“A soaring, dazzling novel” (New York Times), the acclaimed, bestselling translation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s masterwork, an undisputed classic of Russian and world literature.
An audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita is recognized as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature. The novel’s vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author’s lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s. Its truths are so enduring that its language has become part of the common Russian speech.
One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer pilloried for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other is Margarita, who loves the Master so deeply that she is willing to literally go to hell for him.
What ensues is a novel of inexhaustible energy, humor, and philosophical depth, a work whose nuances splendidly emerge in Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O’Connor’s superb English translation, with an afterword and extensive commentary by Ellendea Proffer Teasley.
About the Author
Mikhail Bulgakov (1891–1940) was born and educated in Kiev, where he graduated as a doctor in 1916. He rapidly abandoned medicine to write some of the greatest Russian literature of this century. He died impoverished and blind in 1940, shortly after completing his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita.