The Master and Margarita
Unlocking the Meaning of The Master and Margarita
In the decades following the publication of The Master and Margarita, myriad critics have attempted to find a key to unlock the meaning of Bulgakov’s unfinished masterwork. Some viewed the novel as a political roman à clef, laboriously substituting historical figures from Stalinist Moscow for Bulgakov’s characters. Others posited a religious fo...more
EXTRA! EXTRA! This review has now been immortalized in audio format. Authentic Russian accent and Russian quotes are provided free of charge :) http://soundcloud.com/nataliyac/the-m...
I'm staying home from work today, sick to the extreme, and it's only in that unique feverish clarity that comes with illness that I dare to even try to write about this book.
This is THE book. The one that all the other books are measured against. The one that I've read more times since I was twe...more
Mikhail Bulgakov, who is no stranger to the pale fire of a burning manuscript, has created a masterpiece of fiction that truly cannot be burned. Having been completed, but not fully edited, by the time of Bulgakov’s demise, this novel survived Soviet censorship and the test of time to remain one of the foremost Russian novels of the 20th century, and still holds relevance in today’s world. From political intrigue and scathing social satire to religious commentary and witch...more
Hilarious and contemplative my ass, CT. This book is an interminable slog.
Look, here’s the deal. I get that this book satirizes 1930s Stalinist Russia, and I get that—for some—this earns The Master and Margarita a place on their “works-of-historical-importance” shelves. But for me, it earns nothing. I mean, let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we...more
This was my second reading of “The Master and Margarita”, although the first must have been in the mid-70’s.
I had vivid memories of the first reading, although if you had asked me to describe them, I wouldn’t have been able to. All I can recall is something fluid and magical.
I hesitate to use the term “Magical Realism”, because I wasn’t aware of it at the time and, besides, I dispute whether the term applies to Bulgakov’s work.
My experience this time was quite differen...more
This is not a review. This is my reaction to reading TM&M. Nothing more, and certainly less.
From time to time, and always when I receive a Friend Request, I check other people’s Read list via the Compare Books function—constantly cringing at the five titles that always show up as huge scars—the titles on their Read list and my To Read list. The indignity. It doesn’t end. There are five, five which constantly haunt me, flood me with shame. This is (was) one of them (had I chosen to read the c...more
That caused others to pan it and scoff
So who wrote this thing
Whence sentiments swing?
T’was a Russian they called Bulgakov.
The culture was smothered by Stalin
He purged those he felt failed to fall in.
So how to respond
Sans magical wand?
With satire, to show it’s appallin’.
The book has been said to have layers
With multiple plotlines and players.
There’s good and there’s bad
And witches unclad.
Can naked truth sate the naysayers?
The Devil’s own minions had power.
Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here...more
It's difficult to explain the effect of this book. There is such a wild oscillation in it that swings us back and forth between two worlds: the world of Moscow - a wild circus with the devil Woland as ringmaster - and the world of Yershalaim (Jerusalem). These are fictional reinventions that retain a basic truth.
I sure wasn't ready for what was in store for me. I struggled at first....more
The Devil went down to Georgia
He was loo...more
My parents always "consoled" me by saying that someday I'd be older and would appreciate that I'd always be spending my birthday with my family...more
From the moment he first materializes as the black magician Woland at a...more
Explaining the story would kill the magic for those who haven't read it. It's for you to discover...besides, I'm not sure I could explain the bloody thing.
Upon finishing The Master and Margarita I was left with images that flickered like an earlier black and white film. Some dazzled, some disturbed, and some of the best passages pushed the story along workmanlike. The Biblical historical fiction scenes...more
There's no denying that The Master and Margarita is a classic and one of the several Russian (and particularly Soviet) novels that must be read. However, it is difficult to become enamoured with a novel that throws so many different and conflicting ideas into one plot line.
The Master and Margarita is widely considered Mikhail Bulgakov's Magnum Opus and since few have heard of his other books it seems a fair statement for the literary critic to make. As a lasting legacy of Bulgakov's wo...more
My review following a re-reading is here:
I originally rated the novel as four stars on the basis of my first reading.
Earlier Place Holder
This novel inspired Mick Jagger to write "Sympathy for the Devil" from the album "Beggars Banquet".
Jagger's lyrics adopt the character of the Satanic Professor Woland.
My recollection of the novel is that its tone is much more diverse, almost magic realist in parts.
October 24, 2011
- The burning book of the Master, but later it is given back to him by Voland with the saying that "manuscripts don't burn"
- The Master and Margarita
- Margarita flying on her broom over Moscow
- This character doesn't even need an introduction - Behemoth
The witch Hella
- Koroviev, Behemoth, and Voland
- The ball organized by Satan every year, where Margarita is hostess.
- The characters leaving Moscow and going to their next adventure maybe...
I know, the plot has barely begun to develop. I've experienced only a couple of Pilate chapters. I've had enough to know, though, that this is not going to get better for me.
I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that this is a great book ... for others. For...more
‘No,’ replied Woland, ‘why run after what is already finished.’"
Such a fascinating clash of narration and character, story and story-telling, a kind of collapse of Demons and Alice in Wonderland. I enjoyed its playfulness and its banal viciousness, in tandem, from the characters and from Bulgakov himself, but also the knife-like and capricious tenderness that emerges like a nervous blackguard hiding his ill-gotten gains s...more
An enjoyable foray through the dark days of Stalinist Russia, but one that may be somewhat undercut by its increasing reliance on the magical to move the plot. Political references abound, but usually not in any manner central to the story, and I fou...more
|The Master and Ma...: Translations||229||143||Nov 25, 2013 11:51PM|
|The Transatlantic...: Late, as usual...||10||7||Oct 22, 2013 04:43AM|
|Your translation is disgusting and not professionally.||24||518||Oct 11, 2013 11:31AM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Three - The Master & Margarita - Part Two, ch. XIX - XXV||15||37||Jul 17, 2013 11:45PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Four - The Master & Margarita - Part Two, ch. XXVI - XXXII||28||31||Jul 17, 2013 01:36PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Two - The Master & Margarita - Part One, ch. XI - XVIII||10||32||Jul 17, 2013 12:08PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week One - The Master & Margarita - Part One, ch. I - X||31||52||Jul 17, 2013 11:41AM|
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evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows
disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the
shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings.
Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because
of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid.”