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Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is a fiercely satirical fantasy that remained unpublished in its author's home country for over thirty years. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the acclaimed translators of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. In Soviet Moscow, God is dead, but the devil - to say thing 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 phemen, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. This lumius translation from the complete and unabridged Russian text is accompanied by an introduction by Richard Pevear exploring the extraordinary circumstances of the vel's composition and publication, and how Bulgakov drew on carnivalesque folk traditions to create his ironic subversion of Soviet propaganda. This edition also contains a list of further reading and a te on the text. After finishing high school, Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) entered the Medical School of Kiev University, graduating in 1916. He wrote about his experiences as a doctor in his early works Notes of a Young Country Doctor. His later works treated the subject of the artist and the tyrant under the guise of historical characters, but The Master and Margarita is generally considered his masterpiece. If you enjoyed The Master and Margarita, you might like Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, also available in Penguin Classics. 'One of the great vels of the 20th century, a scary, darkly comic allegory' Daily Telegraph
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.