A 50th-anniversary Deluxe Edition of the incomparable 20th-century masterpiece of satire and fantasy, in a newly revised version of the acclaimed Pevear and Volokhonsky translation
Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere.
This newly revised translation, by the award-winning team of Pevear and Volokhonsky, is made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Klimowski and Schejbal make a bold but confused attempt to adapt Bulgakov's classic novel by embracing its surreal qualities and alternating between the two artists' styles for its parallel narratives. The Devil arrives in Stalin-era Moscow, wreaking havoc on the city's hypocritical intelligentsia, and Klimowski renders these sections in a dense, moody style with thick linework. The Devil and his motley crew of assistants upend the establishment through a series of deadly performances, nasty pranks, and bizarre rituals. He also aids the despondent title characters, a writer nicknamed the Master by his lover, Margarita. Schejbal adapts the Master's scandalous novel-within-the-novel about Pontius Pilate with an intense burst of paints. Both artists try to match the lyrical richness of Bulgakov's prose with their exaggerated visceral stylizations, but the results run incoherent. Characters are introduced without much context, and Bulgakov's satirical jabs are often lost in translation. The mechanical lettering font deadens the dialogue, especially given the artists' highly expressionistic approach. While ambitious, this dueling visualization of Bulgakov's thematically complex novel just doesn't quite coalesce.
If you’re looking for a cookie-cutter plot driven story where the author takes you by the hand and guides you to a predictable end, don’t read this book. If you like character driven stories populated with everything from historical figures to pistol carrying, vodka swilling cat with gilded whiskers borne from the imagination of a masterful, sardonic writer, look no further. This is your book. It’s wonderful. There’s a good reason this book inspired The Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Raves for what? A rambling and odd work that, while a product of its time and place, is all over the map and makes little sense. The connections to Stalinist Russia are there, but this book is boring and repetitive. Well written, but very little substance.