The Master & Margarita (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
An audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita is recognized as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature. The novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author's lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s. Its truths are so enduring that its language has become part of the common Russian speech. One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer pilloried for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other is Margarita, who loves the Master so deeply that she is willing literally to go to hell for him. What ensues is a novel of inexhaustible energy, humor, and philosophical depth, a work whose nuances emerge for the first time in Diana Burgin's and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor's splendid English version.
About the Author
Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and lived most of his adult life in Stalinist Russia. A journalist, playwright, novelist, and short story writer, he is best known in the West for his novel "The Master and Margarita," Marian Schwartz is a prize-winning Russian translator who recently received her second Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to translate Olga Slavnikova's newest novel, "2017," She has translated classic literary works by Nina Berberova and Yuri Olesha, as well as Edvard Radzinsky's "The Last Tsar," She lives in Austin, TX.
Diana Lewis Burgin is Professor of Russian and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and an Associate of the Russian Research Centre, Harvard University. She is author of a biography in verse, numerous articles on Russian literature, and a translator of Russian prose and poetry.
“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.”
“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.”
“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