latunsky eighty-four... Latunsky eighty-four...", she repeated in some sort of rapture while she was going impetuously up the stairs of the Dramlit building, where Latunsky lived in apartment 84.


The name Latunsky is probably a contraction of the names of two real critics, who were rather hostile to Bulgakov. The first one was Osaf Seme-novich Litovsky (1892-1971), who was the head of Главрепертком (Glav-repertkom) or the Central Committee for Repertoires from 1930 to 1937, and who had introduced the term Bulgakovshchina or Bulgakovism after the first performances of The Days of the Turbins. The second is the critic Alexander Robertovich Orlinsky, who called to resistance against Bulga-kovism.

Osaf Semeznovich Litovsky actually lived in the building at Lavrushinsky pereulok 17, which Bulgakov used as a prototype for Dramlit. Moreover, he lived on the seventh floor, in apartment 84, exactly the apartment which Margarita destroyed in the novel after her flight on the broom over Moscow.

Ariman is probably Leopold Leonidovich Averbach (1903-1939), secretary of the writers' union RAPP, the Российская Ассоциация Пролетарских Писателей or the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers, and an intole-rant advocate of proletarian literature. Averbach opposed heavily against Bulgakov, in 1926 he wrote За пролетарскую литературу (Za proletars-kuyu lieratury) or About the Proletarian Literature. Ariman is, by the way, also the name of an ancient Persian god of death and destruction.

Lavrovich could be Vsevolod Vitalyevich Vishnevsky (1900-1951), the man who made remove Bulgakov's plays Бег (The Flight) and Мольер (Molière) from the repertoire of the Moscow Art Theatre.

The description of the criticism to the work of the Master contains characteristics of them all. Bulgakov obviously wanted to symbolise the entire literary machinary, rather than specific individual critics. Maybe that's the reason why Margarita, after her flight on the broom, contents herself with destroying just Latunsky's flat, and not the man himself. Revenge against the system rather than against persons. One of the characteristics of this system was that books that were refused for publication, and thus nobody could have read outside the author's inner circle, were nevertheless criticized in the press. The same happened at the end of the '50's when Boris Pasternak had tried to publish Doctor Zhivago.

According to Alfred Nikolayevich Barkov, a self-willed Ukrainian philologist and polemicist, Latunsky is based on the former People's Commissar for Education, Enlightenment and Sciences Anatoliy Vasilyevich Lunacharsky (1875-1933), and is The Master and Margarita a parody of his play Faust and the City. According to Georgy Lesskis, who wrote the comments of the 1990 edition of the novel, Lunacharsky was the prototype for Berlioz.

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