Master & the Margarita

Lit & Language Soul Party

By Mikhail Bulgakov
Translation: D. Burgin & K. O'Connor
*Ukrainian/Russian, 1966
Philosophy, Fantastic, Farce, Magical Realism, Satire, Contemporary

Main Attractions

Mikhail Bulgakov
1. Faustian Themes!
2. Talking Black Cat
3. Most Weird Events  Ever!
4. Easy to Become Disorientated
5. Brilliant Humour Everywhere
6. Outlandish Events & Logic
7. Masterpiece of Satire
8. Political Themes
9. Historical & Literary References
10. Retelling of Faust & Jesus’ Trial

There are lots of artists’ paintings inspired by this book.  So, I’ll include their renditions instead of the usual Pexels that I use for all my postcards & videos.  I’ll try to include links to the original artists’ paintings.  Any original artists, if you want to have your work credited differently or removed, please send me an email.

This vid to tie you over ^.^ It's music from the movie adaptation.

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Dessert Bar
It shares the twisted-hard-to-follow qualities of Kafka.  The complex undertones are weaved in so deeply it’s hard to follow only one.  But, if you read it with a light snack approach, it’s a wild party where no one knows what’s happening!  But, everyone’s having a great time!     

Why Visit Here

The plot’s so unusual and twisted in a comedic fashion, there’s something for everyone! Truly.  It’s over-the-top wacky so Alice in Wonderland or Addams Family fans can join in.  Or 1984 political experts or even hilltop apocalyptics can analyze the complex political themes.   Fans of Ulysses’ wordplay and riddles can roll around in the sheer poetic linkages of Bulgakov’s masterpiece.  Crime & Punishment or War & Piece, this book has it all for Russian Lit fans & experts.

Destination Summary

Animation Summary with spoilers, but doesn’t include the conclusion spoiler.

Off the Beaten Path

Patti Smith talks about The Master & Margarita (and a bit on modern tech)
No spoilers, she loves the book too!

Travel Advisory

Comical nudity, bawdy jokes and some violent scenes.  But nothing above a PG-13 rating.  Think it as Harry Potter if J.K Rowling drank a lot of wine!

Packing List
✓ Sense of Literary Abandon
✓ Cheshire Cat Poster
✓ Highlighter and Google 
✓ Detective’s Hat

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
Faust Part 1 & 2 By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1808) - Partly inspired Master & Margarita
✓ Petersburg By Andrei Bely (1913) - Plot leads up to the Revolution of 1905, has similar language play as Ulysses by James Joyce.  
✓ The Librarian By Mikhail Elizarov (2014) - Also a Ukrainian writer, a satire about Soviet Propaganda.   It has the book themes of Master & Margarita and seems strongly influenced by it.
1984 By George Orwell (1949) - A more familiar story, also propaganda theme heavy but with a more straightforward, bleak plot.

**Alternate Music
✓ Faust Opera By Charles Gounod (1808) - Also partly inspired Master & Margarita

Movie Adaptations
✓ Master & the Margarita (2005) Directed by Vladimir Bortko - Mini series from Russia, closest to the book and is entertaining.
✓ There’s lots of others out there! I’m sure they are all good ^.^

**These websites are devoted to all things Master & Margarita.
This link explains the musical influence for Bulgakov

A must see Link, it's like a 'cliff notes'

Translation Game:

This link gives samples of various translations

2 Blog Posts which compare translations:

*2 Articles of Interest
“The Battle for Bulgakov’s Nationality” By Kelly Nestruck
The Guardian

“Bulgakov is Once Again Our Guide to Ukraine” By Misha Glenny
Financial Times Article