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The Master and Margarita Paperback – January 13, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reissue edition (January 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802130119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802130112
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


“A wild surrealistic romp. . . . Brilliantly flamboyant and outrageous.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The Detroit News

“This dark, absurd, and subversive treasure lay hidden for many years, even after Bulgakov’s death, such was the fear of reprisal for such a pointed, authentic stab at life under the tyrannical malevolence of Uncle Joe and the withering Soviet climate of the time.” —Johnny Depp, “My Essentials” in Entertainment Weekly’s “Best of the Decade” issue (December 11, 2009)

“Fine, funny, imaginative . . . . The Master and Margarita stands squarely in the great Gogolesque tradition of satiric narrative.” —Saul Maloff, Newsweek

“The book is by turns hilarious, mysterious, contemplative and poignant. . . . A great work.” —Chicago Tribune

“Magnificent . . . a gloriously ironic gothic masterpiece . . . had me rapt with bliss.” —Patrick McGrath, Guardian (UK)

“Funny, devilish, brilliant satire . . . It’s literature of the highest order and . . . it will deliver a full measure of enjoyment and enlightenment.” —Publishers Weekly

“A rich, funny, moving and bitter novel . . . . Vast and boisterous entertainment.” —The New York Times

“A classic of twentieth-century fiction.” —The New York Times Book Review

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation)

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Customer Reviews

The novel is truly fascinating.
Igor Biryukov
Mikhail Bulgakov's Master and Margarita is by far the greatest novel I've ever read.
box25946@megabaud.fi
This book is better read in original than translated.
Drifter Invisible

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

226 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Forbes on April 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've always been a fan of Russian novels, ever since I read my first Dostoevsky novel at the age of 10...(okay, it was a Classics Illustrated comic book version of Crime and Punishment!)but had never run across anything by Bulgakov until a few years ago. A Russian friend of mine really pressed me to read the book. I bought it, but it just stayed on the shelf until a few weeks ago. All I can say is, I didn't know what I was missing. Master and Margarita is a wickedly funny, sad, frightening, and ultimately haunting masterpiece of fiction.
Bulgakov was one of the first generation of Soviet writers who flourished in the 20s, during the short lived Soviet Experimental movement, and then suffered horribly after the stregnthening of Stalin's regime. Bugakov was primarily a man of the Theater, and something of a theatrical quality hangs on to this book. The chapters have an almost tableaux style construction. When the Stalinist purges began, Bulgakov was began work on Master and Margarita, pretty much to please himself. He knew that he would never live to see it published.
The novel itself is nearly impossible to describe. It consists of three separate plots. On the surface is the visit to Moscow, of the Devil in the guise of a professor named Woland, and his henchmen, two grotesque disfigured men, a naked woman and a cat who plays chess among other things. The group proceeds to essentially terrorize the city's intellectual community, mostly by exposing each character's inner hypocracy. The satire of communist society in this section is quite biting, and uproariously funny. Embedded in this story is a "novel within a novel" ...the story of Pontius Pilate and his encounter with the itinerant spiritual man, Yeshua.
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99 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Igor Biryukov on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am Russian, and have read this novel (which is my favorite Russian novel), in Russian. However, for some reason, a week ago I decided to look through Michael Glenny's translation of this novel and I was shocked by the various little mistakes in the text. In the very first dialog, one of the main characters asks for a glass of Narzan (which is a famous brand of mineral water in Russia), which M.Glenny translates as lemonade. Close, but no cigar...And it goes further like this. That leads me to believe that the translator probably was not familiar with nuances of Russian language, or may be simply didn't care. Nevertheless, I know that it had been the only one English translation available since 1967 and thanks Mr.Glenny for that. Now we have Mirra Ginsburg's more accurate translation (I have checked), which makes me happy. The novel is truly fascinating. A really remarkable person wrote it. Bulgakov was a doctor by profession, he received an exellent education in the pre-Revolutionary Russia and lived through the horrors and turmoil of the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil war. This is a wonderful satire on Communism and a biblical story. This novel populated by very interesting characters, one of them is "unknown visitor" Woland, who is the Satan visiting Moscow with his entourage. Woland is a complex figure, a diabolical seducer, father of lies - the Devil himself, but also "he, who has brought the light" - Lucifer. He laughs at the Soviet Communists, who mistakenly think that they have rooted out all evil and have build a society which is even beyond the good and evil. In the clash with Woland they watch how the "perfect" and godless society crumbles down. Please read it, and you will enjoy it, because the novel goes beyond Russian culture to the world of archetypal characters and events that have meaning to all humans.
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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Diego Banducci on June 5, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are four translations of "The Master and Margarita" presently available Two of them, those by Mirra Ginsburg and Michael Glenny, are based upon a 1966 censored Russian version of the novel, while the later, Burgin/O'Connor and Pevear/ Volokhonsky translations are based upon the final uncensored version. Additionally, the latter two translations contain useful endnotes (footnotes would have been preferable) that explain references to people, places and things in the Moscow of the Thirties.
Despite these shortcomings, after reading all four translations, I found that I enjoyed the Ginsburg translation the most. Since I do not read Russian, I based that opinion on the facts that (1) for me, it read the most smoothly, and (2) the comic passages were simply funnier in her translation (Russians, justifiably consider the novel to be a comic masterpiece). I attribute these characteristics to the Ms. Ginsburg having been born and raised in the country of Byelorussia and her being a successful writer (in English!) in her own right.
Based upon those criteria, I rank the translations as follows:
1. Mirra Ginsburg (1967) [ISBN 0802130119]. Simply the most readable. Read also her translation of "Life of a Dog."
2. Diana Burgin and Katherine O'Connor [ISBN: 0679760806]. Conveys a wonderful sense of mood, especially in the Pontius Pilate chapters.
3. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (1997) [ISBN: 0141180145]. I had the sense that this is the most accurate translation, but it is less literary than the two preceding choices. The comic passages simply do not come across. Pevear and Volokhonsky, a husband and wife team, are prolific translators of Russian literature. I have enjoyed several of their other translations, but this one just does not seem to work.
4.
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