master margarita ardis The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Dana Point. 1995. Ardis Publishers. Translated From The Russian By Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O'Connor. 367 pages. 0875010679.


The Devil visits 1920s Moscow and reeks havoc in this black comedy of the effects of evil and the power of truth.




   This is the first translation of the most complete text of Bulgakov's exuberant comic masterpiece, and the first annotated edition. A literary sensation from its first publication, THE MASTER AND MARGARITA has become an astonishing publishing phenomenon in Russia and has been translated into more than twenty languages, and made into plays and films. Mikhail Bulgakov's novel is now considered one of the seminal works of twentieth-century Russian literature. In this imaginative extravaganza the devil, disguised as a magician, descends upon Moscow in the 1930s with his riotous band, which includes a talking cat and an expert assassin. Together they succeed in comically befuddling a population which denies the devil's existence, even as it is confronted with the diabolic results of a magic act gone wrong. This visit to the capital of world atheism has several aims, one of which concerns the fate of the Master, a writer who has written a novel about Pontius Pilate, and is now in a mental hospital. Margarita, the despairing and daring heroine, becomes a witch in an effort to save the Master, and agrees to become the devil's hostess at his annual spring ball by turns acidly satiric, fantastic, and ironically philosophical, this work constantly surprises and entertains, as the action switches back and forth between the Moscow of the 1930s and first-century Jerusalem. In a brilliant tour de force, Bulgakov provides a startlingly different version of Pontius Pilate's encounter with one Yeshua, a naive believer in the goodness of man. The interplay of these two narratives is part of the ingenious pleasure of this work which defies all genre classifications and expectations. The commentary and afterword provide new insight into the mysterious subtexts of the novel, and here, for the first time, THE MASTER AND MARGARITA is revealed in all its complexity.




Bulgakov Mikhail Eldest son of a professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov was born in that city in 1891. After graduating in. medicine at Kiev University, Bulgakov was sent in 1916 (as an alternative to army service) to his first practice in a remote country region of one of the north-western provinces of Russia. There he worked for two years in sole charge of a local govenment clinic serving a large and scattered rural population. Late in 1918, after a spell as a hospital intern, Bulgakov returned to his native Kiev, where he set up in private practice as a specialist in venereology. Driven out, it seems, by the intolerable strains imposed on a doctor in a city racked by civil war, he left Kiev for the Caucasus; it was at this time, in 1919 or 1920, that Bulgakov resolved to give up medicine for a full-time literary career. Moving north to Moscow in the early twenties, Bulgakov endured a period of hardship and struggle to gain recognition as a writer. His first success was his novel The White Guard, originally published in serial form in 1925 and based on his experience of Kiev in the civil war, which he turned into a play for the Moscow Arts Theatre with the altered title of The Days of the Titrbins. From then on Bulgakov’s career was intimately bound up with the stage, in particular with the Moscow Arts Theatre under the joint direction of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, where he worked as an. assistant producer and resident dramatist until his break with Stanislavsky in 1936. After some time spent as an opera librettist with the Bolshoi Theatre, he was reduced to literary impotence by Stalin’s increasingly harsh censorship. Bulgakov fell ill with a painful kidney complaint in 1939, went blind as a result of the disease and died in March 1940. In addition to the stories in the present collection (first published in two magazines in the mid-twenties) Bulgakov wrote altogether fourteen plays, three novels and a rich and varied collection of satirical stories. Although many of his works still remain unpublished in the USSR, enough of his best books and plays have appeared posthumously, between 1955 and 1967, to have secured for Mikhail Bulgakov a place as one of the most original and powerful Russian writers of the twentieth century. Diana Burgin is Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and chairperson of the Modern Language Department. Her book, SOPHIA PARNOK: THE LIFE AND WORK OF RUSSIA’S SAPPHO was published earlier this year. Katherine Tiernan O’Connor is Professor of Russian at Boston University and the author of Boris Pasternak’s My Sister—Life: The Illusion of Narrative. She it currently writing a book on Chekhov’s letters. Ellendea Proffer has translated plays and prose by Bulgakov, and is the author of MIKHAIL BULGAKOV: LIFE AND WORK.


Diana Burgin is Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and chairperson of the Modern Language Department. Her book, SOPHIA PARNOK: THE LIFE AND WORK OF RUSSIA'S SAPPHO was published earlier this year. Katherine Tiernan O'Connor is Professor of Russian at Boston University and the author of Boris Pasternak's My Sister--Life: The Illusion of Narrative. She it currently writing a book on Chekhov's letters. Ellendea Proffer has translated plays and prose by Bulgakov, and is the author of MIKHAIL BULGAKOV: LIFE AND WORK.


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