Bulgakov and Mandelstam never met and yet their lives had much in common. Both men were born in the same year, 1891, and both lives ended prematurely, crushed by the cruel totalitarian system. Mandelstam died in a Siberian gulag in December 1938, and Bulgakov 14 months later, in March 1940, from a terminal illness, probably brought on by unbearable stress and disillusionment. Despite their obvious genius both were largely unappreciated and unrecognized except by a handful of close friend who gave them encouragement and moral support. Both had unusually close relationships with their wives who inspired their work during their lifetime and enthusiastically promoted it after their deaths. If it were t for the wives' courageous efforts against all odds, world literature would have lost Mandelstam's lumius poetry and Bulgakov's superb magic realism forever.