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About the book
  • Published: 10 October 2007
  • ISBN: 9780140455465
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $19.99

The Master and Margarita (Vintage Classic Russians Series)




The devil comes to Moscow wearing a fancy suit. With his disorderly band of accomplices – including a demonic, gun-toting tomcat – he immediately begins to create havoc.

Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is a fiercely satirical fantasy that remained unpublished in its author's home country for over thirty years. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the acclaimed translators of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.
In Soviet Moscow, God is dead, but the devil - to say nothing of his retinue of demons, from a loudmouthed, gun-toting tomcat, to the fanged fallen angel Koroviev - is very much alive. As death and destruction spread through the city like wildfire, condemning Moscow's cultural elite to prison cells and body bags, only a madman, the Master, and Margarita, his beautiful, courageous lover, can hope to end the chaos. Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign and circulated in samizdat form for decades, when The Master and the Margarita was finally published it became an overnight literary phenomenon, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere.
This luminous translation from the complete and unabridged Russian text is accompanied by an introduction by Richard Pevear exploring the extraordinary circumstances of the novel's composition and publication, and how Bulgakov drew on carnivalesque folk traditions to create his ironic subversion of Soviet propaganda. This edition also contains a list of further reading and a note on the text.
After finishing high school, Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) entered the Medical School of Kiev University, graduating in 1916. He wrote about his experiences as a doctor in his early works Notes of a Young Country Doctor. His later works treated the subject of the artist and the tyrant under the guise of historical characters, but The Master and Margarita is generally considered his masterpiece.
If you enjoyed The Master and Margarita, you might like Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, also available in Penguin Classics.
'One of the great novels of the 20th century, a scary, darkly comic allegory'
Daily Telegraph

  • Pub date: 10 October 2007
  • ISBN: 9780140455465
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Mikhail Bulgakov

Mikhail Bulgakov (1891 - 1940) was born and educated in Kiev where he graduated as a doctor in 1916, but gave up the practice of medicine in 1920 to devote himself to literature. In 1925 he completed the satirical novella The Heart of a Dog, which remained unpublished in the Soviet Union until 1987. This was one of the many defeats he was to suffer at the hands of his censors. By 1930 Bulgakov had become so frustrated by the political atmosphere and the suppression of his works that he wrote to Stalin begging to be allowed to emigrate if he was not to be given the opportunity to make his living as a writer in the USSR. Stalin telephoned him personally and offered to arrange a job for him at the Moscow Arts Theatre instead. In 1938, a year before contracting a fatal illness, he completed his prose masterpiece, The Master and Margarita. He died in 1940. In 1966-7, thanks to the persistance of his widow, the novel made a first, incomplete, appearance in Moskva, and in 1973 appeared in full.

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