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The Master and Margarita (1967)

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,438439218 (4.22)8 / 1065
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)
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    WSB7: You will recognize many parallels as you read, and also consider that Bulgakov revised his work too over many years.
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(see all 27 recommendations)

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English (369)  Italian (18)  French (13)  Spanish (8)  Dutch (5)  German (4)  Finnish (4)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (2)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (432)
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "Only remember bits and pieces of this, but widely considered a masterpiece; re-read this!" Although it was only first published in 1967, it was written between 1927 and 1940 (Stalin's era). Here in 2022 I agree; should re-read. ( )
  MGADMJK | Sep 9, 2022 |
As so many others have commented, this is a novel with multiple layers and much to discover. Readers will approach it from their personal perspectives and backgrounds, and as a result each is likely to take different things from it. I should think that anyone who starts reading (after having read the publishers summary and thus knowing something about the book, not necessarily true for someone who picks it up cold) will become engaged at some level. Which layer shines through most will change for each reader.

A strong sense of humor, evidenced by witty dialog and slapstick actions, is present throughout the book, and I've read that it can be a tonic for those who are in need of a dose of comedy to brighten their life. That wouldn't work for me, although I did appreciate the humor.

Those curious about biblical history may find the secondary theme involving Pontius Pilate and the events of Good Friday excellent food for contemplation. I consider the intertwining of the two themes, and especially Bulgakov's interpretation of Pilate's actions, to be one of the finest parts of the book.

Enthusiasts of classic drama or opera will have no difficulty spotting Faustian references on nearly every page, relishing the ways in which this novel mirrors the characters and situations presented by authors and composers from Goethe to Gounod to Mann to Benet. (Looking forward into the world of pop culture, Mick Jagger has said that he had [b:The Master and Margarita|117833|The Master and Margarita|Mikhail Bulgakov|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1327867963l/117833._SY75_.jpg|876183] in mind when writing Symphony for the Devil. It's actually not hard to believe.)

For me, having as I do an inescapable tendency to digest books against the backdrop of the time in which they were written, the struggles of daily life in 1930's Stalinist Russia was the most dominant theme. In the very first pages, Bulakov introduces the question of whether it is acceptable, during this time, to suggest that Jesus Christ was an actual historical man. Denying his existence eliminates many treacherous philosophical discussions. Individuals disappear without explanation, never to be seen or heard from again. Housing is scarce, subterfuge is necessary to work around the system allotting apartments, and unlikely co-habitations result.

And the government is ultimately responsible for explaining away that which does not make sense to anyone who is daring enough to ponder the reasons beyond bizarre occurrences. At the end of the day, acceptance is the key to survival.

To those who know and love the book may find that I have given short shrift to a message that is possibly the most significant - love as redemption. The value of peace gained through love, as opposed to success or happiness.

To give credit where it is due, my enthusiasm for this book was heightened by the brilliant narrator, Julian Rhind-Tutt. He conveyed a love for the book in his vibrant manner of voicing each character's dialog and the sometimes barely describable scenes. I suppose he may actually hate the book and think, "Well, it's a job", but if so, he disguised it well. The translation is the 2006 version by Karpelson. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
I don’t often find myself at a loss for words, but this book is quite impossible to describe or explain. It is more allegory than novel and it is peppered with heavily veiled commentary on Stalin’s Russia and the proletarian state. I read it with an analytical supplement and it was still something that needed to be taken slowly. I’m sure there are a wealth of themes important to Bulgakov that I have missed.

The first three quarters of the book seem a bit disjointed and confusing, plot being minimal and characters changing over and over again. It is only in the fourth quarter that the pieces begin to be pulled together and the depths of meaning begin to emerge. The cat is hilarious. He is like a witch’s familiar with a sense of humor, or a slapstick comedian pulling chairs from under people who are about to sit. There is a minor event that gives a whole new meaning to the expression “he’s an empty suit”. Finally, the title characters, the Master and Margarita, do not appear until the novel is halfway done.

There is the Faust story, with Satan and his minions creating chaos in Moscow, and a parallel story of Pontius Pilate and the death of Christ. Among the serious points Bulgakov is making is one regarding the importance and permanence of true art. With literature being so politically important at this time in Russia as an expression of free thought in a world of control, when Bulgakov writes “manuscripts don’t burn” it is more than a line in a novel, it is an act of defiance and perhaps a prayer of hope.

I have no doubt this is an important piece of literature and worthy of being studied in depth in a Russian studies class. What will primarily remain with me is probably the ludicrous antics and the Pilate story, which I am still trying to sort in my head. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
I read this as a part of a book club (Book Palaver, it's called) and didn't enjoy it much at all, I'm afraid. Not only are there Russian names, which is tough enough, but the author provides multiple names for most characters, just further confusing things.

A part of the story is about Pontius Pilate which I found interesting, but unfortunately it was a rather small part of the book.

If you're steeped in 1930s Soviet Union history and like fantastical, over-the-top stories, then maybe this is for you. I just didn't get it. ( )
  Jarratt | Jul 18, 2022 |
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (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 (99 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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...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
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)
...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?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Canonical LCC
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
Роман Михаила Булгакова (1891—1940) «Мастер и Маргарита» стал классикой мировой литературы, выдержал многомиллионные тиражи. Он переведен на многие языки мира, многократно инсценирован и экранизирован. На его сюжет созданы музыкальные произведения, оперы и балеты.
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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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