The Master and Margarita – M. Bulgakov

(from the back cover) Bookmark Fritillaries by Vincent Van Gogh (1887)

Bulgakov M. (1966), The Master and Margarita, Athens: Themelio
Translated from Russian to Greek by Tina Karageorgi and Yuri Giannakopoulos

Satan with a retinue that includes three demons, a vampiress and a black anthropomorphous cat, visit Moscow and wreak havoc on the inside of a prominent literary elite and, in every instance, on the rest of the city residents.

What makes Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” (Мастер и Маргарита) special is that it can be read in multiple ways. Reading most of the literary approaches one can easily see how much they tend to focus on interpreting the symbols hidden behind the writer’s characters, a mainly historical (over the Soviet Russia’s political leadership) and religious research. Undoubtedly the historical context in which an artwork is born is crucial for its creator but still, in this particular novel, deciphering its symbolisms will not be necessary for the recognition of its value.

Human greed, the pomposity of those who bear (fairly or not) the title of an artist, the absurd governmental bureaucracy that fosters censorship and the universal notions of good and evil or of love and cowardice do not demand a deeper socio-political understanding, but the experienced human identity. Perhaps the only condition that there is concerns the readers’ willingness to sink into an amalgam of imaginary and realistic elements, as it suits a work of magical realism.

* Translation of the back cover:
Full of powerful composition, provocative imagination and satirical pertinence, this novel by Mikhail Bulgakov is developed in three phases: the historical-psychological, with Pontius Pilate in the eye of attention -a Human who cannot find the mental strength to act in accordance with his consciousness; the satirical, focusing on the untalented, opportunistic and upstart artists from the literary and so-called artistic environment in Stalin’s Moscow; and the lyrical-dramatic, with the shockingly fiery love of the Master and Margarita.


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