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The Master and Margarita
December 14, 2003 12:54 AM   Subscribe

The Master and Margarita. A hypertext exploration of the subversive Stalin-era fantasy, with maps and illustrations. A background to Bulgakov's life is here.
posted by plep (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very good - although lean and to the point, there's a certain agreeable quirkiness. I wish I had something like this when I read it. It really needs it. The "timelines" give it a cinematic dimension too. Thanks, plep!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:08 AM on December 14, 2003


Most useful, thanks. The master And Margarita is a wonderful book and should be read by all.
posted by nedrichards at 4:21 AM on December 14, 2003


Excellent post, plep. Point of trivia: Mick Jagger claims that he was inspired to write "Sympathy for the Devil" after Marianne Faithful gave him a copy of this book.
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:05 AM on December 14, 2003


wow. One of the first text sections I went to was this, from "Heart of a Dog" which I can remember so vividly now that I see it, and which actually created one of the strongest soviet-related images in my mental gallery - but, to be honest, I read the book so long ago that I hardy remember reading it at all. I think it's time to re-acquire it, and TMAM.

Also, the illustrations section is great, but I'm so spoiled. - the absence of a thumbnail page just wrecks me.
posted by taz at 7:30 AM on December 14, 2003


Amazing novel, excellent link.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2003


Thanks, plep. I actually picked up a copy to re-read two weeks ago and have once again been laughing out loud at Satan's adventures in Stalinist bureaucracy. It's such a funny book. And Bulgakov is one of my literary heroes; the courage and persistence he showed in the face of constant censorship is inspirational. It's amazing that at one point in 1928 he had three successful plays being performed simultaneously in Moscow, all of which were soon banned.

To be honest, while I like the site's illustrations and themes sections, I'm a bit disappointed in the biographical info; it skims over, for instance, the details of Bulgakov's famous letter to Stalin (a letter translator Mirra Ginsburg called "long and courageous"). In the edition I have, Ginsburg's introduction paints a much more interesting picture of Bulgakov in just a few more pages. My favorite part:

Reduced to dramatizing the works of others...confined to frustrating work that robbed him of time and energy, and living much of the time in poverty and despair, he nevertheless refused to be broken. With remarkable moral courage, he persisted with his own writing, working at night. His sharp satirical eye, his comic gift, his extraordinary reserves of creative drive never abandoned him...

The hounding, the unremitting attacks, the humiliations and disappointments took their toll. Yet, without hope of publication, often ill and suffering from nervous exhaustion, Bulgakov returned again and again to his great work, The Master and Margarita, endlessly developing his ideas, changing the plot lines and characters, adding, deleting, revising, condensing, and refining...Bulgakov worked on the novel from 1928 to his death in 1940, continuing even in his final illness to dictate revisions to his wife.


What a book. What a guy.
posted by mediareport at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2003


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