- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 19 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679760806
- ISBN-13: 978-0679760801
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 158 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Master and Margarita Paperback – Mar 19 1996
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“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
From the Back Cover
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 The novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author's lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s.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.See all Product description
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Bulgakov takes direct aim at the selfishness and the suffocating bureaucracy that was growing ever more intolerable in Stalinist Russia. The selfish, hypocritical writers living the good life at "MASSOLIT", the neighbour who would turn you in to the authorities just to get your apartment, the paranoia about foreigners, it's all there. But so is the humour, the sly wink and the three ring circus.
Bulgakov wrote with wit, a very sardonic wit, about what he saw happening around him. "The Master and Margarita" has it all: wit, slapstick humour, philosophy, a hatred of authority, a disliking of modernity and a yearning for redemption; it's like Monty Python meets Dostoevsky.
I haven't read any of the other translations but I found Mirra Ginsburg's version to be very readable, she seems to have retained that sense of humourous fatalism that Russians always carry with them.
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