Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Bulgakov (review)

Ana Elsner's work and her poetic voice were influenced in part by Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov, a Russian playwright and novelist. This is her abbreviated review of Bulgakov's novel 'The Master and Margarita'.
'Мастер и Маргарита' - полифоничный роман Михаила Афанасьевича Булгакова, русский писатель и драматург (1891—1940), называемый иногда фантастическим.

An excerpt from the book:

" ... И плавится лед в вазочке, и глядят от соседнего стола чьи-то налитые кровью глаза, и страшно, страшно ... О боги! Яду мне, яду! ..."

" ... And the ice is melting in the bowl, and at the next table you see someone's bloodshot, bovine eyes, and you're afraid, afraid . . . Oh, gods, my gods, poison, bring me poison! ..."

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"Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov's complex satirical and phantasmagorical short stories, novels and dramas are psychological exposés, dealing with the correlation of humanity and power in the (former) Soviet societal reality. A prime example is Bulgakov's faustian novel, 'The Master and Margarita', which I want to bring to your attention. It is a veritable tornado of sensual impressions and an explosion of searing imagery.

Oddly enough, most every reader of twentieth century literature is familiar with the works of Russian writers Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Boris Pasternak, but very few have heard of, much less read, Bulgakov. 'The Master and Margarita' is decidedly one of my favorites.

Its 32 chapters read almost like individual short stories in and of themselves. No other writer has ever camouflaged acerbic political satire in such a luxurious cloak of fantasy. Three dense layers of narrative are masterfully interwoven so that you literally get three plots at once. I count this work as one of the greatest and most powerful novels of the 20th century.

Having read different translations, I prefer and recommend the one by Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O'Connor which provides interpretive footnotes.

It is beyond doubt that Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov has influenced my own work as a poet and writer,"

Ana Elsner

Bulgakov's signature


Click here for the original text

Click for a biography of novelist and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov

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Go to the screening room: Watch a clip of Master and Margarita, the Movie

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2 comments:

Rachel said...

Bulgakow, er gehört zu meinen Lieblingsautoren! Sein Meisterwerk habe ich schon 6 oder 7 mal gelesen.

Nun stöbere ich hier noch ein wenig, ja, es gefällt mir...

LG; Rachel

Ephesus said...

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