The Polytechnical Museum

3/4 Novaya Square
Subway station «Lubianka»
On 21st February 1926, Mikhail Bulgakov read his satirical piece, The Adventures of Chichikov, at a literary evening at the Polytechnical Museum. Vera Inber also read her own works, and professional narrators, such as Igor Ilinsky, read out tales by Zoshchenko and Babel.
In 1907, the Bolshaya Auditorium opened in the Polytechnical Museum. It was the most popular lecture hall in Moscow, where many social, political, literary and academic figures spoke. In February 1918, Igor Severyanin was elected ‘king of the poets’ here, and at the beginning of 1922, Vladimir Mayakovsky put on ‘Cleansing modern poetry’ evenings; at various times, A. Blok, S. Esenin, A. Bely and others took the stage. Here, wedding ceremonies often took place – Bulgakov wrote about one of these in his court case review The Komarovsky Case in June 1923 (about the trial of the serial killer Komarov-Petrov). After the literary evening at which Bulgakov read The Adventures of Chichikov, an article appeared in Vechernyaya Moskva entitled ‘The Lay-Out of Laughter’ (of 22 February 1926), in which the author, ‘Em. M’, asked, ‘Do we have literary humour?’ He came to the idea that ‘Bulgakov isn’t humour. Bulgakov read “Chichikov” under Soviet conditions. “Chichikov”, who is already formulaic. Bulgakov is a satirist.’