Never published in his lifetime


Adam i Eva. Piesa v 4 aktakh

[Adam and Eve. A play in 4 acts]

Publication: [Soviet Union, 1960s-70s].

BULGAKOV, Mikhail, Adam i Eva. Piesa v 4 aktakh

The very first, Bulgakov’s own version of his dystopian play, here in an attractive, unusual samizdat.

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Our Notes & References

Very rare samizdat of Bulgakov’s dystopian play, here in an unusual variant before substantial edits and censorship. We could not locate any other samizdat of Bulgakov’s plays at auctions in the West, and only one example of the first printed edition of Adam i Eva, more than 10 years ago.

Written in 1931, Adam i Eva is a play about Soviet people facing a future apocalyptic war fought with advanced chemical weapons. The play was commissioned by the Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg Gosnardom Red Theatre in Leningrad, and it was expected to be staged also in Moscow and Baku. However, the play was never published nor staged during Bulgakov’s lifetime for its implication that no ideology can outvalue human life.

Attempting to avoid censorship, Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) rewrote the ending of Adam i Eva in the mid-1930s: in the new version, the catastrophe occurring to Adam and Eve was presented as a dream of one of the characters; this however was still rejected by the Soviet censors. Later in the mid-1960s, his wife Elena Bulgakova (1893-1970) additionally changed “Leningrad”, where the play is set, into “Gorod” [“City”] during a new series of unsuccessful attempts to publish the play. In the late 1960s, Bulgakova’s version of the text was copied with mistakes and new censorship omissions, and was sent to Europe; this last, heavily changed version, “very far from the author’s original work” (Ianovskaia, our translation), was published in 1971 by YMCA-Press, Paris, together with two other plays: Bagrovyi ostrov [Purple Island] and Zoikina kvartira [Zoika’s Apartment]. All these plays were later copied for Soviet samizdat editions.

Very unusually, the present copy, dated on the title “1931. Moskva.”, includes Bulgakov’s first version of Adam i Eva before all the subsequent changes, as opposed to the YMCA edition and subsequent samizdat copies sometimes found. Coming from the archive of a St Petersburg family, this rare version might have been copied from the typescript that belonged to Bulgakov’s niece Elena Zemskaia (Gudkova). This original version of the play was printed in Russia pnly in 1992 for the first time, in Bulgakov’s collected works.


Lidiia Ianovskaia. Zapiski o Mikhaile Bulgakove // “A propos: EfrOsimov ili EfrosImov?”, Tel-Aviv, Moria, 1997.

Gudkova V. V. Mikhail Bulgakov. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh, T. 3, Moskva, Khudozh. Lit., 1992.

Item number



Physical Description

Quarto (28.5 x 21 cm). Title and [48] leaves typed on recto only, with some manuscript corrections in text.


Amateur dark blue cloth spine over grained blue paper boards, gilt lines to covers.


Binding a bid rubbed at extremities, minor staining; traces of earlier stitching, block cut a bit short touching some letters, occasional minor closed tears, pretty fresh overall.

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