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Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts-one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow-the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) and his retinue-including the vodka-drinking, black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; and a writer known only as The Master, and his passionate companion, Margarita-exist in a world that blends fantasy and chilling realism, an artful collage of grostesqueries, dark comedy, and timeless ethical questions. Although completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was not published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine Moskva. It was an immediate and enduring success: Audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom. This new translation has been created from the complete and unabridged Russian texts.
Author Bio: Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) was described in the official Big Soviet Encyclopedia as a slanderer of Soviet reality. A medical doctor, he gave up his practice to pursue his writing. Stalin named Bulgakov the assistant director of the Moscow Arts Theater, where his actions were monitored. He died in disgrace.
Richard Pevear, born in Waltham, Massachusetts, and his wife, Larissa Volokhonsky, born in Leningrad, have translated from the Russian many works including Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, for which they won the PEN/Book of the Month Club Translation prize. Â
About The Author Mikhail Bulgakov (1891?1940) was a doctor, novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and assistant director of the Moscow Arts Theater Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bulgakov. Their translation of The Brothers Karamazov won the 1991 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. They are married and live in Paris, France. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bulgakov. Their translation of The Brothers Karamazov won the 1991 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. They are married and live in Paris, France. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bulgakov. Their translation of The Brothers Karamazov won the 1991 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. They are married and live in Paris, France.
Reviews From the Publisher
"One of the truly great Russian novels of [the twentieth] century." -NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"The book is by turns hilarious, mysterious, contemplative, and poignant . . . A great work." -CHICAGO TRIBUNE "Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is a soaring, dazzling novel; an extraordinary fusion of wildly disparate elements. It is a concerto played simultaneously on the organ, the bagpipes, and a pennywhistle, while someone sets off fireworks between the players' feet." -NEW YORK TIMES "Fine, funny, imaginative . . . The Master and Margarita stands squarely in the great Gogolesque tradition of satiric narrative." -NEWSWEEK "A wild surrealistic romp . . . Brilliantly flamboyant and outrageous." -Joyce Carol Oates "Sparkling, enchanting, funny, deeply serious and sometimes baffling . . . [The Master and Margarita is] a liberating, exuberant social and political satire combined with a profound moral and political allegory . . . A bravura performance of truly heroic virtuosity, a carnival of the imagination." -from the Introduction by Simon Franklin Publishers Weekly
Bulgakov's satire of the greed and corruption of Soviet authorities illustrates the redemptive nature of art and faith, and Julian Rhind-Tutt's superb interpretation does the classic full justice. With a dramatic flair and a deep, multilayered
voice, he pulls off a host of fantastical characters including Professor Woland (Satan) and several of his associates, Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ, witches and madmen and a variety of early 20th-century Moscow literary and theater types. Two minor caveats: a few characterizations are too nasal, and his cockney accents for low-class Russian characters are a bit disconcerting. (June) Saul Maloff
Fine, funny, imaginativeâ€¦. The Master and Margarita stands squarely in the great Gogolesque tradition of satiric narrative. -Newsweek Joyce Carol Oates
A wild surrealistic rompâ€¦. Brilliantly flamboyant and outrageous. -The Detroit News From Barnes & Noble
One of the greatest novels ever to come out of the Soviet Union. A parable on power and its corruption, on good and evil and on human frailty and the strength of love. Equal parts fable, fantasy, political satire and slapstick. "A rich, funny, moving and bitter novel." -- The New York Times. About four years, ago I had met a person who is from Russia. We have a common interest in our family's sports. In a conversation one day on good, evil and the temptations that try men's souls; he recommended I read "The Master and Margarita." The first two chapters locked me in. The setting of Pontius Pilate in a private conversation with Christ prior to his execution, was a concept never presented to me before. I would like to believe that such an event occurred. I enjoyed the transitioning in time through out the book. Reading Bulgakov's book has only cemented my thoughts that Hell is real and it exists in our minds. I was surprised at the way Bulgakov presented the Devil (the character Woland). Controlled, not "fire-breathing", an individual with total confidence in his agenda; collecting souls. What I noticed in most of the encounters was the always present "option" presented by Woland through his underlings; to do the right thing or follow the temptation. I felt no compassion for Margarita. I feel that Margarita and The Master ended up as they were from the beginning; lost souls. My high point of the book was in the final chapters when Levi delivered Woland(The Devil) the order from Christ on Margarita and The Master. Even the Devil must answer to someone. Good does win out over evil. This was the first time I ever reviewed a book. I hope you enjoy this book. Thank you for taking the time to read my review.
This is the truly outstanding book of all Russian literature of the 20th century. It shows the life at that time, better than any other book. All the failitures of the post-revolutionary russia compaired to the ancient times are portrayed. It shows how the various groops of people were affected by a single caracter. The idea that people might get after reading the book is that it might be better to be in hell, then in the Soviet Union at that time.
This extraordinary and unique book opens in 1930s Moscow during the darkest period of Stalin's repressive reign. Near Patriarch Ponds, two writers sit on a bench engaged in a discussion regarding the nature of Jesus. True to their
times, both writers devoutly discount his existence. As their discourse continues, they are joined by a third man, a well-dressed stranger who claims not only to believe in the existence of the historical Jesus, but to have actually been present at Jesus's trial and crucifixion. Unbeknownst to the two writers, this stranger is none other than Satan, himself, who is now calling himself Woland. The next chapter takes us to Yershalaim (Jerusalem) and Pontius Pilate's interrogation of Yeshua Ha-Nozri (Jesus). Much to Pilate's dismay, Yeshua freely admits to all of the charges brought against him. Pilate, although finding himself captivated by Yeshua and desiring to free him, has no choice but to order his execution instead. Yeshua is sentenced to death and crucified and Pilate grows more and more disturbed. Back in Moscow, things have taken a bizarre turn. When Woland's prediction of the death of the writer Berlioz turns out to be true, another writer, Ivan the Homeless is unceremoniously carted off to an asylum and the esteemed Dr. Stravinsky. As heads roll and people are driven mad, Ivan meets his neighbor in the asylum, one known only as The Master. The Master, also a writer, has been working on a novel centering on Pontius Pilate and the story, not coincidentally, is more than similar to Woland's eyewitness version. Ivan also learns of The Master's love for the beautiful Margarita with whom he shared both an apartment and an affair until the rejection of his novel drove him insane. Margarita, meanwhile, is living in a loveless marriage and spends her days pining away for her lost Master, knowing nothing of his whereabouts. The story then moves back to Yershalaim and Pilate's struggle to come to terms with the death of Yeshua. He is visited by Matthew Levi and subsequently orders the death of Judas of Kiriath (Judas Iscariot) for his betryal of Yeshua. Moving back to Moscow again, we learn the reason for Woland's visit. He wants to give a Grand Ball and is in search of a hostess--a hostess named Margarita. Margarita instantly agrees and the Grand Ball proceeds, apparently lasting for hours and hours with the guests having been chosen from among the most sinful and corrupt of all the deceased. With the dawning of the new day, Woland, who is pleased with Margarita's performance, tells her he will grant her her fondest wish. Of course, that wish is to be reunited with The Master. How this request is accomplished is one of the most extremely inventive passages in all of literature and involves not only Woland, but his wily accomplices (Azazello and Behemoth), Matthew Levi and Pilate, himself. Suffice it to say, all turns out well for all intended and The Master and Margarita eventually come to reside together for all time. In The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov has created, not only a technical masterpiece of flawless writing, but also one of immense creativity, making use of innuendo, iconography, metaphor and satire. This is a multi-layed book, encompassing many themes, drawn with a painstaking commitment to detail. Although, at first glance, the two concurrently running stories seem to bear no relation to each other, a closer examination shows us just how creative Bulgalov was and how great was his genius. As the story of Yeshua and The Master are occurring nearly two thousand years apart, it would seem, on the surface, impossible to link them. Bulgakov, however, forgets this span of years and tells the story by the day and the hour instead. As the Easter weekend unfolds, so do his stories, just as though they were occurring each at the same time but in different locations. Bulgakov did not intend for the story of Yeshua to be of historical significance. Instead, it is used as a device to further the sa
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