Discussing Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita

  • September 3, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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Written (in Russian) during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, and banned for ages, Bulgakov's book features Satan and a talking cat as two of its main characters, and is an early example of a metafictional novel, using surrealism and satire to subvert the growing conformism of Soviet society. Not simply an historical oddity, it is widely viewed as one of the greatest works of literature.

The book is available here: http://amzn.to/12LPoWA

There's much discussion online with regards to the 'best' translation - and pretty much no consensus. Research if you wish, but it's likely to be pot-luck which one you enjoy most!

There's one discussion here: http://orangeraisin.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/master-and-margarita-best-translation/

Feel free to post about your own favourite!

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  • Tiziana

    Always good to exchange opinions, hear unexpected interpretations and see new and old faces. By the way, I haven't met Woland here in Moscow yet, but I am planning a visit to the Patriarch's pond to check whether he might be around, you never know!

    1 · September 4, 2013

    • Tiziana

      Although the one I'm actually hoping to meet is of course Behemoth...

      1 · September 4, 2013

  • Mike S.

    A lively debate and all-round enjoyable evening.

    1 · September 4, 2013

  • Martina

    Sorry I just found out I won't be free on time today to attend.
    As a note, I found the Italian translation by Vera Drisdo for Einaudi publishing (one of the first ones I think) to read very well. I don't know if any other Italian speaker in the group had a chance to read this or another translation of the book. In case I'd be curious to hear back.
    I look forward to hearing about the evening anyway. Have a great discussion and see you next time!

    September 3, 2013

    • Martina

      Hi Tiziana, I think I assumed this one would be too challenging and took the easier reading option. ;-) Thanks for the update and the translation info! Really sorry to have missed what sounds like a really interesting discussion. See you soon!

      1 · September 4, 2013

    • Richard I.

      As I said to our non-native English speakers, excellent as their English is, if I was in a position to choose a translation from a language I couldn't read into another I could, I'd definitely opt for one in my mother tongue! Could also throw some interesting linguistic light on the book too, as good translations will...

      September 4, 2013

  • Sade s.

    Richard chairs the meet so effortlessly, stimulating lively debate. A good evening.

    2 · September 3, 2013

    • Richard I.

      *Blushes prettily* Thank you Sade! And you provide excellent points and opinions for us to chew over. More please!

      September 4, 2013

  • steve

    really interesting discussion which went on for a very long time. Excellent

    1 · September 4, 2013

    • Richard I.

      I trust you mean it went on for an enjoyably long time, Steve! ;) Glad you enjoyed, and good to see you for the first time - hope you'll make it along to another soon!

      September 4, 2013

  • Perle

    Gutted to have missed out - sounds as if good times were had.

    1 · September 3, 2013

  • Russell

    Fab, now cant wait for Behemoth the cat to turn up in Chiswick & twizzle his whiskers

    1 · September 3, 2013

  • Perle

    Sincerest apologies for the late notice but I am unwell today and won't be able to make it this evening

    September 3, 2013

    • Richard I.

      Sorry to hear that Perle, we'll miss you! See you at the next one, I hope!

      September 3, 2013

  • nickycast

    Would love to have come but the availability came up with too little notice. Enjoy. Looks to be a good discussion.

    August 30, 2013

    • Richard I.

      Absolutely understand, but we'll hopefully see you at another discussion soon!

      August 31, 2013

  • AR

    unfortunately too many things piled up to solved when I came back from holidays so I may not make it so I rather live my sit available, i will follow discussions on this book as its so interesting. Please keep me update!

    August 30, 2013

    • Richard I.

      We will, and sorry you can't make it this time.

      August 31, 2013

  • Cristina R

    Struggling with this. Sorry!

    August 27, 2013

    • Richard I.

      Sorry to hear that Cristina - hopefully see you at another discussion soon!

      August 31, 2013

  • Richard I.

    As I know that a number of our readers don't have English as a first language, if you know of any good translations from Russian to your own language, it'd be great to hear about them!

    August 3, 2013

  • Russell

    Doesn't say which translation it is but thoroughly enjoying re'reading' this one on my M4 commute http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B004FU28QU&qid=1375197631&sr=1-1

    July 30, 2013

  • AR

    Saw this at the Barbican last winter, absolutely loved the play and the creative way in which such a difficult work was brought to life. Still waiting to borrow a copy from my lovely friend Tania who took me to watch it, cant wait.

    1 · June 25, 2013

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