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The Master and Margarita (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 1, 2001
"Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It"
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About the Author
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bulgakov. Their translation of The Brothers Karamazov won the 1991 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. They are married and live in Paris, France.
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Top Customer Reviews
The fundamental purpose of Bulgakov's magnum opus is to hold up the harsh light of truth to the sins and hypocrisies of Stalinist Russia. There are three storylines here: one of them concerns the misadventures of Satan's retinue as they wreak havoc on Muscovite literary society, and presents some of the most penetrating satirical writing you'll ever come across; the second storyline centers around the fifth procurator of Judea, the equestrian Pontius Pilate, and his fateful encounter with Jesus leading to the latter's crucifixion; the final story presents the fates of a great writer (the master), and his lover (Margarita). Bulgakov brings the three stories together in a demonstration of narrative genius, to bury the oppressive fallacy of Soviet society and ideals beneath the combined forces of good and evil, of love, of freedom, and of magic and mysticism.
One brief note about available translations: after sampling most of the available English translations, I am firmly convinced that the Pevear/Volkhonsky version is far and away the best. The notes are excellent, and the introduction by Richard Pevear gives invaluable insight into the history of the novel and its ideas. But most of all, they give the narrative much greater vividness and depth, especially in the wonderfully lyrical Pilate chapters. This translation of Bulgakov's most remarkable novel is enthusiastically recommended!
There are two essential stories in this novel. The first is that of the Master and Margarita, a doomed pair of lovers who find themselves fatalistically intertwined with the devil and his henchman. The other is that of Christ and Pontius Pilate. Bulgakov moves effortlessly back and forth in time through the voice of the devil, Woland, who overhears two Russian literati discussing the veracity of the death and resurrection of Christ. The fun and games follow in rapid succession, as the devil turns Petersburg on its ear, confounding a sedated city with his miraculous tricks.
Pevear and Volokhonsky have done a fine translation. It is a bit too literal for my tastes. They didn't need to translate the names into English. Footnotes would have sufficed. But, then Bulgakov often employed blunt language. He was a playwright by profession, and in many ways this book is a theatre of the absurd.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Think of a Chagall painting, magic realism, a wild ride. And a quiet, oblique criticism of Staliist Russian throughout.Published 13 days ago by Harold Frankl
I have read this book twice. It's a bizarre tale of the Devil inserting himself into ordinary lives on the streets of Moscow, and at the theatre. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Solomonspalding Com
Good book, translation, etc. Would have prefered hardcover, but I didn't see it for this trans.Published 6 months ago by Jesse Rintoul
As a fan of Russian literature, this is amazing and has been rated as such for a long time. Wish he cold have lived to know the acclaim of this work that was so consuming for... Read morePublished 8 months ago by ma
Probably my favorite of all books! Read it every few years in Russian, and it always as much fun as the first time, magical, entertaining. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Fotis