The Devil Comes to Moscow

The Master and Margarita is a complex and multi-level novel. The city of Moscow is made unsafe by professor Woland and his henchmen. These suspects prove to be of diabolic origin and make the life difficult of the artists, civil servants and others who are walking along with the regime. In a very contagious manner the reader becomes withness of decapitations, arson, black magic, abductions, counterfeiting of currency and self-satisfied people who are litterally put in the nude... no lack of phantasy. Margarita is not afraid of the satanic company. She calls on the devil, flies on her broom through Moscow as an experienced witch, in search of her disappeared lover, the master. He stays in a psychiatric institution. He had written a book on Pontius Pilate, with a completely new variant of Jesus' trial. But the manuscript was rejected by law-abiding editors and in the press appeared ominous articles about the novel while it was never published. As a result, the master collapsed totally, and he even burned his manuscript. But it shows up again because.. Рукописи не горят [Rukopisi ne goryat] or manuscripts don't burn...

The punitive expedition of the devil throughout Moscow, Margarita's search for her lover and excerpts from the master's novel about Pontius Pilate are the most important materials for The Master and Margarita. The book is not only a funny and sometimes caustic criticism on the soviet society between 1920 and 1940, but also a touching love story. And the devil, after all, does not at all appear a bad chap. The book shows the large creative phantasy of Mikhail Bulgakov. His work is part of a Russian tradition of satire that started with Nikolay Gogol and continued with authors as Mikhail Zoshchenko, and the literary twins Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov.

Click on the menu icon on the right to read more about the genesis of the novel and its themes, style and form. In the section Annotations of this chapter you will find, for each chapter of the novel, all explanations of the characters, the locations and the situations which Bulgakov describes, with links to his sources, quotations and much more.