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The Master and Margarita (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 1, 2001
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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.
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!
I figured it was worth the fifty cents the store was charging. So I bought it along with some little volume by PD Ouspensky about the possibly future psychology of man. Egads.
Anyway, "The Master and The Magician" is a fantastic read--the kind of novel you sort of expect from Russian writers: sprawling, philosophical, packed with characters of every description with names and nicknames you can hardly keep straight, comic, tragic, rollicking, digressive, transgressive--in short, something we don't see much in American literature outside of Melville's "Moby Dick."
It all starts with a conversation in a Russian park between an editor and a poet about the non-existence of the historical Jesus. Enter a strange character who claims to have actually been there when Pontius Pilate condemned Christ to be crucified. From that point on, all Hell breaks loose. Satan has come to the Soviet Union, literally, accompanied by his theatrical retinue, which includes a talking cat who walks about, in plain sight, on his hind legs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Political satire, black humor, and Fantasy. I think that the Devil is the hero of the book. My wife disagrees. But he sure comes off better than the Soviet bureaucrats. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maury
Very difficult to follow. Maybe it was the translation. More likely it was me. I couldn't keep characters straight or follow the plot. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brian Lewis
This is a classic book. I have not started reading it yet, so I can't answer all your questions.Published 2 months ago by tom
I am returning this new "deluxe" version because, to me, pages that are not cut properly flush, and without properly sharpened blades, are only found in shoddy, not deluxe,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Auspicious