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The Master and Margarita (1967)

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,905395220 (4.24)8 / 1036
The professor and the poet who've come to Patriarch's Ponds for a stroll on a hot and stagnant Moscow afternoon are dismayed to encounter a quite extraordinary stranger, surely a deranged foreigner. As this quixotic character recalls a centuries-old story of destiny, his infamy becomes a matter of gruesome revelation for the doomed professor and his poor companion. And what will become of the Master's suppressed masterpiece? Something his lover, Margarita, will go to great lengths to ensure.… (more)
  1. 80
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    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Mouseear)
  3. 157
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (LottaBerling)
  4. 91
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (BGP)
  5. 92
    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (ateolf)
  6. 137
    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (markusnenadovus)
    markusnenadovus: Older Russian literature
  7. 60
    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".
  8. 83
    The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol (BGP, ateolf)
  9. 40
    The Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf (gbill)
  10. 40
    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.
  11. 85
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (raudakind)
  12. 30
    Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov (Nickelini)
  13. 30
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Woland and the gentleman with thistle-down hair are very similar.
  14. 31
    The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (igor.chubin)
  15. 20
    Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (charlie68)
    charlie68: The same general pathos
  16. 10
    We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (sturlington)
  17. 21
    Nervous People and Other Satires by Mikhail Zoshchenko (roby72)
  18. 00
    Envy by Yuri Olesha (sparemethecensor)
  19. 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.
  20. 55
    If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (ateolf)

(see all 26 recommendations)

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English (341)  Italian (17)  French (13)  Finnish (4)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (4)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (394)
Showing 1-5 of 341 (next | show all)
Wow! I was not expecting this in a Russian novel! It was a masterpiece of fantasy and allegory, although the more political satire was out of my reach, not knowing enough Russian history. It is easy to imagine how this would affect readers who personally recognized the details. My Russian barber told me about reading it years ago when it was passed secretly from person to person. It is full of unforgettable images. One is of Margarita, the witch, flying naked over Moscow on a broom. Another is of Pontius Pilate interviewing Christ. And then there is Behemoth the cat, one of Satan’s companions. The translation in this 50th anniversary edition is also excellent. ( )
  drardavis | Apr 16, 2021 |
This is a book that’s mentioned often, sometimes in genre conversations given its fantastical content. In brief, the devil visits Moscow and involves himself – with the help of a personal assistant and a very large cat, that talks and walks upright – with various people, who suffer as a consequence. I’m not a big reader of Russian fiction – in translation, obviously – War and Peace many years ago, a couple of novels by the Strugatsky brothers, some Solzhenitsyn, We last year, and now this. I remember enjoying War and Peace, and the Solzhenitsyns were good, but the translations of the Strugatskys’ novels into idiomatic American English didn’t do them any favours… But I can’t say I thought either We or The Master & Margarita particularly good books or enjoyable reads. The story leaps all over the place, and it’s all very excitable. Some parts consist of one character telling another character what happened to them. Other parts seem to make little sense or directly contradict themselves. On the plus-side, it’s all very Russian and the culture in which the novel is set comes through on every page – which is more than could be said for the Strugatskys novels I read. The Master & Margarita is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, and while it’s preferable to yet another literary novel about a college professor suffering a mid-life crisis, is it really the best mid-twentieth-century Soviet literature could produce? Or is it chiefly revered because it’s critical of the USSR? Some of the best Soviet films are pretty much propaganda – being anti-USSR does not make a Russian novel, or film, good in and of itself. The US spent almost a century so worried its proletariat would see through its structural inequality, it demonised communism to the extent half of the US population still believe social healthcare is evil, and most of them can’t see that Putin,. ie capitalist Russia, is far more dangerous than the USSR ever was. Sigh. ( )
  iansales | Apr 15, 2021 |
Kind of more of a three-and-a-half stars book. The main portion of the novel, with Satan messing with the lives of ordinary Muscovites, begins to drag after a while - there's no sense of stakes or danger when every main character is basically magic, and not all the satire in the world can help that. However, the secondary portion, tracing Pontius Pilate before, during, and after the death of Christ, is totally captivating and could have carried a whole book unto itself. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Fantastic drama, full of humorous moments, never boring. It was incredibly interesting to be able to see the daily lives of many Russians of that period, all of the subterfuge and intrigue. Never forget - if you ever come across any foreign currency, turn it in immediately, or else! ( )
  Firons2 | Jan 31, 2021 |
Sometimes I think I have no idea what goes on in my own head. Vaguely, whenever I come across this novel's title, prior to reading it, I imagine a main character hailed as "The Master" taking a sip of a margarita at some bar. This is not like that at all. This is better than everything I imagined it to be. Oh thank goodness.

Bulgakov's magical realism is a fantastic ride. The Master and Margarita chronicles Satan and then his tough retinue's appearance in Moscow, from predicting Berlioz's death by a tramcar to hosting a sinner-studded ball, wrecking amusing havoc in the Soviet Union partly to prove Jesus Christ's existence in a historical context, partly to portray a unification of good and evil in its troupe of characters (and all of humanity). The radical atheism and propaganda sweep amidst the already tense political air with a sham of a freedom — denying Christ's existence as a hoax because he is nothing but a fragment of fiction. Its usage of religious text to propel its narrative featuring a fiction within a fiction is astonishing not to mention its dealings with witchcraft and black magic are one of this novel's strongest if not very delightful parts. Yes, I guffawed throughout the book. I may have gone through it all headless and laughing but there is no denying that The Master and Margarita is a solid, memorable satire. Dark humour aside, which works very well without destroying the reputation of its well-layered narrative, this is a blast. I mean, who does not want to read about a talking, powerful cat?

The Master and Margarita is a pleasantly crazy, compelling novel that ties all of its complex subplots together into an astonishing conclusion. Let yourself be confused. Everything works out in the end. Bulgakov never leaves anything open except our multifaceted interpretation. But I rest my case of trying to interpret this. I will let its brilliance rest in my head instead. ( )
1 vote lethalmauve | Jan 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 341 (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 (101 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bulgakov, Mikhailprimary 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
Flaker, VidaTranslatorsecondary 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
Jacoby, MelissaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalugin, AleksandrCover artistsecondary 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
Vācietis, OjārsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
קריקסונוב, פטרTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
...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
Dedication
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. (translated by Michael Glenny)
Quotations
...manuscripts don’t burn.
what would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The professor and the poet who've come to Patriarch's Ponds for a stroll on a hot and stagnant Moscow afternoon are dismayed to encounter a quite extraordinary stranger, surely a deranged foreigner. As this quixotic character recalls a centuries-old story of destiny, his infamy becomes a matter of gruesome revelation for the doomed professor and his poor companion. And what will become of the Master's suppressed masterpiece? Something his lover, Margarita, will go to great lengths to ensure.

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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.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188286, 0140455469

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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