Mikhail Bulgakov’s Novel The Master and Margarita Reviewed


Thank you for the very interesting overview of my favorite book!

As a reader from Russia, I was wondering how the translators handled the rhythm and poetry of the text, which is read and stored in the memory is almost like poetry, especially in the chapters devoted to Yeshua and Pontius Pilate.

By the way, I did not notice the name of Nikolai Gogol in the review. Certainly this great writer had an influence on mystic parts of Bulgakov’s work.

wbr,
IF

Biblioklept

masterandmargarita4

In his introduction to Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita, Richard Pevear (who translated the book with Larissa Volokhonsky) notes

the qualities of the novel itself — its formal originality, its devastating satire of Soviet life, and of Soviet literary life in particular, its ‘theatrical’ rendering of the Great Terror of the thirties, the audacity of its portrayal of Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate, not to mention Satan.

Pevear also offers a concise (if mechanical) summary:

The novel in its definitive version is composed of two distinct but interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem (called Yershalaim). Its central characters are Woland (Satan) and his retinue, the poet Ivan Homeless, Pontius Pilate, an unnamed writer known as ‘the master’, and Margarita. The Pilate story is condensed into four chapters and focused on four or five large-scale figures. The Moscow story includes a whole array…

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