Classic Satire from the Soviet Era

It is difficult to spend time in Russia without thinking back to the Soviet Union.  After all, it was not that long ago that the decision was made to dissolve it at the Belovezh Forest meeting in December 1991.

One of the classic satirical novels of Soviet literature is  Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

Mikhail Bulgakov Photo: Wikimedia Commons. This work was in the public domain in Russia according to Law No. 5351-I of Russia of July 9, 1993 (with revisions) on Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights

Mikhail Bulgakov Photo: Wikimedia Commons. This work was in the public domain in Russia according to Law No. 5351-I of Russia of July 9, 1993 (with revisions) on Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights

Copies of it made the rounds in intellectual and dissident circles despite the best efforts of the government to suppress it. Bulgakov’s play, The Days of the Turbins offered a sympathetic view of the erstwhile Russian monarchy, which also displeased officials.  Bulgakov’s request to emigrate was denied personally by Stalin in a telephone call that must have shaken the writer.  Though much of his work was banned, Bulgakov was never imprisoned and died in Moscow in 1940.

As it happens, BU Professor Katherine T. O’ Connor published a translation of The Master and Margarita in 1995 (with Diana Burgin); Ardis Publishers, Dana Point, CA.

You can read The Master and Margarita free on Google Books, http://books.google.com. It is also available at the Mugar Library.

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