Senior Project Advisor

Vajda, Edward J.

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2005


The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov, Allegory


The Master and Margarita is a strange, dense work. Oddly enough, I first read it years ago in the seventh grade; I was the unwitting victim of a family friend who thought he’d quiet my clamor for a good book with Bulgakov’s novel. I loved it. It was a much longer read then, and I remember a keen sense of wanting the novel to continue in perpetuity; it was so unlike anything I had ever read. At the time I was completely absorbed in fantasy literature of the knights-and-dragons type, and The Master and Margarita caught hold of my interest with particular force because it combined elements of fantasy with a real-world setting. I understood the novel on a superficial level (which is enough to justify reading it), and was completely unaware of anti-Soviet satire or other historical references. My knowledge of Soviet History was practically non-existent. Being raised outside of any organized religion, the chapters set in Old Jerusalem were a curiosity to me, and because Bulgakov purposefully employs alternate transliterations the names of Christ, Judas, etc., I was hardly aware that I was reading his rendering of the crucifixion, and even if I had been, I would not have been able to make a mental comparison with the biblical account. I had not the faintest idea who Pontius Pilate was. That the author was making a deeper, more serious point, escaped me, but I had an intense appreciation for the narrator’s ironic and sarcastic tone, and even as a seventh- grader I could appreciate a band of characters wreaking havoc among bureaucrats.



Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Bulgakov, Mikhail, 1891-1940--Political and social views; Bulgakov, Mikhail, 1891-1940. Master i Margarita


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