Author(s): Mikhail Bulgakov
'Manuscripts don't burn'
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.
One of the truly great Russian novels of [the twentieth] century. NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW The book is by turns hilarious, mysterious, contemplative, and poignant . . . A great work. CHICAGO TRIBUNE Bulgakov s The Master and Margarita is a soaring, dazzling novel; an extraordinary fusion of wildly disparate elements. It is a concerto played simultaneously on the organ, the bagpipes, and a pennywhistle, while someone sets off fireworks between the players feet. NEW YORK TIMES Fine, funny, imaginative . . . The Master and Margarita stands squarely in the great Gogolesque tradition of satiric narrative. NEWSWEEK A wild surrealistic romp . . . Brilliantly flamboyant and outrageous. Joyce Carol Oates Sparkling, enchanting, funny, deeply serious and sometimes baffling . . . [The Master and Margarita is] a liberating, exuberant social and political satire combined with a profound moral and political allegory . . . A bravura performance of truly heroic virtuosity, a carnival of the imagination. from the Introduction by Simon Franklin"
Mikhail Bulgakov was born in Kiev in May 1891. His sympathetic portrayal of White characters in his stories, in the plays The Days of the Turbins (The White Guard), which enjoyed great success at the Moscow Arts Theatre in 1926, and Flight (1927), and his satirical treatment of the officials of the New Economic Plan, led to growing criticism, which became violent after the play The Purple Island. He also wrote a brilliant biography of his literary hero, Jean-Baptiste Moliere, but The Master and Margarita is generally considered his masterpiece. Fame, at home and abroad, was not to come until a quarter of a century after his death at Moscow in 1940.