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Mikhail Bulgakov (1891 - 1940)
Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov (Михаил Афанасьевич Булгаков, May 15 (May 3 Old Style), 1891 - March 10, 1940) was a Ukrainian-born Soviet novelist and playwright of the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for the novel The Master and Margarita.
Mikhail Bulgakov was born in Kiev, Ukraine, the oldest son of a professor at a theological seminary. The Bulgakov sons enlisted in the White Army, and in post-Civil War Russia, ended up in Paris, save for Mikhail. Mikhail Bulgakov, who enlisted as a field doctor, ended up in the Caucasus, where he eventually began working as a journalist. Despite his relatively favored status under the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin, Bulgakov was prevented from either emigrating or visiting his brothers in the West.
In 1913 Bulgakov married Tatyana Lappa. In 1916, he graduated from the Medical School of Kiev University. In 1921, he moved with Tatyana to Moscow. Three years later, divorced from his first wife, he married Liubov' Belozerskaia. In 1932, Bulgakov married for the third time, to Elena Shilovskaia. During the last decade of his life, Bulgakov continued to work on The Master and Margarita, wrote plays, critical works, stories, and made several translations and dramatisations of novels. However, most of his works were consigned to his desk drawer for several decades. In 1938 he wrote a letter to Stalin requesting permission to emigrate, but he never received a reply.
Bulgakov died from an inherited kidney disorder in 1940 and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikha%EFl_Boulgakov [Oct 2004]
The Master and Margarita (1940|1966) - Mikhail Bulgakov
The Master and Margarita (1940|1966) - Mikhail Bulgakov [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
This uncensored translation of Bulgakov's posthumously published masterpiece of black magic and black humor restores its sliest digs and sharpest jabs at Stalin's regime, which suppressed it. Writing in a punning, soaring prose thick with contemporary historical references and political irony, Bulgakov (1891-1940) did not make things easy for future translators. The story itself is demanding: the arrival of the Devil and his entourage in Stalin's Moscow frames a Faustian tale of a suppressed... read more --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Book Description Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts-one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow-the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) and his retinue-including the vodka-drinking, black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; and a writer known only as The Master, and his passionate companion, Margarita-exist in a world that blends fantasy and chilling realism, an artful collage of grostesqueries, dark comedy, and timeless ethical questions.
Although completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was not published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine Moskva. It was an immediate and enduring success: Audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom. This new translation has been created from the complete and unabridged Russian texts. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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