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The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita (1966)

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,677354229 (4.24)8 / 981
  1. 146
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (LottaBerling)
  2. 158
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Mouseear)
  3. 70
    The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (shelfoflisa)
  4. 92
    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (ateolf)
  5. 71
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (BGP)
  6. 50
    The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Another tale where the devil shows up as a device to reveal and transcend the normality of "imposed terror".
  7. 73
    The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol (BGP, ateolf)
  8. 30
    Faust I & II by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (WSB7)
    WSB7: You will recognize many parallels as you read, and also consider that Bulgakov revised his work too over many years.
  9. 107
    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (markusnenadovus)
    markusnenadovus: Older Russian literature
  10. 20
    The Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf (gbill)
  11. 20
    Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov (Nickelini)
  12. 10
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Woland and the gentleman with thistle-down hair are very similar.
  13. 65
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (raudakind)
  14. 00
    Envy by Yuri Olesha (sparemethecensor)
  15. 00
    Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (amanda4242)
    amanda4242: Both feature cities thrown into chaos by the arrival of otherworldly visitors.
  16. 55
    If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (ateolf)
  17. 00
    Pilate's Wife by H.D. (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: The comparison is mostly to the "book-within-a-book" that makes up one half of Bulgakov's narrative. Both books tell a version of Jesus's encounter with Pilate where the Roman tries to intercede on the prophet's behalf.
  18. 11
    The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (igor.chubin)
  19. 11
    Nervous People and Other Satires by Mikhail Zoshchenko (roby72)
  20. 12
    The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare (Cecilturtle)

(see all 25 recommendations)


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English (307)  Italian (14)  French (12)  Finnish (4)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (354)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
Sin palabras.
Podría empezar diciendo que sé que hace años no hubiera disfrutado de esta lectura.
Podría seguir diciendo que en varios momentos me sentía como si fuera a levantar la vista del libro y me fuera a aparecer delante Popota, de tanto desvarío que estaba leyendo.
Podría profundizar en lo mucho que amo a Margarita.
Pero no puedo acabar sin decir que es un libro maravilloso al que hay que darle una oportunidad. Espero releerlo en un tiempo y volver a disfrutar como lo he hecho estos días. ( )
  Carla_Plumed | Dec 3, 2018 |
In spite of my many years of experience as a reader of a wide variety of literature—from YA novels to Shakespeare and lots of stuff in between—I am a newcomer to magical realism. So new, in fact, that I had no clue there was such a thing as Russian magical realism, which apparently predates Latin American magical realism, the better-known type. I suspect that my lack of familiarity with the genre, compounded by my very limited knowledge of Russian history and literature, made this novel a rather tough task for me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it but obviously not as much as I would have had I the proper prior knowledge.

The novel defies summary. Woland (Satan) visits Moscow in the 1930s. He brings with him three henchman (one in the form of an oversized feline named Behemoth). A series of episodic adventures ensues—there is an “accidental” beheading, a theatrical séance, literary skullduggery, trips to asylums, multiple disappearances, lots of minor characters, and only a vague sense of plot coherence. And the titular duo do not become prominent in the story until the second half of the novel. Oh, there’s also a book-within-the-book: a narrative account of Pontius Pilate’s ruling on Christ’s execution. Yes, the narrative’s loose structure and multiple plot strands make it a challenge to follow. But Bulghakov’s humor is bitingly charming. I cannot even attempt to explain what the novel is about—that would require research and conversation with others who’ve read the book, neither of which I was fortunate enough to enjoy as I read it. These constraints limited the pleasure I derived from the novel, and I’m sure there’s more “there” in this confoundingly delightful book than I was able to identify. If you’re up for a challenge, you could do worse than The Master & Margarita. ( )
1 vote jimrgill | Dec 2, 2018 |
Bulgakov's surreal masterpiece of the Devil causing havoc in Soviet Moscow is both fascinating and totally alien to me. I am very glad I have read it, but struggled mightily. Three frames of reference are needed to get this: Soviet era life, Satan's lore and Pontius Pilate - all of which I knew very little and had to rely on the footnotes. There are many characters to keep track of, and events are vignettes with little continuity between them.

The symbolism is deep - I get some of it but plenty left to be discovered for fans of this book. Bulgakov says that cowardice is the greatest sin, and indeed, cowardice and greed lets the devil, and the unmentioned but ever present Soviet powers, do their work. People jockeying for better apartments, money, advancement fall easy pray to the powers of evil, but the pure love of Margarita stands above it. Pontius Pilate suffers greatly for his cowardice.

All the while, weird stuff happens, which cannot be explained, yet Soviet era propaganda is skilled at finding explanations that fit their world view - just like all of us.

Overall, this is a timeless masterpiece that is very much rooted in its time, reminding me of Dali's work more than "magical realism". I would probably need to read it again to fully get it, which I am not going to do, because it is not a book that you can lose yourself in - it is hard work. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
3.5 stars ( )
  AaronJacobs | Oct 23, 2018 |
I found this book very difficult to categorise or to review satisfactorily. On the one hand it is a jump into a surreal world of the imagination, with Kafka-like, almost cartoonish characters - but you have the feeling that something much deeper is intended. Behind this strange romp of a story, which is written apparently in the 1930s - though not published in Russia till 1966, about 26 years after the author's death - probably lies the intention of satirizing the situation of the literary world in Stalinist Russia. However, without familiarity with Russian history of the period, its humour is somewhat inaccessible, and this makes the book a bit of a drag at times. The two strands of the story, with one part based in the time of the crucifixion in Roman Palestine and the other in the 1930s Soviet Union apparently, seem totally unrelated - and just confusing. It's just possible that the author is drawing a parallel between the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, and Josef Stalin, but if so this is quite obscure, at least to me. At 560 plus pages, this is quite a long novel and a fairly demanding read.
  noellib | Oct 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
Hostigado y perseguido, como tantos otros creadores e intelectuales rusos, por sus críticas al sistema soviético, MIJAIL BULGÁKOV (1891-1940) no pudo llegar a ver publicada "El maestro y margarita", que, escrita entre 1929 y su fallecimiento, sólo pudo ver la luz en 1966. Novela de culto, la obra trasciende la mera sátira, si bien genial, de la sociedad soviética de entonces -con su población hambrienta, sus burócratas estúpidos, sus aterrados funcionarios y sus corruptos artistas, cuya sórdida existencia viene a interrumpir la llegada a Moscú del diablo, acompañado de una extravagante corte-, para erigirse en metáfora de la complejidad de la naturaleza humana, así como del eterno combate entre el bien y el mal.
added by pacocillero | editcontraportada de la edición

» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bulgakov, MikhailAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aplin, HughTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arcella, SalvatoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blomqvist, Lars ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burgin, DianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crepax, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dridso, VeraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dvořák, LiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Figes, OrlandoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flamant, FrançoiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fondse, MarkoAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fondse, MarkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franklin, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsburg, MirraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glenny, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldstrom, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gradišnik, JanezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guercetti, EmanuelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrit, JørgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heino, Ulla-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoppe, FelicitasAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Καραγεώργη… ΤίναTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karpelson, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klimowski, AndrzejIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kocić, ZlataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacasa Sancha, AmayaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ligny, ClaudeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäkelä, MarttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morávková, AlenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nitzberg, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, Katherine TiernanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ojamaa, JüriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orlov, VappuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pescada, AntónioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pos, Gert JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prestes, ZoiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prina, Maria SerenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prins, AaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Proffer, EllendeaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rea, PriitIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, ThomasÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhind-Tutt, JulianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schejbal, DanusiaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seabra, Manuel deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silva, Mario SalvianoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skalaki, KrystynaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strada, VittorioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suart, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szőllősy, KláraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ulla-Liisa HeinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vācietis, OjārsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
קריקסונוב, פטרTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...and so who are
you, after all?

—I am part of the power
which forever wills evil
and forever works good.

Goethe's Faust
‘Say at last — who art thou?’

‘That Power I serve
Which wills forever evil
Yet does forever good.’

Goethe, Faust
...Так кто ж ты, наконец?

— Я — часть той силы,
что вечно хочет
зла и вечно совершает благо.

Гете. “Фауст”
First words
One hot spring evening, just as the sun was going down, two men appeared at Patriarch’s Ponds.
At the sunset hour of one warm spring day two men were to be seen at Patriarch’s Ponds.
Однажды весною, в час небывало жаркого заката, в Москве, на Патриарших
прудах, появились два гражданина.
...manuscripts don’t burn.
Рукописи не горят.
Les manuscrits ne brûlent pas.
what would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In this book, the devil and his entourage, which includes two demons, a naked girl and a huge cigar-smoking black cat who talks, walks upright and is a crack shot with a Mauser automatic, appear in Moscow. They wreak anarchy & havoc on the people.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679760806, Paperback)

Surely no stranger work exists in the annals of protest literature than The Master and Margarita. Written during the Soviet crackdown of the 1930s, when Mikhail Bulgakov's works were effectively banned, it wraps its anti-Stalinist message in a complex allegory of good and evil. Or would that be the other way around? The book's chief character is Satan, who appears in the guise of a foreigner and self-proclaimed black magician named Woland. Accompanied by a talking black tomcat and a "translator" wearing a jockey's cap and cracked pince-nez, Woland wreaks havoc throughout literary Moscow. First he predicts that the head of noted editor Berlioz will be cut off; when it is, he appropriates Berlioz's apartment. (A puzzled relative receives the following telegram: "Have just been run over by streetcar at Patriarch's Ponds funeral Friday three afternoon come Berlioz.") Woland and his minions transport one bureaucrat to Yalta, make another one disappear entirely except for his suit, and frighten several others so badly that they end up in a psychiatric hospital. In fact, it seems half of Moscow shows up in the bin, demanding to be placed in a locked cell for protection.

Meanwhile, a few doors down in the hospital lives the true object of Woland's visit: the author of an unpublished novel about Pontius Pilate. This Master--as he calls himself--has been driven mad by rejection, broken not only by editors' harsh criticism of his novel but, Bulgakov suggests, by political persecution as well. Yet Pilate's story becomes a kind of parallel narrative, appearing in different forms throughout Bulgakov's novel: as a manuscript read by the Master's indefatigable love, Margarita, as a scene dreamed by the poet--and fellow lunatic--Ivan Homeless, and even as a story told by Woland himself. Since we see this narrative from so many different points of view, who is truly its author? Given that the Master's novel and this one end the same way, are they in fact the same book? These are only a few of the many questions Bulgakov provokes, in a novel that reads like a set of infinitely nested Russian dolls: inside one narrative there is another, and then another, and yet another. His devil is not only entertaining, he is necessary: "What would your good be doing if there were no evil, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it?"

Unsurprisingly--in view of its frequent, scarcely disguised references to interrogation and terror--Bulgakov's masterwork was not published until 1967, almost three decades after his death. Yet one wonders if the world was really ready for this book in the late 1930s, if, indeed, we are ready for it now. Shocking, touching, and scathingly funny, it is a novel like no other. Woland may reattach heads or produce 10-ruble notes from the air, but Bulgakov proves the true magician here. The Master and Margarita is a different book each time it is opened. --Mary Park

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:39 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Presents a satirical drama about Satan's visit to Moscow, where he learns that the citizens no longer believe in God. He decides to teach them a lesson by perpetrating a series of horrific tricks. Combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem.… (more)

» see all 22 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188286, 0140455469

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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