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The Master and Margarita Paperback – March 19, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0679760801 ISBN-10: 0679760806

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 Writing in a punning, soaring prose thick with contemporary historical references and political irony, Bulgakov (1891-1940) did not make things easy for future translators.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 narrative?the Master's rejected manuscript?of 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This annotated version of Bulgakov's 1966 novel in which the devil pays a visit to Moscow is translated from the most accurate Russian sources. This edition also contains notes on the text.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679760806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679760801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (302 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

If you have not read the books of the trilogy, I highly recommend them.
Tom Gray
I read the Vintage edition translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor; Penguin Classics has another translation.
Bulgakov's MASTER AND MARGARITA is the greatest work ever written in the last century by a Russian.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

365 of 383 people found the following review helpful By "wmw77" on August 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I suppose that I can start by saying that "The Master and Margarita" has been my favorite book for over 7 years now (that says a lot since I read quite a bit!). I don't think it is necessary to discuss the plot of the book, since you can read what the book is about by looking at the editorial reviews. However, I will comment on the various translations.
Without a doubt, the book in the original Russian is incomparable, but if you don't read Russian I would recommend the Burgin/Tiernan O'Connor translation. The first translation I ever read was Mirra Ginsburg's - although it is very charming and enjoyable, certain bits of conversation as well as almost an entire chapter are omitted from this translation. I have also read parts of Michael Glenny's translation, and I don't feel that his translation accurately relays the depth, rhythm and richness of Bulgakov's style. Burgin/Tiernan O'Connor has given the most complete and accurate translation of this work. Another superb feature of this translation is the commentary section at the end of the text, which is very helpful in understanding what influenced Bulgakov, and is especially helpful if the reader is not familiar with certain aspects of Soviet culture while the book was written (during the 1930's).
Lastly, I have to comment on the thing that I love most about "The Master and Margarita" - it is impossible to classify this book as one certain genre. This book is a philosophical and religious novel, an historical novel, a satire, a love story, an action/adventure, and a fantasy all rolled into one. Simply put, it is timeless - an original, brilliant and beautiful novel.
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149 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on August 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This novel belongs in its own category, for there has never been another like it. A really great novel is like a best friend. We love to see them praised and are hurt when they are attacked. I am elated to see that so many Amazon readers share my love for this great work. I have been reticent to write a critique, as I really can't do it justice. Words are too meager a medium to convey my true response to this masterpiece. Suffice it to say that this has long been my first recommendation whenever anyone approached me about books I most enjoyed. Now with the appearance of Diana Burgin's and Katherine O'Connor's superb translation, I can recommend it even more unreservedly. I've read the Ginsburg and Glenny translations, as well, and have to agree with the other reviewers here who take exception to them. I haven't read the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, but haven't been too excited by their work with Dostoevsky, so will probably skip it. I envy those who can read Bulgakov and other Russian masters in the original language, but I make do with finding the best translation I can and pay heed to what native speakers have to say about the various translations. I haven't heard any negatives about Burgin's and O'Connor's efforts. The volume also contains some useful annotation, particularly helpful if you are unfamiliar with the era and with the layout of Moscow. There are also some great Bulgakov sights on the net that have detailed maps of 30's-era Moscow, for those interested in getting a clearer mental picture of the sites Bulgakov describes (Patriarchs Pond, The Aryat, etc.). As far as placing Bulgakov in the Pantheon of Russian novelists, this novel alone propels him to the front ranks.Read more ›
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
"The Master and Margarita," Mikhail Bulgakov's sparkling fantasy of Satan's visit to Moscow under the guise of a magician named Professor Woland, must rank as one of the greatest acts of literary heroism of the past century. Bulgakov wrote the novel in the late 1930s, under what was arguably the most repressive government ever on earth--the Soviet Union at the height of Stalin's power. When even the mildest criticism of the regime led to a death sentence, Bulgakov dared to place all the cruelty, venality and treachery of 1930s Russia under a microscope. The book was of course unpublishable in Bulgakov's lifetime; it only appeared in its original form nearly a half-century after the author's death. We can chuckle at the wicked tricks Woland and his retinue play on various arrogant, incompetent Soviet officials, but knowledge of the power wielded by the real-life counterparts of those officials gives the chuckles a grim undertone indeed. The titular characters don't even appear until the book is nearly half-over: the Master, a despondent writer sent to an asylum after his novel about Pontius Pilate is rejected by the Soviet writers' union, and Margarita, the beautiful woman who loves him and will literally go to Hell for his sake. Through their dealings with Woland, Bulgakov exalts the power of the imagination, the need for the spiritual dimension in life and the courage to live by one's own convictions--virtues that Stalinist Russia strove, mostly successfully, to undermine. Interspersed with the tale of Woland, the Master and Margarita are chapters from the Master's novel, depicting Pontius Pilate's dealings on the day of the Crucifixion with Yeshua Ha-Notsri (Jesus of Nazareth), Levi Matvei (St. Matthew) and Judas of Kerioth (Iscariot).Read more ›
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