The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Second 7 weeks)
S 2018


Woland (the devil) and his minions have arrived in Soviet Moscow in the 1930s.  And the city and its denizens will never be the same.  Mikhail Bulgakov's (1891-1940) brilliant satire takes the form of a novel within a novel.  The exterior novel is a refashioning of the Faust/Mephistopheles legend; the interior novel is a reworking of the Jesus/Pontius Pilate story.  The two are brilliantly intertwined to  dramatize the fate of artists living under oppressive regimes.  But the book contains much more than that – it poses a number of interesting philosophical and cosmological questions about reality, faith, love, truth, the supernatural, and the power of ideas and prejudices.  It is one of the greatest novels, in any language, written during the twentieth century.  For obvious reasons, it was not published during Bulgakov's lifetime.  An incomplete version of the manuscript was published in English translation in 1967 and more complete translated versions in 1973 and 1989.  There are six translations currently available.  We will use the one by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O’Connor (Vintage International).

Weekly Topics

Weeks 1-7:  The Master and Margarita


Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita, translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor (Vintage International)