A 50th-anniversary Deluxe Edition of the incomparable 20th-century masterpiece of satire and fantasy, in a newly revised version of the acclaimed Pevear and Volokhonsky translation
Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere.
This newly revised translation, by the award-winning team of Pevear and Volokhonsky, is made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Mikhail Bulgakov (1891–1940) was a doctor, a novelist, a playwright, a short-story writer, and the assistant director of the Moscow Arts Theater. His body of work includes The White Guard, The Fatal Eggs, Heart of a Dog, and his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, published more than twenty-five years after his death and cited as an inspiration for Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (translators) have translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, and Pasternak. They were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize, for their translations of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Pevear, a native of Boston, and Volokhonsky, of St. Petersburg, are married and live in Paris.
Boris Fishman (foreword) is the author of two novels, A Replacement Life, which was one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2014 and won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal, and Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Fishman has taught at Princeton University and New York University. Born in Minsk, Belarus, he moved to the United States at age nine and now lives in New York.
Christopher Conn Askew (cover illustrator) is a painter and tattoo artist whose illustrations have appeared on the covers of books, albums, and magazines. He lives in Los Angeles.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An absolut masterpiece. Wonderful, magical novel with powerful timeless questions about life, good and evil, purpose, death and whatever is next.
In spite of my many years of experience as a reader of a wide variety of literature—from YA novels to Shakespeare and lots of stuff in between—I am a newcomer to magical realism. So new, in fact, that I had no clue there was such a thing as Russian magical realism, which apparently predates Latin American magical realism, the better-known type. I suspect that my lack of familiarity with the genre, compounded by my very limited knowledge of Russian history and literature, made this novel a rather tough task for me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it but obviously not as much as I would have had I the proper prior knowledge. The novel defies summary. Woland (Satan) visits Moscow in the 1930s. He brings with him three henchman (one in the form of an oversized feline named Behemoth). A series of episodic adventures ensues—there is an “accidental” beheading, a theatrical séance, literary skullduggery, trips to asylums, multiple disappearances, lots of minor characters, and only a vague sense of plot coherence. And the titular duo do not become prominent in the story until the second half of the novel. Oh, there’s also a book-within-the-book: a narrative account of Pontius Pilate’s ruling on Christ’s execution. Yes, the narrative’s loose structure and multiple plot strands make it a challenge to follow. But Bulghakov’s humor is bitingly charming. I cannot even attempt to explain what the novel is about—that would require research and conversation with others who’ve read the book, neither of which I was fortunate enough to enjoy as I read it. These constraints limited the pleasure I derived from the novel, and I’m sure there’s more “there” in this confoundingly delightful book than I was able to identify. If you’re up for a challenge, you could do worse than The Master & Margarita.
One of my favorite books, recommended by one of my sons years ago, and purchased this time for my other son.
Amazing book, trust me