Cover of: The Master and Margarita | Михаил Булгаков


  • Translator
    Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor
  • Afterword
    Ellendea Proffer

About the Book

The battle of competing translations, a new publishing phenomenon which began with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, now offers two rival American editions of Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. Mirra Ginsburg's (Grove Press) version is pointedly grotesque: she delights in the sharp, spinning, impressionistic phrase. Her Bulgakov reminds one of the virtuoso effects encountered in Zamyatin and Babel, as yell as the early Pasternak's bizarre tale of Heine in Italy. Translator Michael Glenny, on the other hand, almost suggests Tolstoy. His (Harper & Row) version is simpler, softer, and more humane. The Bulgakov fantasy is less striking here, but less strident, too. Glenny: ""There was an oddness about that terrible day...It was the hour of the day when people feel too exhausted to breathe, when Moscow glows in a dry haze..."" Ginsburg: ""Oh, yes, we must take note of the first strange thing...At that hour, when it no longer seemed possible to breathe, when the sun was tumbling in a dry haze..."" In any case, The Master and Margarita, a product of intense labor from 1928 till Bulgakov's death in 1940, is a distinctive and fascinating work, undoubtedly a stylistic landmark in Soviet literature, both for its aesthetic subversion of ""socialist realism"" (like Zamyatin, Bulgakov apparently believed that true literature is created by visionaries and skeptics and madmen), and for the purity of its imagination. Essentially the anti-scientific, vaguely anti-Stalinist tale presents a resurrected Christ figure, a demonic, tricksy foreign professor, and a Party poet, the bewildered Ivan Homeless, plus a bevy of odd or romantic types, all engaged in socio-political exposures, historical debates, and supernatural turnabouts. A humorous, astonishing parable on power, duplicity, freedom, and love.

About the Edition


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 the novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author's lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s.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 immens 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 in exhaustible 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.
(back cover)

Edition Notes

Reprint, originally published: Dana Point, Calif.: Ardis, 1995.
US / CAN edition

Copyright Date 1995
Translation Of Мастер и Маргарита
Translated From Russian


Dewey Decimal Class 891.73/42
Library of Congress PG3476.B78

The Physical Object

Format Paperback
Pagination 372p.
Number of pages 373

ID Numbers

Open Library OL21612620M
ISBN 10 0679760806
ISBN 13 9780679760801
LC Control Number 95045873
OCLC/WorldCat 154557264, 695891674, 492023263 0679760806
Google KukqiPCRGFQC
Library Thing 10151
Goodreads 117833

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