- Paperback: 350 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 9, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442133171
- ISBN-13: 978-1442133174
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 685 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,686,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Master and Margarita Paperback – April 9, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
685 customer reviews
Review this product
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-2 of 685 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Written 1928-1940, not yet completely finished at Bulgakov's death with the result that there are a few minor inconsistencies in some of the chapters of the second part. A final text was prepared in 1963 by the author's widow (being the not-completely-edited manuscript as it was when the author died), and it finally saw the light of day when published in a Russian magazine Nov. 1966 & Jan. 1967. However, that was in a censored version, with 10-15% of the text cut; uncensored versions, however, circulated in the Soviet underground. Russian versions of the complete text where published in France and Germany later in 1967. The first version published in the U.S.S.R. was prepared by Anna Saakyants in 1973, with some additions and changes, including passages Bulgakov had crossed out, but had not re-edited at the time of his death. Then, a new version by Lidiya Vanovskaya arrived in 1989 which was closer to the original 1963 typescript of the widow (eliminating certain passages added in the 1973 edition -- compliant with Bulgakov's wishes, but resulting in further inconsistencies).
The sensation the original resulted in two English translations being quickly made and issued in 1967: Mira Ginsburg (considered a good translation, but from the censored text, so not complete), and Michael Glenny (of the uncensored version, but the translator appears to have taken some liberties with the text). Both these have appeared in several editions over the years, and both may still be available. Both have been praised and panned as to their accuracy by different reviewers. Not being able to read a word of Russian myself, I have had to take the word of others as to their respective accuracy. Glenny is considered to read much like Bulgakov wrote, but I have noted some passages which are too far off from those of other translators.
Next was the version by translators Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O"Connor (1995, based on the Vanovskaya, but also incorporating some needed passages from the 1973 edition), supposedly highly accurate and considered a far better job than the books which appeared in 1967. This was followed soon after by that of Richard Pever & Larissa Volokhonsky (1997, for Penguin, based on the 1963 typescript), also considered an accurate account. Despite much praise for the Burgin-O'Connor, I found it to be tough reading, the style just doesn't flow well for me, and I have come to question some aspects the translation. However, it does include a few added passages which Bulgakov had removed, but not yet corrected for, which make other things clearer. Of these two, I cannot say I prefer one over the other, but the Pevear-Volokhonsky appears to have better translations of certain words and a little bit better flow of the writing. Both have extensive end-notes which aid in understanding many of the literary and historical allusions. Despite the presence of better texts, Ginsburg and Glenny both read better than either of these and I find neither to be a joy.
A somewhat obscure translation by a Michael Karpelson appeared in 2006 (based on the Saakyants edition, with the clarifying passages), which is now on Wordsworth Classics Master and Margarita (Wordsworth Classics). This one is certainly worth looking for as it in all ways, to me, has advantages -- choice of words, textual additions, sentence flow, etc. -- over the 4 which came before. Also has end-notes, but not as extensive as the other recent editions. It is my (present) top choice.
And, then there is this one, translated by Hugh Aplin (2008, OneWorld Classics, now called Alma Classics). I am not sure which Russian version it is based on; an end-note states it is from a text approved by the Bulgakov estate (it does not observe the crossed-out material), published in 1996 and 2004; this may be based on a completely different text version entirely. I must admit, I have not yet read this cover-to-cover, but I have read sections/chapters and made comparisons with others, and this comes out very favorably and possibly reads better in some places than any of the others. One objection I have found to this version is that a number of Russian terms have been left untranslated, with no notes to explain their meaning (though, there are notes a-plenty in the back). The flow of the words is very good and provides a straight-forward reading. This translation I rate as one of the better ones.
As a major fan of "The Master and Margarita", at this time I find anyone looking for an English translation of what is one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century (actually, what I consider the greatest novel of all time) should look to that of 1) Karpelson, though 2) Aplin is not far behind. Either one would do nicely if only a single translation is desired. Ginsburg could also be near the top, but her text was corrupt. Glenny is good for reading, but sort of out as a translation due to some odd liberties he took with the text. This leaves for 3) Burgin/O'Connor, then 4) Pever/Volokhonsky. However, none of these are really bad, very inaccurate, nor to be completely rejected. I now have all 6, and I'm keeping all of them.
Also suggested: Another fine spoof on Soviet society -- Bulgakov's "Heart of a Dog".
[later addendum to my above review: I have re-read the Burgin-O'Connor translation, and now have a greater respect for it. At least, this time, the story flow went better for me, and I was more comfortable with other aspects of it. My number one choice, however, remains Karpelson, now with Aplin and Burgin-O'Connor in a close tie for second place. Also, the Burgin-O'Connor might prove easier to find than the other two, though I am certain someone on Amazon would be able to supply. Read and enjoy.]
2nd Addendum -- this one pertains to the Hugh Aplin translation here under review. I have now read it completely, and declare this translation to be excellent, perhaps even slightly preferable to the Karpelson. The reading of this is an easy-flowing joy, though one may expect to encounter some "Britishisms" that an American reader may not be familiar with. There are numerous passages which Aplin makes sharp and clear, where some of the other translations give turgid readings. Choice of words appears to be fairly literal, without creating some of the difficulties this sometimes brings about. This edition has end-notes, though not nearly as many as found in either Burgin-O'Connor or Pevear-Volokhonsky; but, also includes several photos of the author and Moscow scenes and an extensive biography of Bulgakov. A highly recommended translation, as is the Karpelson.
Bulgakov was punished for his outspoken writing and refusal to conform to the ideals of the Soviet State, and he suffered much for it. Suffering does not ensure art, let alone great art, but the experience of the Master and his beautiful, rejected novel about Pontius Pilate speak quite clearly of Bulgakov’s frustration and pain and longing for his own redemption.
“Gods, gods! How sad the evening earth! How mysterious the mists over the bogs! Whoever has wandered in these mists, whoever suffered deeply before death, whoever flew over this earth burdened beyond human strength knows it. The weary one knows it. And he leaves without regret the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and yields himself with an easy heart to the hands of death, knowing that it alone can bring surcease.” (p. 383)
Several stories are intertwined, the namesake being the love affair between Margarita and the writer she calls, "Master," whose novel about Pontius Pilate and his inability to save a philosopher he admires greatly but whom he must condemn to death (Jesus Christ) becomes a book within the book which Margarita reads and supports obsessively as if it were a part of her own soul. The Master's book becomes blacklisted, and Bulgakov paints the Master's inability to get it published, his burning the manuscript out of grief, and his resulting depressive insanity. Excerpts from that book within a book repeat throughout the minds of several of the characters like a leitmotif of longing and proof of their spiritual connection with each other and the source of their inspiration.
The main story is about the Devil and his retinue and the madness they create in Moscow, madness which turns into transformation of the soul, a fantasy of relief from unbearable longing and fear of the unknown.
What is good? What is evil? Can good come from evil or evil come from what is propagandized as good and acceptable?
The translator, Mirra Ginsburg, in her "Translator's Introduction", states that Bulgakov labored over this book for twelve years. I think it is a sin for a reader to finish in two short days a work of art a writer labored over for twelve long years, but I couldn't help myself. I couldn't put it down!
This is a most incredible novel which I recommend to everyone. I will read it again and again.