Дом Грибоедова

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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 or the house of Gribojedov 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, 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 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. This house at Tverskoy Boulevard 25 was the home of many literary organizations in the twenties. The Российская Ассоциация Пролетарских Писателей (RAPP) or the Russian association of proletarian writers,  the Московская Ассоциация Пролетарских Писателей (MAPP) or the Organisation of proletarian writers of Moscow and the Литературный Организация Красной Армии и Флота (LOKAF) or the Literary Union of the Red Army and the Marine. De 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 book he gives no explanation to the abbrevation. But it could be the Мастери Социалистической литературы or the Masters for Socialist Literature, by analogy with the Мастери Коммунистической Драмы (MASTKOMDRAM) or the  Masters for Communist Drama, an organisation that really existed in the '20's.

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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