Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" is a fiercely satirical fantasy that remained unpublished in its author's home country for over thirty years. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated with an introduction by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the acclaimed translators of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. In Soviet Moscow, God is dead ...
Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" is a fiercely satirical fantasy that remained unpublished in its author's home country for over thirty years. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated with an introduction by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the acclaimed translators of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. In Soviet Moscow, God is dead, but the devil - to say nothing of his retinue of demons, from a loudmouthed, gun-toting tomcat, to the fanged fallen angel Koroviev - is very much alive. As death and destruction spread through the city like wildfire, condemning Moscow's cultural elite to prison cells and body bags, only a madman, the "Master and Margarita", his beautiful, courageous lover, can hope to end the chaos. Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign and circulated in samizdat form for decades, when "The Master and the Margarita" was finally published it became an overnight literary phenomenon, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. This luminous translation from the complete and unabridged Russian text is accompanied by an introduction by Richard Pevear exploring the extraordinary circumstances of the novel's composition and publication, and how Bulgakov drew on carnivalesque folk traditions to create his ironic subversion of Soviet propaganda. This edition also contains a list of further reading and a note on the text. After finishing high school, Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) entered the Medical School of Kiev University, graduating in 1916. He wrote about his experiences as a doctor in his early works "Notes of a Young Country Doctor". His later works treated the subject of the artist and the tyrant under the guise of historical characters, but "The Master and Margarita" is generally considered his masterpiece. If you enjoyed "The Master and Margarita", you might like Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", also available in "Penguin Classics". "One of the great novels of the 20th century, a scary, darkly comic allegory". ("Daily Telegraph").
Talking cats and strange happenings... Not what I expected from the hype about a masterpiece of literature.
Apr 30, 2007
Most powerful book of Soviet era Russia
This book deserves its reputation as one of the greatest classics ever written.
Might be difficult for someone not versed in Soviet era Russia to understand the significance of most scenes.
Strongly urge anyone who did not live in or experience intimately Soviet time Russia to find someone to help explain.
Apr 2, 2007
Fantasically creative novel
This is a classic that should be incorporated into every academic literary canon. An extraordinary writer, Bulgakov weaves together the narratives of Satan's absurd entourage on an adventure in Moscow and an account of Pontius Pilate and Jesus with fascinating character detail and development. And important criticism of Soviet politics, as well as a beautiful and (at times) comic work, this is a must-read.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-08-31 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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1995-06-26 This uncensored translation of Bulgakov's posthumously published masterpiece of black magic and black humor restores its sliest digs and sharpest jabs at Stalin's regime, which suppressed it. Writing in a punning, soaring prose thick with contemporary historical references and political irony, Bulgakov (1891-1940) did not make things easy for future translators. The story itself is demanding: the arrival of the Devil and his entourage in Stalin's Moscow frames a Faustian tale of a suppressed writer (the Master) and his devoted lover (his Margarita), set against a realistic narrativeŠthe Master's rejected manuscriptŠof Pontius Pilate's police state in Jerusalem. An immediate contemporary classic when it was first serialized in Moscow in censored form in 1967-68, the novel suffered in its previous English translations, which were either incomplete or stylistically loose. This new translation, with its accuracy and depth, finally does justice to the politically and verbally outrageous qualities of the original. Careful footnotes explain and contextualize Bulgakov's dense allusions to, and in-jokes about, life under Stalin. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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