The master and Margarita is a novel in two parts of the Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov.

Bulgakov began in late 1928 to the novel to work. That can be inferred from the fact that he is the fourth chapter of his second version in May 1929 to Nedra Publishing House. He would continue to work until a few weeks before his death in 1940. [1]

The period in which Bulgakov wrote his novel is known as the time of the great purges in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. It was unthinkable that a work like this ever published should be legal. Bulgakov described that period in his journals, which appeared under the title in the Dutch Manuscripts do not burn[2], one of the key phrases from the master and Margarita[3.

The novel would be published for the first time-be in the heavily gecencureerd-monthly magazine Moskva in the songs of november 1966 and January 1967[4]. The 150,000 copies were sold out in just a few hours[5]. Even today, the master and Margarita is according to many Russians the best book ever written. Each year, the top of the verge[6.


[hide]*Genesis 1


[1]Front of the first typescript of the master and Margarita, 1938.

Bulgakov started to write the novel to 1928. He burned the first manuscript in 1930 because he saw no future for themselves as a writer in the Soviet Union[7]. In a letter to the Bulgakov asked Joseph Stalin on March 28, 1930 to go abroad or at least, as he put it, "to get a job in my specialty and to connect me to a theater in the function of Director"[8].

He took writing in 1931. In 1935 Bulgakov went to the Spaso House, the residence of the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, William Bullitt, and found his inspiration for one of the key chapters of the novel, the Satan's ball[9]. The second design was completed in 1936, in which all the major story lines of the final version were finished. There would be four other versions follow. Bulgakov stopped writing four weeks before his death in 1940, and dropped in the novel some unfinished sentences and loose ends behind.

A censored version, where about 12 percent of the text removed was changed even more, and was first published in the magazine Moskva (1966, no. 11, and 1967, no. 1)[10]

In the Soviet Union became the first full version published by Khudozhestvennaya Literatura in 1973. This version remained the canonical version until 1989, when the final version, based on all the available manuscripts, was finished by Lidiya Yanovskaya.

The story[Edit]Edit

Read warning: text below contains details about the content and/or the end of the story.

The novel consists of three through each other ongoing storylines: the story of Satan, here called Woland (Воланд), on visit in Moscow, the love story of the master and Margarita, and the story of Jesusand Pontius Pilate . All stories walk more or less together.

Satan on visit in Moscow[Edit]Edit

This part of the story takes place in the Moscow somewhere between 1930 and 1940. Stalin is in power, and there is widespread corruption. Religion is banned, and there is a lot of work done to show that Jesus never existed. In short, an ideal place for Satan to keep its spring ball, which traditionally held as the Walpurgis night coincides with Good Friday. To take advantage of the preparations for his ball Woland come personally to Moscow, is accompanied by his cronies bassoon (Фагот, a former "choir-master"), the black Stud Behemoth (Бегемот, Russian for hippopotamus), the killer Azazello (Азазелло), the pale Abaddon(Абадонна, Hebrew for destruction) and the witch Hella (Гелла). At the ball Woland has a guest and hostess needed, that woman should have as first name Margarita (a clear reference to the Goethe 's Faust).

Jesus and Pontius Pilate[Edit]Edit

[2]What is truth?; an important passage in the master and Margarita.Painting by Nikolai Ge.

The story of Jesus is different on important points from the Gospel, and it starts at the moment when Jesus is arrested and brought to Pilate . Jesus turns out to be just an ordinary man, with an extremely empathy, which is pursued by a bunch of religious fanatics who misinterpret and write down all his words. Because Jesus is able to somewhat relieve the headache of Pilate, he wins his confidence, and Pilate tries everything to the sentencing to death of Jesus. Unfortunately for him he succeeds, and he needs to go on living with his terrible headaches. The followers of Jesus decide to kill Judas and the reward he got at high priest Caiaphas to throw over the fence in his garden.



  • 1971: Polish Director Andrzej Wajda made the film Pilatus und andere-Ein Film für Karfreitag for the German television station ZDF. The film tells only the biblical story from the master and Margarita. [11[12]

See Pilatus und Andere (1972) for the main article on this topic.

  • 1972: the Serbian Director Aleksandar Petrović made the film Il Maestro e Margherita, an Italian-Yugoslav co-production. The film jumps rather light to with the novel. Thus, the master in the film the name Nikolai Afanashevich Maksoedov, while he was in the novel aware will remain nameless. [13[14]

See the master and Margarita (1972) for the main article on this topic.

  • 1991: The British Director Paul Bryers made the film Incident in Judea for the British television channel Channel 4. The film tells only the biblical story from the master and Margarita. Famous actors as John Woodvine, Mark Rylance, Lee Montague and Jim Carter granted their cooperation. [15[16]

See Incident in Judea (1991 film) for the main article on this topic.

  • 1994: the Russian Director Yuri Kara made the film Master i Margarita. Although there are many well-known Russian actors to co-operate (including Mikhail Ulyanov) and the soundtrack was composed by the famous Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, the movie onvertoond for 17 years. Until March 2011 the film premiered in the Russian cinemas. [17[18]

See the master and Margarita (1994) for the main article on this topic.

  • 1996: the Russian director Sergei Desnitsky and his wife, actress Vera Desnitskaja made the film Master i Margarita. Disappointed with the reactions of the Russian media, they decided, however, that the film never was allowed to be screened. [19]
  • 2005: the Hungarian Director Ibolya Fekete made a film of 26 minutes, entitled A Mester és Margarita. The film was made for the TV channel MTV Premier. [20[21]

See the master and Margarita (2005 TV series) for the main article on this topic.

  • 2008: Italian Director Giovanni Brancali made the film Il Maestro e Margherita. The film is not set in the Moscow of the 1930s, but in the contemporary Firenze. [22]
  • 2013: the American producer Scott Steindorff prepares the film for The Master and Margarita . There were already many names cited for possible directors and actors, especially in the Russian press, but the only certainty is the name of screenwriter Caroline Thompson (Addams FamilyEdward ScissorhandsBlack Beauty). [23]



See the master and Margarita (1990 TV series) for the main article on this topic.

  • 1989: The Russian theatre director Aleksandr Dzekun Master i Margarita edited his play for television. As the subtitle- chapters from the novel -the movie does not cover the whole novel. Only 21 chapters of it were processed in a mini series. [26]
  • 2005: the Russian Director Vladimir Bortko made Master i Margarita, a TV-series in ten episodes, including the actors Vladislav GalkinKirill Lavrov and Aleksandr Abdulov. It was the most successful TV series ever shown on Russian television. The soundtrack was composed by Igor Kornelyuk. [27[28]

Animated films[Edit]Edit

  • 2002: the French animators Clément Charmet and Elisabeth Klimoff made an animated film of the first chapter of the master and Margarita, based on the graphic novel by Jean-François Desserre. [29]
  • 2012: the Israeli Terentij Oslyabya made the animated film Master i Margarita, chapter 1. It is conceived as an animated audio book. [30[31]
  • 2012: The Russian maker of animated films Rinat Timerkaev started the work for making the feature film Master i Margarita. On his blog [32], he keeps his followers regularly informed about the progress. [33]

Many students from art education insprireerden on the master and Margarita to animated short films. A full list is available on the Master & Margarita website. [34]

Comics and graphic novels[Edit]Edit

  • 1997: the novel was first adapted as a graphic novel by the Russian comic artist Rodion Tanaev. [35]
  • 2002: the novel was adapted as a graphic novel by the French cartoonist Jean-François Desserre. [36]
  • 2005: the novel was adapted as a graphic novel by Askold Akishine and Misha Zaslavsky the Russian comic artists. [37]
  • 2008: the novel was adapted as a graphic novel by London resident comic artists Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal. [38]
  • 2013: the Austrian/French comics artist Bettina Egger told the story of Mikhail Bulgakov and the master and Margarita in the graphic novel Moscou endiablé, sur les traces de Maître et Marguerite. They interwove the story of the master and Margarita with the life story of Mikhail Bulgakov and with her own voyage of discovery to the sources of the novel in Moscow[39]


[9]Poster for a theatrical performance of the master and Margarita in Perm,Russia.

The master and Margarita was already by more than 500 theatre companies worldwide into a theater piece. A full list of all theater operations is available on the Master and Margarita website. [40]


A hundred composers, bands, singers and songwriters inspired on the master and Margarita in their work. Together they made there about 250 songs and music pieces over.

Rock 'n Roll[Edit]Edit

About 25 rock bands and artists, including The Rolling StonesPatti SmithFranz Ferdinand and Pearl Jam were inspired by the novel for and or more songs. A complete list of all the songs is available on the Master and Margarita website. [41]

Pop Music[Edit]Edit

About 15 popular bands and artists, including Igor Nikolayev, Valery Lakshmi, Zsuzsa Koncz, Larisa Dolina and Linda were inspired by the novel for one or more numbers. The song Margarita by Valery Lakshmi was used to create the very first Russian video clip in 1989. A full list of all the songs is available on the Master and Margarita website. [42]

Russian bards[Edit]Edit

A lot of Russian bards, including Alexander Rosenbaum, were inspired by the novel for one or more numbers. Together they made more than 200 songs about themes or characters from the master and Margarita. A complete list of all the songs is available on the Master and Margarita website. [43]

Classical music[Edit]Edit

A dozen classical composers, including Dmitri Smirnov and Andrey Petrov were inspired by the novel there symphonies or musical fantasies about it. A full list of all works is available on the Master and Margaritawebsite. [44]

Opera, musical[Edit]Edit

About 15 composers, including Alexander Gradsky and York Höller, Sergei Slonimsky made operas and musicals about the master and Margarita. A full list of all composers is available on the Master and Margaritawebsite. [45]


Three composers, Ennio MorriconeAlfred Schnittke and Igor Kornelyuk made soundtracks for films about The Master and Margarita. [46]

Other music genres[Edit]Edit

Five alternative composers and performers, including Simon Nabatov, were inspired by the novel for various projects. A full list of all the artists is available on the Master and Margarita website. [47]


  • Bulgakov, Mikhailthe master and Margarita, Oorschot, Amsterdam Publishing House, 1997. ISBN 9028209808
  • Curtis, JulieManuscripts do not burn. Mikhail Bulgakov: a life in letters and journals, publishing house Amber, Amsterdam, 1992. ISBN 9050931642
  • Lyubimov, YuriMikhail Bulgakov. The master and Margarita, stage adaptation, publishing house Scriptio, Deventer, 2008. ISBN 9789087730123
  • W, Emmanuelthe master and Margarita. A key to the novel. Benerus Publishing House, Antwerp. 2007. ISBN 9789080636361

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