Sie sind auf Seite 1von 117

THE WASTE LAND

"Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo."

I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 10 And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch. And when we were children, staying at the archduke's, My cousin's, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened. He said, Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free. I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 20 You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Only There is shadow under this red rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 30 Frisch weht der Wind Der Heimat zu Mein Irisch Kind, Wo weilest du? "You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

"They called me the hyacinth girl." - Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 40 Looking into the heart of light, the silence. Od' und leer das Meer. Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, Had a bad cold, nevertheless Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she, Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!) Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, The lady of situations. 50 Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel, And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring. Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone, Tell her I bring the horoscope myself: One must be so careful these days. Unreal City, 60 Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many. Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, And each man fixed his eyes before his feet. Flowed up the hill and down King William Street, To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine. There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying "Stetson! "You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70 "That corpse you planted last year in your garden, "Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? "Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? Line 42 Od'] Oed' - Editor. "Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men, "Or with his nails he'll dig it up again! "You! hypocrite lecteur! - mon semblable, - mon frere!" II. A GAME OF CHESS

The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, Glowed on the marble, where the glass Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 80 (Another hid his eyes behind his wing) Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra Reflecting light upon the table as The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it, From satin cases poured in rich profusion; In vials of ivory and coloured glass Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes, Unguent, powdered, or liquid - troubled, confused And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air That freshened from the window, these ascended 90 In fattening the prolonged candle-flames, Flung their smoke into the laquearia, Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling. Huge sea-wood fed with copper Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone, In which sad light a carved dolphin swam. Above the antique mantel was displayed As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 100 Filled all the desert with inviolable voice And still she cried, and still the world pursues, "Jug Jug" to dirty ears. And other withered stumps of time Were told upon the walls; staring forms Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed. Footsteps shuffled on the stair. Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair Spread out in fiery points Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 110 "My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me. "Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak. "What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? "I never know what you are thinking. Think." I think we are in rats' alley Where the dead men lost their bones. "What is that noise?" The wind under the door. "What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?" Nothing again nothing. 120

"Do "You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember "Nothing?" I remember Those are pearls that were his eyes. "Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?" But O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag It's so elegant So intelligent 130 "What shall I do now? What shall I do?" I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street "With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow? "What shall we ever do?" The hot water at ten. And if it rains, a closed car at four. And we shall play a game of chess, Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door. When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself, 140 HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart. He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there. You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set, He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you. And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert, He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time, And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said. Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said. 150 Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look. HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said. Others can pick and choose if you can't. But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling. You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique. (And her only thirty-one.) I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face, It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said. (She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.) 160 The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the same. You are a proper fool, I said. Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said, What you get married for if you don't want children? HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,

And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 170 Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night. III. THE FIRE SERMON The river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed. And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; 180 Departed, have left no addresses. Line 161 ALRIGHT. This spelling occurs also in the Hogarth Press edition - Editor. By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . . Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song, Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long. But at my back in a cold blast I hear The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear. A rat crept softly through the vegetation Dragging its slimy belly on the bank While I was fishing in the dull canal On a winter evening round behind the gashouse 190 Musing upon the king my brother's wreck And on the king my father's death before him. White bodies naked on the low damp ground And bones cast in a little low dry garret, Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year. But at my back from time to time I hear The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring. O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter And on her daughter 200 They wash their feet in soda water Et O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole! Twit twit twit Jug jug jug jug jug jug So rudely forc'd. Tereu

Unreal City Under the brown fog of a winter noon Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants 210 C.i.f. London: documents at sight, Asked me in demotic French To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel Followed by a weekend at the Metropole. At the violet hour, when the eyes and back Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits Like a taxi throbbing waiting, I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives, Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives 220 Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea, The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights Her stove, and lays out food in tins. Out of the window perilously spread Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays, On the divan are piled (at night her bed) Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays. I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest I too awaited the expected guest. 230 He, the young man carbuncular, arrives, A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare, One of the low on whom assurance sits As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire. The time is now propitious, as he guesses, The meal is ended, she is bored and tired, Endeavours to engage her in caresses Which still are unreproved, if undesired. Flushed and decided, he assaults at once; Exploring hands encounter no defence; 240 His vanity requires no response, And makes a welcome of indifference. (And I Tiresias have foresuffered all Enacted on this same divan or bed; I who have sat by Thebes below the wall And walked among the lowest of the dead.) Bestows one final patronising kiss, And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit . . . She turns and looks a moment in the glass, Hardly aware of her departed lover; 250 Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:

"Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over." When lovely woman stoops to folly and Paces about her room again, alone, She smoothes her hair with automatic hand, And puts a record on the gramophone. "This music crept by me upon the waters" And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street. O City city, I can sometimes hear Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, 260 The pleasant whining of a mandoline And a clatter and a chatter from within Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls Of Magnus Martyr hold Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold. The river sweats Oil and tar The barges drift With the turning tide Red sails 270 Wide To leeward, swing on the heavy spar. The barges wash Drifting logs Down Greenwich reach Past the Isle of Dogs. Weialala leia Wallala leialala Elizabeth and Leicester Beating oars 280 The stern was formed A gilded shell Red and gold The brisk swell Rippled both shores Southwest wind Carried down stream The peal of bells White towers Weialala leia 290 Wallala leialala "Trams and dusty trees. Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe."

"My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart Under my feet. After the event He wept. He promised 'a new start'. I made no comment. What should I resent?" "On Margate Sands. 300 I can connect Nothing with nothing. The broken fingernails of dirty hands. My people humble people who expect Nothing." la la To Carthage then I came Burning burning burning burning O Lord Thou pluckest me out O Lord Thou pluckest 310 burning IV. DEATH BY WATER Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell And the profit and loss. A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell He passed the stages of his age and youth Entering the whirlpool. Gentile or Jew O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, 320 Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you. V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID After the torchlight red on sweaty faces After the frosty silence in the gardens After the agony in stony places The shouting and the crying Prison and palace and reverberation Of thunder of spring over distant mountains He who was living is now dead We who were living are now dying With a little patience 330 Here is no water but only rock Rock and no water and the sandy road

The road winding above among the mountains Which are mountains of rock without water If there were water we should stop and drink Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand If there were only water amongst the rock Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340 There is not even silence in the mountains But dry sterile thunder without rain There is not even solitude in the mountains But red sullen faces sneer and snarl From doors of mudcracked houses If there were water And no rock If there were rock And also water And water 350 A spring A pool among the rock If there were the sound of water only Not the cicada And dry grass singing But sound of water over a rock Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop But there is no water Who is the third who walks always beside you? 360 When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or a woman - But who is that on the other side of you? What is that sound high in the air Murmur of maternal lamentation Who are those hooded hordes swarming Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth 370 Ringed by the flat horizon only What is the city over the mountains Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria Vienna London Unreal

A woman drew her long black hair out tight And fiddled whisper music on those strings And bats with baby faces in the violet light 380 Whistled, and beat their wings And crawled head downward down a blackened wall And upside down in air were towers Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells. In this decayed hole among the mountains In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home. It has no windows, and the door swings, 390 Dry bones can harm no one. Only a cock stood on the rooftree Co co rico co co rico In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust Bringing rain Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves Waited for rain, while the black clouds Gathered far distant, over Himavant. The jungle crouched, humped in silence. Then spoke the thunder 400 DA Datta: what have we given? My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment's surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed Which is not to be found in our obituaries Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor In our empty rooms 410 DA Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in his prison Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus DA Damyata: The boat responded Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar 420 The sea was calm, your heart would have responded Gaily, when invited, beating obedient To controlling hands

I sat upon the shore Fishing, with the arid plain behind me Shall I at least set my lands in order? London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina Quando fiam ceu chelidon - O swallow swallow Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie 430 These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih Line 416 aetherial] aethereal Line 429 ceu] uti - Editor

NOTES ON "THE WASTE LAND" Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston's book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Macmillan).<1> Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, Miss Weston's book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble. To another work of anthropology I am indebted in general, one which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough; I have used especially the two volumes Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Anyone who is acquainted with these works will immediately recognise in the poem certain references to vegetation ceremonies. <1> Macmillan] Cambridge.

I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD Line 20. Cf. Ezekiel 2:1. 23. Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:5. 31. V. Tristan und Isolde, i, verses 5-8. 42. Id. iii, verse 24. 46. I am not familiar with the exact constitution of the Tarot pack of cards, from which I have obviously departed to suit my own convenience.

The Hanged Man, a member of the traditional pack, fits my purpose in two ways: because he is associated in my mind with the Hanged God of Frazer, and because I associate him with the hooded figure in the passage of the disciples to Emmaus in Part V. The Phoenician Sailor and the Merchant appear later; also the "crowds of people," and Death by Water is executed in Part IV. The Man with Three Staves (an authentic member of the Tarot pack) I associate, quite arbitrarily, with the Fisher King himself. 60. Cf. Baudelaire: "Fourmillante cite;, cite; pleine de reves, Ou le spectre en plein jour raccroche le passant." 63. Cf. Inferno, iii. 55-7. "si lunga tratta di gente, ch'io non avrei mai creduto che morte tanta n'avesse disfatta." 64. Cf. Inferno, iv. 25-7: "Quivi, secondo che per ascoltare, "non avea pianto, ma' che di sospiri, "che l'aura eterna facevan tremare." 68. A phenomenon which I have often noticed. 74. Cf. the Dirge in Webster's White Devil . 76. V. Baudelaire, Preface to Fleurs du Mal. II. A GAME OF CHESS 77. Cf. Antony and Cleopatra, II. ii., l. 190. 92. Laquearia. V. Aeneid, I. 726: dependent lychni laquearibus aureis incensi, et noctem flammis funalia vincunt. 98. Sylvan scene. V. Milton, Paradise Lost, iv. 140. 99. V. Ovid, Metamorphoses, vi, Philomela. 100. Cf. Part III, l. 204. 115. Cf. Part III, l. 195.

118. Cf. Webster: "Is the wind in that door still?" 126. Cf. Part I, l. 37, 48. 138. Cf. the game of chess in Middleton's Women beware Women. III. THE FIRE SERMON 176. V. Spenser, Prothalamion. 192. Cf. The Tempest, I. ii. 196. Cf. Marvell, To His Coy Mistress. 197. Cf. Day, Parliament of Bees: "When of the sudden, listening, you shall hear, "A noise of horns and hunting, which shall bring "Actaeon to Diana in the spring, "Where all shall see her naked skin . . ." 199. I do not know the origin of the ballad from which these lines are taken: it was reported to me from Sydney, Australia. 202. V. Verlaine, Parsifal. 210. The currants were quoted at a price "carriage and insurance free to London"; and the Bill of Lading etc. were to be handed to the buyer upon payment of the sight draft. Notes 196 and 197 were transposed in this and the Hogarth Press edition, but have been corrected here. 210. "Carriage and insurance free"] "cost, insurance and freight"-Editor. 218. Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a "character," is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem. The whole passage from Ovid is of great anthropological interest: '. . . Cum Iunone iocos et maior vestra profecto est Quam, quae contingit maribus,' dixisse, 'voluptas.' Illa negat; placuit quae sit sententia docti

Quaerere Tiresiae: venus huic erat utraque nota. Nam duo magnorum viridi coeuntia silva Corpora serpentum baculi violaverat ictu Deque viro factus, mirabile, femina septem Egerat autumnos; octavo rursus eosdem Vidit et 'est vestrae si tanta potentia plagae,' Dixit 'ut auctoris sortem in contraria mutet, Nunc quoque vos feriam!' percussis anguibus isdem Forma prior rediit genetivaque venit imago. Arbiter hic igitur sumptus de lite iocosa Dicta Iovis firmat; gravius Saturnia iusto Nec pro materia fertur doluisse suique Iudicis aeterna damnavit lumina nocte, At pater omnipotens (neque enim licet inrita cuiquam Facta dei fecisse deo) pro lumine adempto Scire futura dedit poenamque levavit honore. 221. This may not appear as exact as Sappho's lines, but I had in mind the "longshore" or "dory" fisherman, who returns at nightfall. 253. V. Goldsmith, the song in The Vicar of Wakefield. 257. V. The Tempest, as above. 264. The interior of St. Magnus Martyr is to my mind one of the finest among Wren's interiors. See The Proposed Demolition of Nineteen City Churches (P. S. King & Son, Ltd.). 266. The Song of the (three) Thames-daughters begins here. From line 292 to 306 inclusive they speak in turn. V. Gutterdsammerung, III. i: the Rhine-daughters. 279. V. Froude, Elizabeth, Vol. I, ch. iv, letter of De Quadra to Philip of Spain: "In the afternoon we were in a barge, watching the games on the river. (The queen) was alone with Lord Robert and myself on the poop, when they began to talk nonsense, and went so far that Lord Robert at last said, as I was on the spot there was no reason why they should not be married if the queen pleased." 293. Cf. Purgatorio, v. 133: "Ricorditi di me, che son la Pia; Siena mi fe', disfecemi Maremma." 307. V. St. Augustine's Confessions: "to Carthage then I came, where a cauldron of unholy loves sang all about mine ears."

308. The complete text of the Buddha's Fire Sermon (which corresponds in importance to the Sermon on the Mount) from which these words are taken, will be found translated in the late Henry Clarke Warren's Buddhism in Translation (Harvard Oriental Series). Mr. Warren was one of the great pioneers of Buddhist studies in the Occident. 309. From St. Augustine's Confessions again. The collocation of these two representatives of eastern and western asceticism, as the culmination of this part of the poem, is not an accident. V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID In the first part of Part V three themes are employed: the journey to Emmaus, the approach to the Chapel Perilous (see Miss Weston's book) and the present decay of eastern Europe. 357. This is Turdus aonalaschkae pallasii, the hermit-thrush which I have heard in Quebec County. Chapman says (Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America) "it is most at home in secluded woodland and thickety retreats. . . . Its notes are not remarkable for variety or volume, but in purity and sweetness of tone and exquisite modulation they are unequalled." Its "water-dripping song" is justly celebrated. 360. The following lines were stimulated by the account of one of the Antarctic expeditions (I forget which, but I think one of Shackleton's): it was related that the party of explorers, at the extremity of their strength, had the constant delusion that there was one more member than could actually be counted. 367-77. Cf. Hermann Hesse, Blick ins Chaos: "Schon ist halb Europa, schon ist zumindest der halbe Osten Europas auf dem Wege zum Chaos, fhrt betrunken im heiligem Wahn am Abgrund entlang und singt dazu, singt betrunken und hymnisch wie Dmitri Karamasoff sang. Ueber diese Lieder lacht der Brger beleidigt, der Heilige und Seher hrt sie mit Trnen." 402. "Datta, dayadhvam, damyata" (Give, sympathize, control). The fable of the meaning of the Thunder is found in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad, 5, 1. A translation is found in Deussen's Sechzig Upanishads des Veda, p. 489. 408. Cf. Webster, The White Devil, v. vi: ". . . they'll remarry Ere the worm pierce your winding-sheet, ere the spider

Make a thin curtain for your epitaphs." 412. Cf. Inferno, xxxiii. 46: "ed io sentii chiavar l'uscio di sotto all'orribile torre." Also F. H. Bradley, Appearance and Reality, p. 346: "My external sensations are no less private to myself than are my thoughts or my feelings. In either case my experience falls within my own circle, a circle closed on the outside; and, with all its elements alike, every sphere is opaque to the others which surround it. . . . In brief, regarded as an existence which appears in a soul, the whole world for each is peculiar and private to that soul." 425. V. Weston, From Ritual to Romance; chapter on the Fisher King. 428. V. Purgatorio, xxvi. 148. "'Ara vos prec per aquella valor 'que vos guida al som de l'escalina, 'sovegna vos a temps de ma dolor.' Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina." 429. V. Pervigilium Veneris. Cf. Philomela in Parts II and III. 430. V. Gerard de Nerval, Sonnet El Desdichado. 432. V. Kyd's Spanish Tragedy. 434. Shantih. Repeated as here, a formal ending to an Upanishad. 'The Peace which passeth understanding' is a feeble translation of the content of this word.

" , " ( ) " ... " (, ", , " )

, . " "

. . , . - , , , . ( , , , , , , , ). , ( ) , . : , . , . "" ( ), . , , . (, !) , , . , " " . , , . , ( ), . , .

, . " ( ) " () , ", , ", , . , , , "". , "", . , . , , , , "". , , "... , ", , . . , " ". , , . " , , , " (, ).
"Yo no digo lo que pienso sino lo que me pregunto si no podra ser pensado" (Michael Foucault)

"La metafsica es una rama de la literatura fantstica ... un sistema no es otra cosa que la subordinacin de todos los aspectos del universo a uno cualquiera de ellos" (Borges, "Tln, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" en Ficciones)

Cmo empezar a escribir sobre un cuento acerca del cual se han hecho tantas interpretaciones diversas?, qu agregar que no sean simples palabras o repeticiones espreas?.

Quizs la importancia de "El Aleph" resida en la gran cantidad de temas que abarca y de all provenga su riqueza. Podemos mencionar ciertos elementos que lo hacen asequible de diversos sentidos. En primer lugar, la historia puede ser entendida como la triste aventura de un hombre por olvidar a un amor no correspondido que en este caso, coincide con el momento que Borges estaba atravesando con su amor hacia Estela Canto. Tambin se lo ha solido entender como una historia fantstica en la cual se relatan ciertos episodios msticos o cuasi religiosos en donde se llega a tener una mirada omniabarcadora, que si bien no sera la de Dios, s se asemejara. Tampoco han faltado comentaristas que hacen referencia al Aleph como una metfora de la creacin literaria (enfrentando dos estilos de escritura, por un lado, Carlos Argentino, correspondera al modelo de escritor realista que cree que el lenguaje sirve para dar cuenta del mundo y por el otro, Borges, que se muestra escptico ya que siempre encuentra insuficiente el acto de nombrar debido a que el todo es inabarcable y slo podemos hacer informes parciales). Incluso se lleg a hacer una lectura sociolgica del cuento para analizar la situacin actual, en donde la gran disponibilidad de informacin que poseemos (una especie de visin perturbadora del Aleph) no nos permite llegar a tener una concepcin sinttica e inteligible de la realidad sino slo una cantidad inimaginable de elementos atmicos que no pueden ser reducidos a un todo coherente.

La pregunta entonces que se nos presenta es: qu sentido nuevo le podemos dar al Aleph?, qu nos puede transmitir?.

Frente a estas distintas interpretaciones, voy a proponer una que va a hacer referencia a su concepcin metafsica. Tendra que aclarar que no pretendo explicitar "la" concepcin que Borges sostena (aunque considero que se podra asemejar bastante) sino que slo intento pensar en una de las tantas posibles maneras de abordar el cuento. Con esto, por lo tanto, no quiero hacer una hermenutica fiel al sentido del autor sino tomar dicho relato para pensar ms all de l.

El cuento puede ser entendido como una metfora (s, una ms!) acerca de las posibilidades que el hombre tiene de construir o llegar a alcanzar una concepcin metafsica, es decir, un sistema que de cuenta de todo lo que es, ni ms ni menos que del Universo entero. Para ello, Borges nos proporciona en ese "punto del espacio que contiene todos los puntos" la visin que tendra una persona de toda la realidad. Como seala el autor, dicha experiencia lo que producira en nosotros no sera una mirada omniabarcadora y comprensiva del todo sino una fragmentacin infinita de elementos que no llegaramos a procesar o a comprender de forma acabada. El resultado sera una fragmentacin

analtica, del mismo modo que el poema de Carlos Argentino que pretenda nombrar todas las cosas (dada la visin perturbadora que le produjo el Aleph) pero que en definitiva resultaba ser un mero listado de acontecimientos inconexos.

Teniendo en cuenta estos elementos, el Aleph nos da la pauta para comprender que pretender una representacin absoluta del Universo es algo imposible para el hombre.

En primer lugar, tenemos el inconveniente del lenguaje que como Borges explica, no puede representar mediante palabras sucesivas algo que es absolutamente simultneo. "Es aventurero pensar que una coordinacin de palabras (otra cosa no son las filosofas) puede parecerse mucho al universo" (Borges)

En segundo lugar, en "Tln, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", nos dice que la metafsica es un apartado de la literatura fantstica y tambin considera que un sistema no es ms que la exaltacin de uno de los elementos del universo, dejando opacado al resto. Lo que podramos entender es que el Universo como tal no lo podemos representar, ni siquiera es accesible para el hombre sino que toda mirada del ser supone al hombre como un ser situado, que deja de lado ciertos elementos para engrandecer otros, lo que lo aleja definitivamente de la pretendida "objetividad". Siempre vemos y hablamos desde un lugar, unos "prismas" desde los cuales tenemos que acercarnos a la realidad para hacerla inteligible.

De esta manera el cuento ilustra que la pretensin de totalidad es imposible. No podemos entender ni expresar el universo, por eso, la filosofa que se pretende absoluta es imposible ; siempre vemos y pensamos a partir de una construccin que a su vez, est constituida por "olvidos". Sin embargo, la actitud no es quedar paralizado por esa imposibilidad sino como seala al final del cuento "... Sin embargo, algo recoger", es decir, que la situacin no es de desesperanza, por el contrario es una tarea constructiva necesaria para llevar a cabo. La solucin y la posibilidad de la felicidad en el cuento la trae el olvido. Un sistema y una mente slo pueden soportar esa infinidad de elementos que fluyen sin un pretendido orden a partir de la construccin de cierta estructura impuesta por nosotros ; en ltima instancia dependemos de esa necesaria "ficcin metafsica". Instalamos falsas totalidades, pero al reconocer este hecho como algo indispensable para nuestra vida ya deja de ser visto como algo negativo y pasamos a considerarlo constituyente de nosotros mismos.

"Nuestra mente es porosa para el olvido ; yo mismo estoy falseando y perdiendo, bajo la trgica erosin de los aos, los rasgos de Beatriz" (Borges, El Aleph).

KNJIZEVNOST Borhes, deset godina kasnije Tvorac mitova buducnosti


Pise: Zvonko Prijovic
Vlada Urosevic: "Borhes nas je priblizio shvatanju knjizevnosti kao igre"; Filip David: "Na kraju, i sam je postao mit jedan od onih cudesnih mitova knjizevnosti o kojima je pisao"; Jovan Zivlak: "Svet je svet senki, a u toj ravni i Borhes je senka"; Branko Kukic: "Mastarije su bile knjiga koja je napravila prevrat"

"Umetnost je - kao i san - skoro uvek u antagonistickom odnosu prema svakodnevnom zivotu. Okrutna stvarnost koja nas okruzuje istovremeno i fascinira i plasi Borhesa. On nalazi utociste u svojoj kuli od slonovace usled one iste moci koja ga fascinira. Platonski svet je njegovo bajno utociste: neranjivo je, a on se oseca napustenim; cisto je, a on se gnusa prljave stvarnosti; ne poznaje osecanja, a on bezi od izliva neznosti; vecno je, a njega pogadja prolaznost vremena. Pripao je platonskom svetu iz straha, gadjenja, stidljivosti i melanholije" pise u jednom od svojih eseja, posvecenom Borhesu, njegov zemljak Ernesto Sabato. Ovog juna navrsilo se deset godina od smrti slavnog argentinskog pisca Horhe Luisa Borhesa. Kako pise Silvija Monros - Stojakovic, covek koji se jos za zivota pretvorio u neku vrstu pokretne biblioteke, a koji je sasvim kratkim formama ovekovecio Vavilonsku i tako svedenim delima na neki nacin vaspostavio Aleksandrijsku biblioteku, 14. juna 1986. napustio je ovozemaljske pescanike i, pitajuci se sve do poslednjeg na kojem jeziku umire, trajno se preselio na stranice knjiga. Secanje istinskih ljubitelja Borhesovih knjiga na velikog majstora, nije prestajalo ni ovih deset godina. Brojna su izdanja koja su se u poslednjih godinu dve pojavila, zaslugom, pre svega, manjih izdavackih kuca. Desetogodisnjica smrti ovog pisca obelezena je i u Beogradu. O Borhesu se zna, uglavnom, sve. Rodjen poslednje godine proslog veka u Buenos Ajresu, u sebi ima pomesanu spansku, englesku i portugalsku krv, a porodice iz kojih potice igrale su znacajnu ulogu u istoriji Argentine. Nekoliko njegovih prvih knjiga pesama jos uvek ne otkrivaju buduceg pesnika jedne kosmopolitski obojene metafizike. Do svojih pravih tema Borhes ce doci kroz nekoliko knjiga eseja i prica: Sveopsta istorija bescasca, Istorija vecnosti, Mastarije, Alef. Njegova prva knjiga pojavila se kod nas 1963. godine u biblioteci Metamorfoze beogradskog Nolita. Rec je o knjizi Mastarije, koja ce nekoliko godina nakon izlaska ostati neprimecena i neshvacena. Tek sedamdesetih godina pocinje kod nas prava

Borhesova recepcija, pojavljuju se prvi borhesovci, a onda nas zapljuskuje i veliki talas hispanoamericke literature, pristizu Markesove, Kortasarove, Ljosine, Fuentesove knjige. Ali niko se ne otima da bude markesovac ili kortasarovac, a mnogi zele da budu - borhesovci. Medju njih nasi knjizevni kriticari svrstavali su i Milorada Pavica, Danila Kisa, Filipa Davida, Svetislava Basaru, Milenka Pajica i mnoge druge. Neki od njih, razmisljaju o Borhesu, deset godina od njegove smrti.

Sustina svega sto je do sada napisao Jedan od najboljih poznavalaca Borhesovog zivota i dela, makedonski pisac Vlada Urosevic, istice da iako pojava Borhesa na svetskoj knjizevnoj sceni izgleda munjevita, stvari se u tom pogledu nisu odvijale tako brzo. Jos 1933. godine Pjer Drije la Rosel posle jednog putovanja po Juznoj Americi, objavljuje tekst pod naslovom Radi Borhesa je vredelo putovati. Sledece godine u Engleskoj izlazi knjiga Borhesovih prica i, po svemu sudeci, ne izaziva neki veci interes. Tek pocetkom pedesetih godina, kad Roze Kajoa u okviru Galimarovih izdanja pokrece ediciju Juzni krst posvecenu juznoamerickim knjizevnostima i objavljuje u njoj izbor Borhesovih prica pod naslovom Lavirint, ime ovog pisca pocinje cesce da se pominje," kaze Urosevic i dodaje: Bilo je ocigledno potrebno dosta vremena da se shvati Borhesova poruka, da se na nju priviknu knjizevni tvorci i knjizevna publka. A Borhes nas je priblizio shvatanju knjizevnosti kao igre, shvatanju da je knjizevnost jedan veliki i nikad zavrseni palimpsest, kao i shvatanju da se knjizevno delo radja kao odgovor na podsticaje koji dolaze iz drugih knjizevnih dela. Doprinos Borhesa u razbijanju stvarnosne literature bio je kljucan. Pitanje je da li bi postmodernizma uopste bilo bez ovog pisca. Danas se Borhes mozda manje cita, vise deluju poruke koje su drugi, kasniji pisci izvukli iz njegovog dela." Na pitanje dokle ce to trajati Vlada Urosevic odgovara: Pa, do sledeceg zaokreta u knjizevnim tokovima. Ali, ma sta se desilo, prisustvo Borhesa u knjizevnom secanju ce ostati. Posle njega vise nista nije kao sto je bilo." Malo je pisaca u citavoj svetskoj knjizevnosti, smatra Filip David, koji su uspeli da promene "ugao gledanja", obnove i prevazidju odredjene knjizevne konvencije, tako da se posle njih ne moze vise pisati kao sto se pisalo pre njih. U nasem veku, po njemu, to su Kafka, Beket i Borhes.

Borhes je neprekidno uveravao da svi pisci sveta pisu jednu jedinu knjigu, da se u svakom dobrom knjizevnom ostvarenju sadrzi citava prethodna knjizevnost. Tvrdio je da se "knjizevnost hrani knjizevnoscu", vise nego onim sto se naziva stvarni zivot," kaze David, a na cinjenicu da je Borhes postao veliki uzor za nove generacije, odgovara: Ali kao svaki veliki uzor on istovremeno nadahnjuje, ali i opominje. Njegova senka je tako velika i mocna da mnogi iz nje ne uspevaju vise da izadju. Od Borhesa se mnogo moze nauciti, ali ga verno slediti, isti je slucaj i sa Kafkom i Beketom, znaci uci u slepu ulicu, u corsokak." Po recima Filipa Davida, "modernu knjizevnost nije moguce zamisliti bez Borhesa. Njegov uticaj nije se ogranicio samo na Juznu Ameriku - postao je univerzalan. Borhes je na neki nacin esencija, sustina svega onoga sto je dosada napisano. Na kraju, i sam je postao mit jedan od onih cudesnih mitova knjizevnosti o kojima je pisao."

Slatko je biti Borhesovac Milenko Pajic priznaje da je Borhes jedan od njegovih duhovnih otaca i da je vise tekstova napisao pod direktnim ili indirektnim Borhesovim uticajem. Medjutim, kako sam se dohvatao stvaralacke zrelosti pokusavao sam u vise navrata i na razne nacine da izadjem iz senke autoriteta i ucitelja koga sam sam izabrao", kaze Pajic i podseca na svoju knjigu Nove biografije u kojoj postoji i Nova biografija H.L. Borhesa sa karakteristicnim detaljem u naslovu - (1899-1984): Tu moju igru sa datumima niko nije preimetio; Borhes je ziveo dve godine duze nego sto sam ja "prorokovao". Moj obracun sa uciteljem mozda sam najbolje, najsazetije i najvise borhesovski prikazao u jednoj od najkracih prica koje sam ikada napisao. Njen naslov je Atentat na Borhesovog dvojnika, a cela prica, od reci do reci, glasi : "Imao sam genijalnu zamisao da pricu pod ovim naslovom uopste ne napisem". Svega 12 reci. I onih nekoliko hiljada koje sam uspeo da precutim." Po recima Pajica, slatko je biti borhesovac, ali tesko je izmaci njegovoj gravitaciji. On propoveda slobodu stvaranja, a pre svih - slobodu forme ili borhesovskim recnikom receno - on propoveda uzdrzavanje od izbora bilo kakve forme, sto je jedan iz citavog niza cistih koncepata kojima njegova proza zaista obiluje vise od bilo cije pre i posle njega." Na pitanje zasto se Borhesovi ucenici i sledbenici ponekad osecaju sputanim i ogranicenim, Pajic odgovara:"Zato sto je Borhes uspeo da potrosi najveci deo slobode koju je nudio svima. Lavovski deo borhesovstine iscrpeo je sam Borhes pisuci svoje kratke price. Postati borhesovac u mladenackom zaru, u igri ili u nekoj vrsti dokolice,

kao da je bila kob bacena na nekolicinu pisaca iz moje generacije (rodjeni posle 1950, poceli da objavljuju 80-ih godina)." Za Branka Kukica koji je u casopisu Gradac i ediciji Alef medju prvima objavljivao Borhesa, Mastarije su bile knjiga koja je napravila prevrat: borhesovci su postali elita, borhesovstvo ezoterija prosvecenih i odabranih, a borhesovstina sirotinjska hrana za neupucene i nedarovite. Borhes nije pricao price, on je stvaro mitove buducnosti. To je njegov najveci doprinos svetu praktikuma i sveopste entropije. Tvrdio je da je svet blejkovsko zrno peska, tacka Alef, verujuci u coveka kao mikrokosmos. S druge strane, svet je po Borhesu neizmerna pescana knjiga koja sipi citavu vecnost. U tom svetu mi smo samo neciji dvojnici, odrazi nekog drugog coveka, likovi u ogledalima. Borhes je time postavio osnovno pitanje - da li mi zaista postojimo ili smo cisti prividi," kaze Kukic i dodaje: Ako me ista uznemirava, to je pomisao o sebi kao iluziji. Ta sumnja je, zahvaljujuci Borhesu, danas postala realnija nego ikada. Na toj sumnji pociva buducnost sveta, i ona ce ga konacno progutati, jer je covek crna rupa u kosmosu."

Cudesna istorija duha Urednik novosadskih Svetova u kojima su nedavno objavljene dve Borhesove knjige, Jovan Zivlak, istice da su beskonacnost kao nesto sto potire vreme i razliku i smrt koja nas cini ranjivim, Borhesov okular kroz koji on stvara i podredjuje se jednoj cudesnoj i visoj istoriji duha. --"Lucidnost, cudesnost, paradoks, fantastika." Sve to lici na sveopsti skup ovestalih retorickih dosetki. Otuda je, po Zivlaku, Borhes i Sekspir, i Kits, i Servantes, i Seherezada, isto tako kao je on sam rekao da se beskonacna knjizevnost nalazi u samo jednom coveku. Taj covek je Borhes, sutra ce to biti neko drugi ko moze biti Homer ili opet Borhes. Borhes se cita i kao sto Kafka ne moze biti odnesen talasom plitke radoznalosti, tako i Borhes i njegova knjizevnost ostaju nesto razlicito, promenljivo i izlozeno paznji i sabranosti tog jednog citaoca koji se mozda nece setiti Borhesa, ali knjizevnosti i njenih snova i njene buducnosti - svakako. Koliko je Borhes uticao na nasu knjizevnost? Ne onoliko koliko se to zeli naglaseno izraziti," kaze Jovan Zivlak i naglasava: "Nesto od posvecenosti da se bude zahvacen duhom, da se reci uzimaju sa senovitih izbocina pecine, sa stranica velikih knjga, i snova, i istorije onih cija smo lica spremni da zaboravimo, da bi zapamtili njhova imena i njihove reci koje nas suocavaju sa dubinom beskonacnosti i istorije zla - kao da je preuzimano suvise plosno."

Deset godina nakon Borhesove smrti, Sasa Radonjic kaze da izricati sudove koji govore o velicini uticaja ovog "maga" na knjizevnu mapu sveta druge polovine XX veka, deluje pohabano, deplasirano i vise od svega nekako oficijelno, knjiski sluzbenicko. Nasuprot tome, neodoljivo me privlaci vokabular jedne licne, gotovo intimne besede. Ali, posto Luis Borhes nije bio moj prijatelj, naime, mi se nismo poznavali, pravo na takvu besedu mi je uskraceno, te mi preostaje, da ovom prigodom, ipak budem samo knjiski sluzben i kazem nesto sasvim kratko: sve vazno u kontekstu svetske knjizevnosti druge polovine ovog veka, zbilo se za Borhesovog zivota. Tokom deset godina od njegove "prerane" smrti, nista veliko se nije desilo u svetskoj knjizevnosti, ili bar ja nista slicno nisam primetio," smatra Radonjic.

Kult Citanja Knjiga "Nasi savremenici: Homer, Dante ili Borhes ne prestaju da budu aktuelni. Ako je o Horhe Luisu Borhesu rec, njegova aktuelnost je visestruka. Jedan od puteljaka "vrta razgranatih staza" kojim je strasno koracao, vodi nas "vavilonskoj biblioteci"; njeno "postojanje ab acterno" omogucuje setnu utehu "pescane knjige". Potpuno malarmeovski , svet tezi da se izjednaci sa stranicama te knjige. Nikada mnogobrojni, Sledbenici Treceg cara Sjajne Dinastije, Cui Pena, u pripadnosti univerzumu biblioteke nalaze smisao postojanja. Kult Citanja Knjiga je svrha beskrajne price u kojoj kradljivci vremena, "sivi ljudi", Raj Teksta vide ocima mrzitelja smeha. To je pogled jednog drugog Horhea, iz Imena ruze Umberta Eka, pise Milan Orlic i dodaje: "Posnica i Mucalnica Teksta i Biblioteke, tisinom i posvecenim mirm uvodi nas, kao nekada Savu Nemanjica usred monaske republike, u tajne tihovanja na hodocascu Kulta Citanja Knjiga. Izuzev o "sivim ljudima", tihovanje nam kazuje i o "povjesti noci" koja nikome nije dostupna "bez vrtoglavice/i vrijeme ju je opteretilo vjecnoscu." Upravo u duhu ozracenosti vecnoscu, Borhes tvrdi da "pisac mora biti veran svojoj masti a ne pukim i slucajnim okolnostima nekakve pretpostavljene zbilje." I da stoga ne tezi da bude Ezop: nije ono sto se nekada nazivalo basnopiscem ili propovednikom poucnih prica; danas bismo kazali da nije angazovani pisac. Jedino cemu tezi je zabava i produbljivanje osecanja, a ne uveravanje. Ova mera potpuno montenjovska ili bartovska, svoju vrednost vrhuni u "imperativu lepote": ona je na ovom svetu zajednicka. Drugim recima: Smisao i Lepota, kao kalokagija kod Starih Grka, jesu najvisi ideal duhovnog sveta pisca.

"U sebi ujedinjujuci Istinu i Ljubav, iznad su preobilja stvarnosti o cijim osobitostima dovoljno kazuje sentenca: O, tempora! O, mores! Prema tome: u drustvu sa nasim savremenicima, Homerom, Danteom kao i mnogim drugim nepomenutim stanovnicima vecnosti, Borhes je i danas aktuelan jer je iznad cudi i obicaja ljudi i vremena", misljenja je Milan Orlic.

Antrfile: Pisac za sva vremena I deset godina posle smrti, Borhes je mnogo citan i vrlo cenjen pisac ne samo na spanskom jezickom podrucju, vec i u citavom svetu. Nema nikakve sumnje da je Borhes jedan od najvecih pisaca naseg veka. Njegovo delo predstavlja ne samo sjajnu sintezu svekolikog knjizevnog iskustva raznih literatura i tradicija, vec nam pruza i jedan celovit i vrlo lican dozivljaj sveta. Borhes pripovedac je dao jedan model pripovedanja koji uspesno primenjuju brojni pisci naseg veka, Borhes esejist je napisao kratke oglede koji su spoj erudicije i mastovitosti, a Borhes pesnik nas i dalje osvaja svojim lirskim ispovestima. Francuzi objavljuju celokupnog Borhesa u Biblioteci svetskih pisaca Plejada, kod nas je Borhes usao u skolsku lektiru. Nije li i to znak da je Borhes pisac za sva vremena, kaze prof. Radivoje Konstantinovic, koji je za prevod Borhesove poezije dobio nagradu Milos N. DJuric.

Professor Langdon Hammer: I'm going to talk about William Carlos Williams today. It may be that I end up carrying a little bit of Williams over to next time to Marianne Moore, his friend, contemporary, and really close collaborator, in a sense, in the New York scene of modernism in the teens, twenties, thirties, forties, and on into the fifties. This is the man, as a young man, William Carlos Williams. If you open your anthologies to page 284, in the long and useful head-note that Jahan Ramazani provides you, there's this quotation from a letter in the middle of page 284 that Williams wrote to Harriet Monroe, the editor of Poetry whom thirteen years later Hart Crane would write to in defense of his poem, "At Melville's Tomb." And Williams says in this letter to Monroe: Most current verse is dead from the point of view of art [It's dead, it's lifeless; and what Williams cares about is something he calls "life."] Now life is above all things else at any moment subversive of life as it was the moment before [and I think that's how we know it in Williams's life: whatever is subverting whatever was a moment before. And subversive is probably an important and suggestive word there] always new, irregular. [He wants what is new, and what is new is going to be what is irregular, and what is irregular has in some sense subverted what was in place before. He continues.] Verse to be alive [to have what Pound, I think, would have called "the impulse"] must have infused into it something of the same order [it has to have life in it, or what he calls] some tincture of disestablishment, something in the nature of an impalpable revolution, an ethereal reversal, let me say. I am speaking of modern verse. Like certain of our other poets, Williams is self-consciously modern. He's defining what "modern" means, and he's defining it as a quality of experience that he calls "life," that has the quality of disrupting whatever was in existence before. And this is a quality and energy that he wants to have in his poetry itself. This is Williams a little bit older,

Williams in 1924, when he has established himself through the poems in a volume called Spring and All, as one of the major modern poets in America.

Chapter 2. William Carlos Williams Poem: "The Red Wheelbarrow" [00:04:08]


He is the author of a poem have you ever seen it? called "The Red Wheelbarrow." And that might be a good place to begin. That's on pages 294 to 295. Of course, I'm joking. Probably that's the one poem everybody in this class has read before they came to this class. It is better known than "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" or "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," even. It is also distinguished, I think, as being the second shortest modern poem after "In a Station of the Metro," a poem that it's related to in certain ways. In fact, a link between Williams and Pound is important, it's relevant. Pound was a friend and rival for Williams throughout his career. Williams is sometimes seen in his early stages as a kind of Imagist or at any rate as a poet influenced by the Imagist aesthetic. Imagism is, of course, a visual metaphor, and Williams is above all a visual poet, a poet of the eye. so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens. Well, I think you have to see that poem to start to really be able to read it. It, I think, probably does involve some subtle vocal and auditory experience, but it's first of all a poem that meets you and challenges you through the eye, as a visual object in some sense on the page. The kind of seeing that Williams's poems call for is we can think of it as a way of reading that his poems themselves demand. In other words, there's a kind of link between how he sees the world and the way in which he asks us to read him. His poems model a kind of seeing. Unlike "In a Station of the Metro," "The Red Wheelbarrow," or let me call it instead "So Much Depends," is a poem without a title. This title, "The Red Wheelbarrow," was like the title "This is Just to Say" in the poem that follows, the almost equally famous poem. These are titles Williams added later to his work. In Spring and All that volume, the first edition, 1923 the poem appears simply as a text on the page. And that's important. It's part of it's as important as the title is for "In a Station of the Metro." Simply presenting the poem on the page to us, as Williams does, doing without a title, Williams asks us to, in some sense, read and encounter this poem without a frame, without some kind of pre-established boundary or explanatory introduction or entry. That choice increases the immediacy of our experience. It's as if Williams were asking you to kind of press up close to the poem, face it, just as he is facing the thing he is writing about; or asks us to face not the thing that he's writing about so much as his act of writing and seeing, his act of writing as it embodies a way of seeing. The poem has a suggestion that it requires as a poem the same kind of calm intensity of concentration that the poet's observation of the wheelbarrow exemplifies. So again, I think the kind of seeing that the poem does models a way of reading. Well, what is that way of reading? How does the poem embody in its construction which it calls attention to how does it embody in its construction a mode of perception, a way of seeing? How has Williams organized this language on the page, by what principles? Looking at it, well, as I suggested before, it's not a poem, I think, that we begin by hearing, and we have to start reading it and seeing it before we can even think about how to really speak it properly. It is not a metrical poem. This is not iambic pentameter. It is a free verse poem.

Chapter 3. Free Verse and the Prologue to "Kora in Hell" [00:10:06]


In the prologue to Kora In Hell, which is the prose I asked you to read for today at the back of the book, there are a number of sentences and ideas that are important. I'll call attention to just a few. On page 958, Williams says, "Nothing is good save the new. If a thing have novelty, it stands intrinsically beside every other work of artistic excellence. If it have not that, no loveliness or heroic proportion or grand manner will save it." And he identifies here, as elsewhere, this property of novelty with a kind of verse that eschews rhyme and meter, a whole host of existing poetic conventions. Again, in the head note to the Williams selection, there's a quotation from Williams on the subject of meter on page 285 from his prose statement, "The Poem as a Field of Action." He says:

I propose sweeping changes from top to bottom of the poetic structure. I say we are through with the iambic pentameter as presently conceived, at least for dramatic verse; through with the measured quatrain, the staid concatenation of sounds in the usual stanza, the sonnet. So much for "The Silken Tent," Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, et cetera. Williams is insisting that modern verse, the kind of verse he describes, has to break with these models and has to proceed by patterns that it itself invents. Free verse is in that sense Williams's chosen medium; free verse meaning a poem not patterned by metrical scheme or rhyme, or indeed some other, in a sense, pre-existing principle or pattern. Nonetheless, free verse does always have some kind of operative pattern, sometimes very strict and structuring ones, and this short poem is a good example. In fact, as you examine it, you see a series of four stanzas, four two-line groups since Williams might not like the word "stanza" four two-line groups. And the pattern is long-short, three or four syllables followed by two. And this is itself almost like a metrical or rhyme scheme. In fact, you could say this poem is more strict than a sonnet, that it's more limited in the range of choices that it allows. It isn't, however, presented to us as sonnets are, as an instance of a received verse form that is at least in its general pattern invariant and again pre-existing. Instead, the poem presents itself as a kind of ad-hoc arrangement, as a kind of structure that the poet has chosen to work within, reflecting the contingencies of this moment, the occasion, the poem's purpose. The poem's shape and this is one reason it's hard to speak, it's hard to hear organizes Williams's speech in a manner that disregards or disrupts normal familiar syntax. It does so specifically through enjambment, by carrying one line over to the next. Williams's enjambments have here, as throughout his poetry, the effect of breaking up language: breaking it up; forcing us to, in fact, slow down our reading; to stop taking language's sense-making for granted; and, in a sense, to get into the poem. The white space in a Williams's poem is you can think of it as a space for thought, a space where we are invited, allowed, required to think about choices, to ask ourselves about what possible connections can be made at a given moment. In this poem Williams specifically breaks words up into their component parts wheel, barrow, rain, water without hyphens, as if what he was looking at a red wheelbarrow consisted of those three terms: redness, the wheel, the barrow. These are its component elements. He points out, in effect, in this device, how in this case two nouns that are made of compounds they're really compounds represent things that are compounds, things that are made up of other things that have parts. As he establishes this pattern, "so much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water," you want to carry it forward, don't you now that we've learned what he's doing into the next stanza, 'beside the white / chickens," as if "white chickens" were the same kind of compound as "rainwater" and "red wheelbarrow." But they're not quite, and Williams is, in a way, teasing us. White chickens aren't made up of "white"-ness and "chicken"-ness in the same way that a wheelbarrow is made up of a "wheel" and a "barrow." He's doing something a little different here. No sooner has he, in effect, established a certain pattern of cognition showed us how to read his enjambments than he breaks that pattern. He revises how it works. It's just been put in place and now it's changed and in fact it's over, it's done. The poem is done. If the first lines of the poem and the first stanzas are, in a sense, made to interrupt and disrupt and thereby freshen our habits of seeing, to make us see these things in some new way, this last stanza does away with the habit of seeing that the poem itself has just constructed, just introduced us to. Williams prevents us from settling into a convention of perception, even in a poem that is as small and as brief as this one. There's really only enough time in the poem's essentially introduction and three parts following to establish a pattern and break it. What this brief moment of heightened perception allows us to see, to experience, is something small and large. What is it that depends on the red wheelbarrow? Williams only says "so much," "so much." The idea is, I think, the beautiful one that the world, when it's glazed with rain water it's a kind of aesthetic effect, an aesthetic effect that implies a light that does the glazing, that's somewhere behind our shoulders and the poet's, as he looks at these objects, this light, which comes after rain and is a product of change, of the energy of the world as it transforms; suddenly allows this world to be seen in visible detail, apprehensible in its component parts; and the ordinary gestalt of perception is interrupted, freshened and re-oriented. We see something, something ordinary, newly and freshly. It stands out. And

what we see in miniature in the limited space of the moment, or of the poem, is a world, well, what we see is the elements out of which the world is made, elements ordinarily held in a kind of complex mutual dependency: a kind of complex of relations that we simply take for granted in the words that we use and in the way that we see things, just as we put together "wheel" and "barrow" and "rain" and "water," without thinking about it. What the red wheelbarrow holds, then, and what in that sense depends on it is something pretty heavy, and that is the sense of a whole world; or better, the sense of the world in its wholeness, which is something affirmed in this attractively modest, momentary, poetic perception. So much for "The Red Wheelbarrow." Spring and All: and there's that idea again, in the title, spring as a season of newness: for Williams, beginning his career, spring registering his own beginnings, registering modernness, a vision of the world in its newness. Well, Spring and All is a beautiful book, and one I wish I could show you, but the last time I saw it at the Beinecke it disappeared and no one has seen it in a couple of years. They have a lot of paper over there. I guess it's easy to lose things. Maybe it's available again, we'll look and see. It's a beautiful, plain book, robin's egg blue for spring, I suppose. It seems it's not large; it's small. It almost has no ornament. In all of this, it seems to exemplify the American virtues of plainness and directness and simplicity; again, a long way from Hart Crane. And the book is really so American that it was published in Dijon. Williams is a polemically American poet, even more than Crane in certain ways, more than Frost even, and yet Williams has a very important and vital relationship to European modernism and to French modernism in particular, and more particularly to French painting. And to understand how Williams is writing, what he's trying to get at, it's helpful to remember what he was looking at. Here's a Braque, Georges Braque, 1908. It's on the way to cubism and, I think, sort of helpfully on the way to cubism because it looks back to a realist tradition with its, in a sense, conventional, perspectival space that's yet being broken up into planes, that allow us to register the painting as a painting, that force us to, really. And I suppose even more striking is this: one of many great late Cezanne paintings of Le Mont Sainte-Victoire where here, again, the perspectival space of the painting is being turned into almost a kind of abstract field of color patterns. Again, these are painters interested in foregrounding their action of seeing through the ways in which they foreground selfconsciously the materiality of the medium in which they are working. The aim in postimpressionist painting, and then in cubism, really, is to again break up that gestalt of perception that Williams is also opposing himself to: to break it up and grasp, in some sense, the dynamism in the world before us, precisely through acts of seeing that call attention to themselves and to the way in which that seeing is rendered. If you have read the prologue to Kora in Hell, which starts on page 954, you know that Williams begins with an anecdote about Marcel Duchamp, part of the New York art world that Williams also participated in through his friend, the dealer and taste maker Walter Arensberg: "Once when I was taking lunch with Walter Arensberg I asked him if he could state what the more modern painters were about" And then he gives several as examples, including Duchamp, all of whom were then in New York, and: [Arensberg] replied by saying that the only way man differed from every other creature was in his ability to improvise novelty and, since the pictorial artist was under discussion, anything in paint that is truly new, truly a fresh creation is good art. Thus, according to Duchamp, who was Arensberg's champion at the time, a stained glassed window that had fallen out and lay more or less together on the ground was a far greater interest than the thing conventionally composed in situ. Which is an interesting model for what Williams himself might be seen as doing in poetry, that in some sense he's taking the stained glass window and seeing it laid out on the floor, maybe broken on the floor. Duchamp painted this famous work, Nude Descending a Staircase, and it is clearly all about here rendering in pictorial form the kind of multiframe vision that photography and motion pictures allow us to see, to again here grasp in representation some sense of the movement and energy that compose the world that we see before us. The other dimension of the Duchamp anecdote that's nice, and about Williams is telling, is that a stained glass window that has fallen out is something you come upon or find. And Duchamp is, of course, most famous for his let me turn to the next image his ready-mades. This a facsimile of the or that is another version of his most famous ready-made fountain, a urinal, which he signed with the pseudonym, R. Mutt 1917, and presented as a work of art.

The Art Gallery has this work. This too is, as it were, a facsimile of the original, now lost: a snow shovel, another ready-made; this one with the excellent title, In Advance of the Broken Arm. Duchamp takes postimpressionism to New York in the form of dada a movement with its importance for Williams, too, including, I think, Duchamp's mischievousness and his willingness to provoke the subversive to take Williams's word and to play with expectations about what constitutes art, as Williams in certain ways would play with our expectations about what could constitute a poem or poetic statement.

Chapter 4. William Carlos Williams Poem: "The Great Figure" [00:30:34]


In New York and elsewhere, Williams is in contact with a whole range of modernist American artists influenced by the European art I've just been talking about, but also working in a distinctively American mode. This is a work by Charles Demuth, 1921. I'm sorry, I'm behind on producing my image lists but I'll get those for you. And here's another. And again here: an urban scene, that is realist in its mode of representation, and yet the foregrounding of the lines created by the different shapes of the buildings call attention to this as indeed a kind of constructed image that seems to be moving out of the realm of realist representation to something more symbolic and certainly avowedly created by the artist. Demuth goes further in the same direction in what is probably his best known work. This is called The Great Figure Number 5. If Williams was busy looking at these artists I've just been talking about, they also were looking at him, and Demuth's painting is a tribute to Williams and a little homage; also, I think, a little joke about Williams's own poem, also from Spring and All, that we know as "The Great Figure" on page 291. Well, I'll read this; again, rain and light: Among the rain and lights I saw the figure 5 in gold on a red firetruck moving with weight and urgency tense unheeded to gong clangs siren howls and wheels rumbling through the dark city. And this is Demuth's rendering of that moment that draws out the way in which the poem finds and makes an exalted symbol from this ordinary perception, and it's got "Bill" up top, and "W.C.W." down in the bottom, and "Carlos" underneath the 5, as part of this friendly tribute. The poem's interesting to look at next to "The Red Wheelbarrow." Here's something else that's red, right? And again, the poem is concerned with a moment of perception. Here, the poem really tries to render the process by which perception takes place, or rather the kind of context in which it does, which "The Red Wheelbarrow" doesn't. "The Red Wheelbarrow" really kind of takes something seen, almost fragmented, out of a continuum of perception that we can feel implied but isn't made explicit in the poem. In this case, we are given the kind of context out of which a detail, something arbitrary, contingent, and ordinary, springs out; springs out of the rush of things and catches the eye and the imagination and the intention of the poet. "In a Station of the Metro" is a poem about metropolitan, urban perception. So, is this poem. Here, instead of a present moment that's briefly suspended, as in Pound's poem or as in "So Much Depends," this poem is just as much about memory in the rush of ongoing experience, of a kind of ongoing temporality figured here by the firetruck "moving" and there's that participial word, "moving" a kind of ongoing action.

In the midst of this, something catches the poet's attention. He acts as a perceiver. He says "I saw" in that action, expressed in a verb in the past tense; intervenes in and cuts into this blurry, perceptual, participial flow of things that is the fire truck rushing by. It fixes on a figure, in this case a number, and carries that away and out of the experience. That "5" on the fire truck, it's something utterly ordinary like a wheelbarrow or a shovel, a snow shovel, and it's a kind of found object. And yet here for Williams he makes something of it, or plays with the act of making something with it. It is something he calls, with some joking, some seriousness, "the great figure": a great figure, a symbol. But a symbol of what exactly? Well, perhaps a symbol of the very capacity of the ordinary to arrest our attention and become significant, become objects of perception; perhaps a symbol of the five senses themselves. What do you think? That seems possible, too. The five senses whose powers are behind, for Williams, the way we create figurative language, the way we create figures and poems and discover symbols and discover meaning in the world around us: "Now life is above all things else at any moment subversive of life as it was the moment before always new, irregular."

Chapter 5. William Carlos Williams Poem: "Spring and All" [00:38:21]


The poem that's placed just after this in the anthology is one of Williams's greatest and it, too, as it appears in the volume Spring and All has no title but is given a title here the title of the volume itself but was known rather for a long time simply by its first line, "By the road to the contagious hospital." The poem is about the continual newness that Williams calls life, something that's continually constructing the world around us. And the poet in this poem gets at it like the postimpressionist painter, even perhaps like the dadaist by calling his and our attention to the act of constructing his poem, and in particular as that construction is felt, as it's kind of brought to our consciousness through enjambment. Williams's poetry, like the world he sees, is constantly enjambed, segmented, renewed by that act. Let's look at how enjambment works here. By the road to the contagious hospital under the surge of the blue mottled clouds driven from the northeast a cold wind. Beyond, the waste of broad, muddy fields brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen patches of standing water the scattering of tall trees All along the road the reddish purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy stuff of bushes and small trees with dead, brown leaves under them leafless vines Lifeless [again, dead] in appearance, sluggish dazed spring approaches [that is the first verb in the poem] They [he now says, suggesting all of these things] enter the new world naked, cold, uncertain of all save that they enter. All about them [these things, the things of the world] the cold, familiar wind Now the grass, tomorrow the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf One by one objects are defined [like a series of Imagist poems] It [now not "they" but "it," which is again now here a world felt in its wholeness] quickens: clarity, outline of leaf But now the stark dignity of entrance Still, the profound change has come upon them: rooted, they grip down and begin to awaken. It's a great poem, and enjambment is a key part of its energy. The first enjambment that is striking, is bold it's one of the really famous ones, in fact, in modern poetry is that second line, "under the surge of the blue." It invites us to read "the blue" as a noun, and to feel and hear that phrase, "the surge of the blue," as a kind of conventional expression of lyric romantic exaltation. But we're wrong. "Blue" is an adjective, and we learn this as the poem turns

and the enjambment supplies the information that this blue, this kind of exalted thing is actually "mottled," marred or flawed, even, in some sense. And here the newness that the poem is going to celebrate is going to be something we might feel mottled that is, cold, flawed which is part of its claim to be new, part of its claim to represent something really real; not to be found in previous books of poetry, but something to be found in the living. So, at this moment it seems enjambment means disestablishment, that word of Williams's, the subversion of life as it just was, a surprise of perception. But as in "The Red Wheelbarrow," if you think we've now learned what enjambment means in a given context, Williams is going to do something else. The next lines are also sharply enjambed: "mottled clouds driven from the / northeast a cold wind. Beyond, the / waste of broad, muddy fields." That is itself a bold thing to have done in poetry, to break off a line at the definite article. I'm not sure that there's an example in poetry previously to align these examples of lines ending in "the" with. There may well be, but it's yet a novel and bold thing for Williams to do. But it works differently from the previous example where the "blue" invited us to read that phrase as a kind of noun, expressive of romantic exaltation, and then gave us the surprise that no, it doesn't function that way, and what you thought was pure and exalted is in fact mottled and messy. These enjambments don't have any kind of interpretive surprise like that. The lines are just broken that way. They don't change how we read the grammar of the phrases, they don't force us to recast our expectations. Together, though, as a series of enjambments, these lines evoke a state in which the world is freshly taking shape, coming at us in forms that we have to confront, that give us abrupt insistent impressions, which are sometimes full of meaning and sometimes not. The way Williams is constructing this poem is a poetic version of the action that the poem's describing: the going forward into spring against the cold, through which eventually, one by one, objects are defined; defined and organized and energized and animated as Williams sees it. As I say, the verb does not come in the poem until we see that phrase "spring approaches," almost at the middle or slightly beyond the middle of the poem. And then there is that next sentence, "they enter the new world naked": "they" being deliberately vague, evoking the things of the world but in a humanized way, a humanized way as we come to feel them and see them. They enter the world just as we do, naked. And we re-enter it naked with them, you could say. This is a poem about emergence that identifies modern poetry modern verse, as Williams calls it in his letter to Monroe identifies modern verse with the process by which the perceptual world takes shape, grips down, rooting itself in ordinary fact and things, and from which a kind of energy is drawn and we begin to awaken. This is probably a good place to end. I want to stress the resonance and suggestiveness of Williams's investment in what is naked. It's a way of envisioning the world in its primary terms. It's also a way of calling forth a kind of human energy that is primary and again, as Williams imagines it, modern. And here he is in the buff; I guess, skinny dipping in New Jersey with a couple of sticks to pretend he's Pan. So, go enjoy the spring day, keep your clothes on, and we'll talk about maybe a little more Williams but definitely Marianne Moore next time.

1. never talk with strangers


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 1

Epigraph "... who are you, then?" "I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good." The epigraph comes from the scene entitled Faust's Study in the first part of the drama Faust, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1842). The question is asked by Faust; the answer comes from the demon Mephistopheles. Never Talk with Strangers

The title is an ironical reference to the psychology of many Muscovites in a time period in which there existed an obsession for espionage.
Click here to read more about Russians and foreigners.

Patriarch's Ponds The Patriarch's Ponds are situated in a park very close to Bulgakov's former residence in Bolshaya Sadovaya uliitsa or the Big Garden Street. The Russian name of this place is (Patriarshy Prudy) orPatriarch's Ponds, in plural, though there is actually only one pond.
Click here for a more Click here to see a 360 photo of the Patriarch's Ponds detailed description of this location.

Many streets, squares and buildings got a new name in the Soviet era. In Bulgakov's time Patriarch's Ponds were called Pioneer's Ponds. In his novel The Master and Margarita however, Bulgakov consequently used the prerevolutionary names, which often were of christian orthodox origin. A grey summer suit and a respectable fedora The first of the two citizens at Patriarch's Ponds - we will know soon that his name is Berlioz - looks like a functionary. With the description of "black horn-rimmed glasses of a supernatural size" Bulgakov gives an indication of his appreciation of such characters. Bulgakov didn't really specify a fedora. He described a (prilichnuyu shlyapu) or a decent hat. After the revolution hats were no longer used in the Soviet Union unless by old-fashioned intellectuals. They were winning acceptance again in the 30's, namely among the new elite. In the Russian text is written that the citizen of approximately forty years old, carried his hat (pirozhkom), "like a pastry". This could be a satirical description of the revolutionary intelligentsia becoming bourgeois and showing airs and graces. Bulgakov himself was always dressed very decently when he was in company. He not only carried a hat, but also a pince-nez. A checkered cap, a cowboy shirt and black sneakers The second character - Ivan Bezdomny - complies with the stereotype image of the proletarian poet looking far less bourgeois. He was (v kovboyke), in a checkered shirt. A a (kovboyka) orcheckered shirt is clearly derived from (kovboy) or cowboy. Mikhail Aleksandrovich Berlioz
Click here for a more detailed description of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Berlioz.

Massolit Massolit is an invented but plausible contraction parodying the many contractions introduced in post-revolutionary Russia. There will be others further on in the novel - like the Dramlit House (House for Dramatists and Literary Workers), findirector (financial director), and so on. Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyryov (Bezdomny)

Click here for a more detailed description of Ivan Nikolayich Ponyryov (Bezdomny)

Seltzer and beer "Give us seltzer," Berlioz asked. "There is no seltzer," the woman in the stand said, and for some reason became offended. "Is there beer?" Homeless inquired in a rasping voice. "Beer'll be delivered towards evening," the woman replied. "Then what is there?" asked Berlioz. "Apricot soda, only warm," said the woman. "Well, let's have it, let's have it! ..." Bulgakov didn't really need to exaggerate to make this conversation look like a parody - this dialogue could be heard daily in the former Soviet Union. Both the situation of supply shortage as the description of the protagonists' attitudes were common practice. Only in beryozkas or foreign-currency-only stores there was no supply shortage.
Click here to read more about the beryozka's

Kislovodsk Literally Kislovodsk means acid waters. It was a popular resort in the northern Caucasus, famous for its mineral springs. The Narzan mineral water is bottled here. For Russians with connections "the South" with the Caucasus, the Crimea and the Black Sea was the most prestigious resort. After the creation of the or the Writers' Unionin 1932, writers in the Soviet Union could be rewarded with a (putyovka) for Kislovodsk. A putyovka is a (doctor's) referral letter which Soviet citizens needed for going to a sanatorium. A sojourn in a sanatorium was - and still is in many cases - a combination of a recreational stay at the sea coast with a programme of courses of treatment and physical exercices, prescribed and followed by doctors. A long anti-religious poem Antireligious demonstrations of every sort and kind were extremely spread in that epoch, such as the iconoclastic poetries of Demyan Bedny (1883-1945), pseudonym of Efim Aleksandrovich Pridvorov. Bulgakov recalled with indignationce that he considers it to be a cursing. It is possible that the original drawing of the novel was born as a reaction against this rude propaganda. Berlioz ordered a poem on the occasion of the holiday of Easter with the concrete purpose of propaganda. This was not unusual. In the Soviet Union it was common practice to publish atheistic literary works on the eve of christian and other holidays.
Click here to read more about atheism in the Soviet Union

The most ordinary mythology The statement that Jesus as a person is a myth comes from the theory of Bruno Bauer (1809-1882), a German theologian, philosopher and historian and a follower of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) who once awarded the young Bauer an academic prize for a philosophical essay criticizing Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Kant had made quite some efforts to prove that God exists. But Bauer was also engaged in furious polemics with others who, as he did himself, tried to prove that the historical Jesus never existed, like David Strauss (1808-1874).

Philo of Alexandria Philo of Alexandria (20 BC-54) was a Greek philosopher of Jewish origin, a biblical exegete and a theologian. He influenced both the Neo-Platonists and early Christian thinkers. Flavius Josephus Flavius Josephus (57-100) was a Jewish general and historian, born in Jerusalem, he's the author of The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews. Incidentally, Berlioz is mistaken when he says that "the brilliantly educated" Flavius "never said a word about the existence of Jesus", because Christ is indeed mentioned in the latter work. Tacitus's [famous] Annals Annals is a work of the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (55-120), covering the years 14 to 66. He also wrote History which covered the years 69-70, The Annals are not completely saved except for the years 14-37 [Tiberius] and 47-66 [Claudius en Nero]. Modern scholarship rejects the opinion that the passage Berlioz refers to here is "a later spurious interpolation". Osiris In Ancient Egypt Osiris was the protector of the dead, brother and husband of Isis, and father of the falcon-headed god Horus Tammoz Tammoz is a Syro-Phoenician demi-god, his Greek equivalent Adonis is probably known better . Marduk Marduk is a Babylonian sun-god, the leader of a revolt against the old deities and institutor of a new order. Vitzliputzli Vitzliputzli, in other literary works also named Huitzilopochtli, is the Aztec god of war, to whom human sacrifices were offered. A black knob shaped like a poodle's head In Goethe's Faust, Mephistopheles first gets to Faust by taking the form of a black poodle. A foreigner Foreigners aroused both curiosity and suspicion in Soviet Russia, representing both the glamour of 'abroad' and the possibility of espionage. Talking to strangers could get one into trouble with the secret police. Few foreigners visited, and those who did were required to register with the authorities, stay in special hotels, and they were watched very closely. In Russian language a foreigner is indicated by the word (inostranyets), but in times past the word (nemets) was used. This word had a double meaning, however. It stood, besides for foreigner, also for German. So when Ivan, in the first chapter of The Master and Margaritaasks Woland " ?", it can mean

"are you German?" as well as "are you a foreigner?". (nemets) would come from the verb (nemet), which means to become dumb. A nemets is then a dumb, in the sense of someone who doesn't speak Russian.
Click here to read more about Russians and foreigners

2. pontius pilate
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 2

Judea Judea is the southern part of Palestina, occupied by Rome in 65 BC. It was named after Judah, Jacob's fourth son. In the year 6 it became a Roman province, the procurator's residence was in Caesarea. Pontius Pilate Pontius Pilate was the 5th Roman procurator - or governor - of Judea from 26 to 56. Besides what is written of him in the Gospels we don't know much about him. Only Tacitus mentions him briefly. Bulgakov drew details for his portrayal of the procurator from David Strauss, already mentioned in the first chapter, but also from Life of Christ of the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, Frederic Farrar (1851-1905), and from Vie de Jsus of the French historian Ernest Renan (1825-1892). Renan portrayed Jesus as a human being, but in a rather soft way, as someone with revolutionary ideas, but also a weak person.
Free Free download download of of Life Vie of de Christ Jsus of of Frederic Ernest Farrar Renan

Herod the Great Herod the Great (?75 BC-04), was the tetrarch in Judea whom the Romans rewarded for his services by making him king of Judea, an honour he handed on to his son and grandson. According to the New Testament, he ordered the murder of Jewish children - the Massacre of the Innocents - when he heard of the birth of the Messiah - the future king. Herod loved buildings in Roman style. It can be seen in the many palaces and other constructions he built in Jerusalem and in the city of Caesarea at the Mediterrean shore. According to the Master's Pilate story Caesarea was Pilate's preferred residence. The Twelfth Lightning legion The twelfth legion, Legio XII, was a Roman legion, levied by Julius Caesar(100 BC-44 BC) in 58 BC and which accompanied him during the Gallic wars until 49 BC. The legion's logo was the image of a lightning which gave it the name Fulminata - lightning is fulmen in Latin. The twelfth legion was also known as Paterna, Victrix, Antiqua, Certa Constans, and Galliena. Yershalaim Bulgakov uses an alternative transliteration of the Hebrew ( Yeru-shalayim) for the name of the city of Jerusalem. In certain other cases as well, Bulgakov has preferred the distancing effect of these alternatives:Yeshua for Jesus, Ha-Nozri for Nazareth, Kaifa for Caiaphas, Kiriath for Iscariot.
Click here to read more about transliterations

O gods, gods... The refrain "O gods, gods..." runs through The Master and Margarita like a leitmotiv. It appears ten times in the novel and is taken from the opera Adawritten by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), which Bulgakov knew and loved and quoted in other works.
Click here to watch and hear the leitmotiv from Ada

Galilee Galilee is the northern part of Palestine, green and fertile, with its capital at Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee or Lake Kinnereth. The tetrarch In that time Galilee was ruled by the tetrarch Herod Antipas (20 BC-30), son of Herod the Great. In a tetrarchy power is divided between four individuals. In the first century the Romans used the title of tetrarch to indicate the ruler of a smaller part of their vast empire. Herod Antipas was responsible for the decapitation of John the Baptist (7BC29). According to the Gospel of Luke (23:7-12), Herod Antipas was in Jerusalem at the time of Christ's crucifixion. Pontius Pilate had sent Jesus to Herod to pronounce judgment. It was meant to flatter him because they were at odds with each other. Herod was honoured but sent Jesus back to Pilate. The latter made judgment and washed his hands saying he was innocent of the blood of this just person. Since then Herod and Pilate were friends again. Luke 23:12 "And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other." Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish legislative and judicial body, headed by the high priest of the temple in Jerusalem. The lower courts of justice were called lesser sanhedrins. The Sanhedrin followed the Jewish law under supervision of the Romans. A man of about twenty-seven According to the New Testament Jesus Christ was about thirty-three years old when he died. This is one of the many details in which Bulgakov deviates from the traditional biblical story. Aramaic Aramaic is a West-Semitic language which is spoken today as a first language in some villages around Damascus in Syria and in other parts of the Middle-East.. Originally it was spoken by the Aramaeans, but eventually it became thelingua franca of the entire Persian empire. So it became widely spread all over the Middle East, and consequently Palestina. Some passages of the Bible are written in Aramaic and not in Hebrew, and it is very likely that Jesus spoke Aramaic in his daily contacts with people. In the movie pictureThe Passion of the Christ (2004) most of the dialogues are in Aramaic. Today the language is considered to be endangered. After thousands of years it risks to disappear under the pressure of dominant languages and cultures in those areas where still exist Aramaic groups.

The temple of Yershalaim The temple of Jerusalem was originally built by King Solomon (1000 BC-928 BC) in the 10th century BC. He was destroyed the first time by the Babylonian invaders in 586 BC and reconstructed in the 5th century BC. Herod the Great renewed it completely, but was destroyed completely by Titus in 70. Ratslayer
Click here for a comprehensive description of this character

Hegemon or hegemon is Greek for leader, ruler or guide. Yeshua The name or Yeshua is Aramaic and means the Lord is salvation. The name Ha-Nozri means from Nazareth, the city in Galilea where Jesus lived before he started his public life.

3. the seventh proof


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 3

The seventh proof In the first chapter Woland, Ivan and Berlioz were discussing the five proofs of the existence of God. The catholic philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) formulated five proofs or arguments of the existence of God in his Summa Theologiae (1265-1274). 1. The argument of the unmoved mover (ex motu). Aquinas said that things move, so something or someone an unmoved mover from whom all motion proceeds - must therefore exist. 2. The argument of the first cause (ex causa). Some things are caused by something or someone else. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all caused things. 3. The argument of contingency (ex contingentia). Many things in the universe may either exist or not exist. Such things are called contingentbeings. But it is impossible for everything in the universe to be contingent, therefore there must be a necessary being whose existence is not contingent. 4. The argument of degree (ex gradu). Various perfections may be found in varying degrees throughout the universe, which assumes the existence of the perfections themselves 5. The argument of design (ex fine). All designed things have a designer. The universe is designed. Therefore, the universe has a designer. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the German idealist philosopher, added a sixth argument to it, though Woland doesn't seem to like it much: "he fashioned his own sixth proof as if in ridicule of himself". Kant's proof was called the argument of the moral order. Kant said that we are rationally obliged to attain the summum bonum. And what we are obliged to attain, must be possible for us to attain. If there is no God or afterlife, it is not possible to attain the summum bonum, so God or the afterlife must exist.

In this chapter Woland asserts the existence of yet a seventh proof, which is demonstrated to Berlioz minutes later when he is decapitated by a streetcar - "At least believe that the devil exists! I no longer ask you for anything more. Mind you, there exists a seventh proof of it, the surest of all! And it is going to be presented to you right now!" And a couple of minutes later Berlioz notices that Woland is right. The seventh proof could be called the experiential proof. Because Berlioz experiences that the devil exists, by which the seventh proof of Gods existence is given. It may be worth to mention that Bulgakov's close friend, the philosopher and literary critic Pavel Sergeevich Popov (1892-1964), was absorbed by the problem of the proofs of the existence of God. Hotel Metropole The Metropol hotel - no "e" at the end - was built between 1899-1903 byWilliam Walcott (1874-1943). This posh artnouveau hotel has 400 rooms and suites and it is decorated with mosaics by the artist Mikhail Vrubel(1856-1910). The Metropol has been the site of many historic events, including speeches by Lenin and the 1918-1919 meetings of the Central Committee of the Russian Republic . It became one of the hotels specially designated for foreigners. It is still one of the most luxurious hotels in Moscow.
Click here to see how the hotel presents itself today.

Secrecy "I was personally present at it all. I was on Pontius Pilate's balcony, and in the garden when he talked with Kaifa, and on the platform, only secretly, incognito, so to speak, and therefore I beg you - not a word to anyone, total secrecy, shh...' With these words Woland suggests already that he's the devil. In the previous chapter, where the meeting between Pilate and Kaifa is described, was mentioned that Pilate wanted to "speak with the president previously and alone". Without - mortal - witnesses. There isn't any "... no matter what one asks for, there isn't any!" Woland says, shaking with laughter, when Ivan says that there isn't any devil. This quote became very popular in Russia after the publication of The Master and Margarita. The Soviet citizens considered it as a comment on the shortage of goods in the shops. Koroviev
Click here for a comprehensive description of the Koroviev/Fagot character

Your uncle in Kiev "Would you like me to have a telegram sent at once to your uncle in Kiev?" Woland calls out to Berlioz when he runs away. Berlioz winces, because how does the madman know about the existence of a Kievan uncle? And indeed, in chapter 18 he shows up after having received a telegram from Moscow. The tramway The tram-car that will decapitate Berlioz came racing along, turning down the "newly laid line from Yermolaevsky to Bronnaya". Bulgakov needed to mention that the line was "newly" laid, because most historians agree that there was

no tramway at that place. But the influence of Bulgakov's novel has resulted in many Muscovites "recalling" such a line. Crimson armband According to the translators Pevear and Volokhonsky, Berlioz makes out the crimson armband of the woman driver. But this translation is not accurate. Bulgakov described her or scarlet scarf or necktie. Glenny and the Dutch translators got it right. They described the driver's red necktie This necktie proves once more that Woland's prediction was very accurate, since such necktie was the sign that the woman driver was a member ofKomsomol.

4. the chase
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 4

The "A"-line There are many streetcar lines in Moscow. They are all numbered, except for one which is indicated with the letter "A". This line, which is now called "Annushka", has one particular car which is called (Traktir Annushka) or Caf Annushka, and which serves as a restaurant.
Click here to see the Caf Annushka

Number 15, apartment 47 Ivan suddenly realizes that the professor must "unfailingly" be found in house no. 15, and most assuredly in apartment 47. First of all there's apparently a little mistake, because in Bulgakov's original text is written number 13, apartment 47. Bulgakov actually describes the apartment of his friends the Liamins. Nikolai Nikolaevich Liamin, literary scholar and translator, and Natalia Abramovna Liamina-Ushakova, his artist-wife, lived at Savelievsky pereulok 12, apartment. 66. The story of the Liamins will come back later in the novel, in Nikanor Ivanovich's dream in chapter 15. Primuses "On the oven in the semi-darkness silently stood about a dozen extinguished primuses". The shortage of living space after the revolution led to the typical Soviet phenomenon of the communal apartment, in which several families would have one or two private rooms and share kitchen and toilet facilities. The primus stove, a portable one-burner stove fuelled with pressurized benzene, made its appearance at the same time and became a symbol of communalapartment life. Each family would have its own primus. The primus will play an important role further on in The Master and Margarita, when Koroviev and Behemoth bid Moscow farewell. Two wedding candles In the Orthodox marriage service, the bride and groom stand during the ceremony holding lighted candles. These are special, large, often decorated candles, and are customarily kept indefinitely after the wedding, sometimes in the corner with the family icon. The Moscow River amphitheatre

The place "on the granite steps of the Moscow River amphitheatre", where Ivan dives swallow-fashion into the water, is at the foot of what had been the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. "Had been", because in 1931, while Bulgakov was writing The Master and Margarita, the cathedral was dynamited by the Soviet regime. The remaining granite steps and amphitheatre were originally a grand baptismal font at the riverside, popularly known as the Jordan. The cathedral has now been rebuilt. The incongruous bathing of Ivan can be assimilated with a christening. From this instant, Ivan is not any more the same.
Click here to read the story of the cathedral

Yevgeny Onegin Yevgeny Onegin is a great novel in verse written by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837), wich inspired Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) to write an opera of the same name, of which the libretto is written by the composer's brother Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1850-1916). Tatyana, mentioned further on, is the heroine of Yevgeny Onegin. Yevgeny Onegin is a symbol of the classical Russian culture that Ivan and his fellows professionaly rejected. He is invited by this music to feel sorry for the hero of the opera, to find again what he had humiliated, and to reconcile with his roots. The polonaise comes from all the houses at the same time - they were equipped with radio's with one unique programme. With this description Bulgakov shows the standardization of culture in the Soviet society.
Click here to listen to "the hoarse roar" of the polonaise from the opera

A Tolstoy blouse A Tolstoy blouse or Tolstoy shirt is a traditional full Russian shirt with the collar opening on one side of the neck. The original name is (kosovorotka) or skew-collared. It came to be associated with Tolstoy, who liked to dress in peasant costume and mow the meadow with his peasants. Hence the name (tolstovka). Since they were non-Western, such shirts were at various times signs of Russian nationalism.

5. there were doings at griboedov's


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 5

Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov (1795-1829) was a poet, playwright and diplomat, and best known as the author of the comedy (Gorye ot uma) or Woe from Wit, the first real masterpiece of the Russian theatre
Click here to read more of the Griboedov house

M. V. Spurioznaya In the original Russian text the person to whom should be applied for One-Day Creative Trips is not called M. V. Spurioznaya, but . . (M.V. Podlozhnaya). This name is not without a meaning: the Russian word (podlozhny) means false, untrue, faked. Perelygino

The name is clearly meant to suggest the actual Peredelkino, a writers' village near Moscow where many writers were allotted country houses. It was a privileged and highly desirable place. The name Perelygino is not just a simple transformation of Peredelkino, because the Russian word (lgun) means liar. In one of the earlier versions of the novel this writers' village was called (Perevrakino), which comes from (vraki) or lies. What it boils down to is that Perelygino means as much as Liars' Village.
Click here to read more about Peredelkino

Yalta, Suuk-Su... (Winter Palace) To this list of resort towns in the Crimea, the Caucasus and Kazakhstan, Bulgakov incongruously adds the Winter Palace in Leningrad, which was the former residence of the emperors. And what a restaurant! Until the last days of the Soviet Union, restaurants belonging to the Writers' Union, the Journalists' Union, the Union of Cinematographers, and theActors' Union were among the best and cheapest in Moscow, but to get in, one needed an ID from these organizations. Amvrosy and Foka Amvrosy comes from Greek word (ambrosia), meaning immortaland it was also the name of the food of the gods conferring immortality on whoever consumes it. Foka is the name of the hero of the fable Demyan's Fish Soup of the most famous Russian fabulist Ivan Andreevich Krylov(1769-1844). Foka rejects excess, notably of foods. The Coliseum, where you can get slapped in the mug with a bunch of grapes by a young man Some Bulgakov scholars think that the (Kolizej) or Coliseum is the restaurant of hotel Metropol in Moscow. But it is more likely that Bulgakov aimed at the (Dom Soyuzov) or House of the Unions, and more in particular its (Kolonnyi zal) orColonnade. Because could be a contraction of . Why I think so becomes clear when you know that on August 17, 1934 the First Congress of the newly created (Soyuz Sovyetskikh Pisateley) or Writers' Union started in this hall. Bulgakov was not invited for this event, but he had heard how things went on it. The delegates were spoiled rather generously. Per person and per day the organisation spent 40 roubles on food. For comparison: an ordinary dinner was about 85 kopecks in those days, and in a fancy restaurant you could pay up to 5 roubles for it. The incident with the bunch of grapes refers to the final banquet of the Congres in the Colonnade. Many people were drunk and a young poet had struck Alexander Yakovlevich Tairov (1885-1950), the director of the (Kamerny teater) or Chamber theater. In 1928-1929, Tairov had played more than 60 times Bulgakov's theatre play The Crimson Island. In it languished twelve writers In it languished twelve writers who had gathered for a meeting and were waiting for Mikhail Alexandrovich. This sentence is a typical example of the satirical device to swap situations from one world to another. The writers in Griboedov seem to be the apostles waiting for Jesus at the Last Supper.
Click here for a comprehensive presentation of the writers

Klyazma The Klyazma is a river in the Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Vladimir Oblasts in Russia, a left tributary of the Oka River. The length of the river is 686 km. Bulgakov situates his Perelygino at the Klyazma river bank although the actual Peredelkino was situated at the other side of Moscow, in the southwest Dachas A dacha is a summer house in the Russian countryside. The Russian custom to have a summer house in the countryside originated in the first years after the construction of Saint Petersburg. Peter the Great (1672-1725) gave (the word dacha comes from dach, to give) pieces of land in the countryside to highly ranked officials to build a villa. By doing so he bound his people to himself and he could extend his new city at the same time. Until the end of the twentieth century the dacha was a coveted, but also an uncomfortable possession. Living on the dacha was associated by the authorities with doing nothing and with the unproductive use of land. According to the communist ideology free time should be spent to the advancement of the socialist society and the personal development to become a good citizen. But, like in many other situations, faithful officials, military officers and writers could enjoy it fully. The atmosphere in a dacha during the Stalin era is extremely well depicted in the movie (Utomlyonnye Solntsem), also known as Soleil Trompeur of director Nikita Sergeevich Michalkov from 1994, which plays almost entirely in and around a dacha in 1936.
Click here to read more about the Russians and their dachas Click here to read more about Soleil Trompeur

Lavrovitsj
Click here for a more comprehensive description of Lavrovich

Zheldybin I don't know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for the writer Zheldybin, Berlioz' assistant in Massolit, summoned by telephone from his sick wife's side. Hallelujah This charleston written by Vincent Youmans (1898-1946), and which Bulgakov loved very much, appears three times in the novel. Follow the link you can read more about it, listen to it, or to watch the Griboedov jazz band playing it.
Click here to read more about Hallelujah

One Karsky shashlik One Karsky shashlik! Two Zubrovkas! Home-style tripe! a voice commands through a megaphone while the jazz band plays Halleluja. Normally one would not expect a comment to this order, until I noticed that different dishes are ordered in the Dutch, English and French translations and that they don't correspond to Bulgakovs text. Have a look:

Karbonade eenmaal! Sjasliek tweemaal! Van de haas driemaal! (Fondse Prins) Chops once! Kebab twice! Chicken a la King! (Glenny) One Karsky shashlik! Two Zubrovkas! Home-style tripe! (Pevear) Une brochette la kars, une ! Deux vodka Zoubrovka, deux ! En flacons de matres! (Ligny) In the Russian source text we can read: ! ! , which should be translated as: One Karsky shashlik! Two Zubrovkas! One Fliyaki gospodarskye! I admit, it's not easy. But today the internet offers all possibilities to find out what it's all about. Karsky shashlik is a Karsky meat spit - prepared like they do at the Kara Sea (which is a part of the Arctic Ocean). It's an unusual dish, because in the northern part of Siberia one expects fish dishes rather than meat. Zubrovka is a Polish vodka with a tincture (alcoholic solution) of Hierochloe odorata, also called sweetgrass or bison grass. That's why it may not be imported into the United States, since sweetgrass contains like many other gramineous or meadow plants, coumarin. This substance has a sweet scent, readily recognised as the scent of newly-mown hay, but it's also carcinogenic. No wonder that the translators didn't know how to deal with Fliyaki gospodarskye. Because the Russians hardly know it either. On dozens of websites is asked ? or what is Fliyaki gospodarskye for heaven's sake and how do you eat it? The English home-style tripe translation by Pevear is closest to the truth. The authors of the website www.cooking.ru found the answer after a long search effort. It's a soup of intestines and to prepare it you need: 1kg of intestines of beef, 400 grams of vegetables, 500 grams of bones of beef, 60 grams of lard, 30 grams of flower, nutmeg, red and black pepper, ginger, oregano, salt, and 50 grams of Swiss cheese. ! (Priatnevo appetita!) Bon apptit! A handsome dark-eyed man with a dagger-like beard, in a tailcoat The descrption that follows is of a pirate in the Carribean Sea. Bulgakov introduces Archibald Archibaldovich, the manager of the restaurant, also known as "the pirate".
Click here to read more about Archibald Archibaldovich

Oh, gods, my gods, poison, bring me poison!... The narrator quotes once more the words of Verdi's Ada which Pilatus already used in chapter 2 of the novel. Let's not burden the telegraph wires any more The novel is interlarded with references to works of other Russian writers. Here with this expression Bulgakov quotes the Russian poet VladimirVladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930), with whom he often played billiard, but who would, in 1928, join the ones who summoned to ban The Days of the Turbins. Mayakovsky committed suicide in 1930. Here's an excerpt from the unfinished poem Bulgakov refers to: there's to burden you with the lightning of my cables. But, as for us, we're alive! Yes, he's dead, dead... But, as for us, we're alive! Here Bulgakov quotes from the novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy(1828-1910). It's from Tolstoys late period and it is considered as one of his best no need

works. The characters of this story had exactly the same reaction when Ivan Ilyich died: everyone who heard of it sais: Well, he's dead, but, as for me, I'm alive!" What last name begins with "W"? We, Wi, Wa, Wu Wagner? A new reference to another literary work. This time to Goethes Faust. Wagner is the research assistant of doctor Faust. Coachman Though increasingly replaced by automobiles, horse-drawn cabs were still in use in Moscow until around 1940. Thus the special tribe of Russian coachmen persisted long after their western counterparts disappeared Riukhin

6. schizophrenia, as was said


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 6

Greetings, saboteur! Here and a little further on Ivan uses standard terms from Soviet mass campaigns against so-called enemies of the people. Anyone thought to be working against the aims of the ruling party could be denounced and arrested as a saboteur. Actually, Ivan says , , which means Hi, vermin!. But the translation is correct in its meaning, because the Soviets had countless synonims to define saboteurs, and (vreditel) or vermin is one of them. It was mainly used to indicate someone who worked against the regime from inside by sabotaging the machines or by messing up the production planning. That giftless goof Sashka This reproach from Ivan Bezdomny to Riukhin is based on the animosity between their prototypes, the poets Alexander Illich Bezymensky (1898-1973) and Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930), who didnt get along. Mayakovsky called Bezymensky "a nothing. . . ersatz (carrot) coffee." A typical little kulak (kulak) is actually Russian for fist, but it's also the name given to rich or successful peasants in the Soviet Union. Stalin ordered their liquidation in 1930. After the abolishment of the serfdom in 1861 a minority of farmers in the Russian Empire succeeded to develop to a prosperous and independent peasant class. The power and influence of these kulaks in the villages was dashed by the communists. The medium-sized farmers, the serednyaki, were forced to join kolkhozy or collective state farms.
Read more about the kulaks on the Stalin regime page

Those resounding verses he wrote for the First of May In the Russian text Bulgakov didnt say the verses where on the First of May. There is written: , ! or Compare it to those resounding verses he wrote for

the first! So Bulgakov didn't specify which first, which made the English translators Burgin and O'Connor think that Riukhkins verses were aboutNew Year. But it were indeed verses for the First of May, as we can conclude from the excerpt "Soaring up and soaring down!" Though this is a very "free" translation, because the original Russian text of the poems sounds like ! !"... which means Stand up! Yes, disperse!This text is an excerpt from the poem Jubilee, written by Mayakovski on the occasion of May 1, 1924. It was the day the Russians celebrated the 125th anniversary of Pushkin's birthday.
Click here to listen to the poem in Russian

May 1 is the International Labour Day. The date of May 1 wasnt chosen by coincidence. In the United States May 1 was called Moving Day. On that day all existing labour contracts and all existing housing contracts were to be renewed. On the May 1 celebration in 1886 there were heavy fights in Chicago. In Europe the socialist movement decided on July 21, 1889, at the first congress of the Second International in Paris, to celebrate May 1 as Labour Day. The aim was to support the growing demands for an 8 hours working day. On May 1, 1890 the first celebrations were organized in many countries. A metal man The metal man, his head inclined slightly, gazing at the boulevard with indifference is a description of the big statue of Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837). The big statue, because there are several statues of Pushkin in Moscow. This metal man stands on Pushkin square, very near to Tverskaya ulitsa, the busiest shopping street in Moscow.
Click here to read more about the most famous of all Russian poets

The snowstorm covers This is the first line of Winter Evening (1825), which is one of Pushkin's most anthologized poems.
Click here to hear the poem in Russian

A glass of Abrau wine in his hand Abrau-Durso is a city in the Novorossyisk region in Russia where, since 1870, champagne and wines are produced. The vintages are situated at the Black sea coast. It was prince Lev Sergeevich Golitsyne (1845-1916) who brought to Russia the recepy of champagne discovered 200 years earlier by the monkDom Pierre Prignon (16381715). He started the production of it in Abrau Durso.

7. a naughty apartment
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 7

Stepan (Styopa) Bogdanovich Likhodeev Styopa Likhodeev is director of the Variety Theatre who wakes up with an hangover and sees that Woland is waiting for him. He lives in the notorious apartment 50, together with the unfortunate Berlioz. (Likhodie) means scoundrel, blackguard, villain or rogue.
Click here to read a comprehensive description of Likhodeev

A big, six-storeyed, U-shaped building on Sadovaya Street A difficult case, this sentence. Which is due to just one simple Russian word: (pokoy). Bulgakov's original text presents Styopas house as follows: " , ." I tried - and I must admit, it was with more than just a little help from my dictionary - to translate it as: " in a big house of five storeys, peacefully situated in Sadovaya street. But the English translators Richard Pevear and his spouse Larissa Volokhonsky had another point of view. They had not translated the word (pokoyem) - a declined form of the word (pokoy), which means peaceful. But instead, they had apparently read somewhere that the building was U-shaped, because they wrote about: " a big, six-storeyed, U-shaped building on Sadovaya Street ". But, according to my dictionary, the term u-shaped is normally translated in Russian as (podkovoyobrazny). So I decided to look at other translations as well and guess what? Nobody uses the word peaceful, and the Dutch translators Marko Fondse and Aai Prins seemed to have seen also a five-storeyed, U-shaped building too. And this seemed to be due to this word: (pokoy). Because the word seems to have another meaning besidespeaceful. Until about 1900 the Russians used the Church Slavonic names to indicate the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet. And the Church Slavonic name for the letter which is now known as Pe, and written as was (pokoy). So the Russian text could possibly have been translated as: " a six-storeyed, -shaped building on Sadovaya Street. But since the letter does not exist in our alphabet, Pevear and Volokhonsky, just like Fondse and Prins, simply turned it upside down by making it a U. The French translators, just like the English translator Michael Glenny solved this problem in a rather pragmatic way. They did not translate the word at all, as if it wasnt in the source text. But the translators obviously never saw the house on Sadovaya street because, if they had, they would have known that the building was not -shaped, but in a rectangular shape, with a completely surrounded patio. And so it was in Bulgakov's time. But, different from today, it was a very peaceful neighbourhood. In front of the building, like on many places on theGarden Ring, there was a very broad footway with trees and bushes... very much (pokoj) thus... One more observation: the attentive reader may have noticed that the Dutch translator counted five storeys, and the English translator counted six. In Bulgakov's text is written (shestiyetazhnom) or six storeys. The English and French translators take this literarily and write about six storeys too. This confusion is due to the fact that in Russia the ground floor is considered as the first floor. So the building has six floors: five storeys and the ground floor.
Click here to read more about Click here to see a 360 photo of Bolshaya Sadovaya the house on Bolshaya Sadovaya

Anna Frantsevna de Fougeray


Click here to read more about this character

Belomut I don't know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for this character. On a day off

During the first Five-year Plan the Soviet government experimented a few times with the calendar. In the period of the Eternal Calendar the weekly days of rest were spread. Enterprises could decide on which day their labourers had their day off. In 1939 the seven-day week was restored.
Click here to read more of it on the Calendar Issues page

People began to disappear Here, as throughout The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov treats the everyday Soviet phenomenon of disappearances (arrests) and other activities of the secret police in the most vague, impersonal and hushed manner. The main example is the arrest of the master himself in Chapter 13, which passes almost without mention. Aspirin In the Russian version Styopa is asking for a (Pyramidon). Pyramidon is a medicine against pain and fever of the same type as aspirin. Here I am! Bulgakov quotes in Russian translation: ! which are the exact words said by Mephistopheles when he first appeared to Faust in the opera Faust, written by the French composer Charles Gounod (1818-1895): Me voici!. It was also one of the first working titles for The Master and Margarita.
Click here to see Mephistoteles' appearance Click here to read more about the other working titles of the novel to Faust in the opera

Skhodnya (Skhodnya) is a suburb north of Moscow. Professor of black magic Woland Woland introduces himself to Styopa with a German name for Satan, which appears in several variants in the old Faust legends, Woland, Faland, Wieland
Click here for a comprehensive description of Woland

Findirector (findirector) is a typical Soviet contraction for financial director - the Soviet language was interspersed with such expressions, likeMassolit, Dramlit, Nakompros, Komsomol and much more. An enormous wax seal A seal on the door was, in general, the sign that someone was arrested and his possessions were sealed for further investigation. That is why Styopa is afraid of some dubious conversation he had with Berlioz on some unnecessary subject. Styopa immediately assumes that Berlioz has been arrested, hence his disagreeable thoughts about whether he may have compromised himself with the editor and thus be in danger of arrest himself. Voronezh

(Voronezh) is a big city in the south of Russia, not far from Ukraine. In the period that Bulgakov worked on The Master and Margarita it had an explosive expansion. It grew from 120.000 people (1926) to 345.000 (1939). And the growth would not stop, because today there are some 850.000 people living in Voronezh. Azazello Bulgakov adds an Italian ending to the Hebrew name Azazel, a demon who lived in the wilderness.
Click here to read more about Azazello

Yalta The city of (Yalta) is located on the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea. The city is known by the Conference of Yalta, which took place in February 1945. That meeting place was chosen because Stalin refused to travel farther than the Black Sea Resort. In Yalta the spheres of influence of the United States and the Soviet Union after the war were defined. They would last for about 45 years.

8. the combat between the professor and the poet


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 8

Stravinsky's hospital It was probably the Khimki City Hospital No. 1 on which Bulgakov based the clinic where Ivan meets the Master for the first time. It was built in 1907, originally as a dacha for business man and benefactor Sergei Pavolvich Patrikeev (1867-1914). Patrikeev was member of the Moscow City council an honorary curator of the Tsar Aleksei school. The house was designed by the famous architect Frantz Schechtel, pseudonym of Fyodor Osipovich Shechtel (1859-1926), who had also conceived the Moscow Art Theatre MKHAT in 1902, and who designed much more remarkable houses in Moscow.
Click here for a comprehensive description of the hospital

Looky there! Just like the Metropol! The Metropol hotel was built between 1899-1903 by William Walcott(1874-1943). This posh art-nouveau hotel has 400 rooms and suites and it is decorated with mosaics by the artist Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910). The Metropol has been the site of many historic events, including speeches by Lenin and the 1918-1919 meetings of the Central Committee of the Russian Republic. It became one of the hotels specially designated for foreigners. It is still one of the most luxurious hotels in Moscow.

9. koroviev's stunts
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 9

Bosoy Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoy is chairman of the tenants' association of block 302 bis on Bolshaya Sadovaya..: He had quite some power in his quasi-official function. In the Soviet Union there was a permanent shortage of housing accomodation and the chairman was in an ideal position to take bribes in exchange for preferential treatment.
Click here to read more about Nikanor Bosoy

Of supernatural speed

The news of Berlioz's death spread with a sort of supernatural speed. In chapter 1 Bulgakov decribed horn -rimmed glasses of a supernatural size. Bulgakov makes many little jokes about the Soviet governments habit to exaggerate, especially the own realizations. Meat dumplings In the English translation of Pevear and Volokhonsky is written the description of the theft of some meat dumplings. In the original text is written (pelmeni). Pelmeni are Russian, originally Siberian meat dumplings sometimes called Siberian ravioli. They would be made in large quantities and frozen (originally outside) to be boiled later. A little checkered jacket, a jockey's cap, and a pince-nez Koroviev's costume here recalls that of the devil who appears to Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov written by Fyodor Michailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881). Today I'm an unofficial person, and tomorrow, lo and behold, I'm an official one! This is meant both as an indication of the chaos of Soviet life and as a nod to Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol (18091852): in his novel Overcoat a major character, the communal officer Akaky Akakiyewich Bashmatskin is known only as an unimportant person who becomes important just because hes got a new overcoat.. Let's say it's Koroviev Koroviev makes clear that his name is not important, merely tentative, just like Woland's nationality. And thats what makes the good Soviet ciizens agitated, because its very non -Russian. These foreign tourists In the original Russian version the term (Intourist) is used. Its derived from (Inostranny Tourist) or Foreign Tourist, which was an organisation in the Soviet Union which served as a travel agency, but also as a branch of the NKVD to keep an eye on dangerous foreigners. Intourist was created in 1929 by Stalin. After the collapse of the Soviet Union it was privatized. It is now property of the Moscow based Sistema, and its one of the most important tourist organisations in the world with a huge network of banks, hotels and exchange offices. But where are the witnesses? Pilate makes a similar comment to Kaifa in Chapter 2. Messire As is the case with Pilate, who is to be adressed as Hegemon, there is an appropriate way to address Woland. Messire is a French honorific used for lords and priests. Speculating in foreign currency The Soviet rouble was not a convertible currency, and the government therefore had great need of foreign currency for trade purposes. Soviet citizens were forbidden to keep foreign currency. Speculating in currency could even be a capital offence.

Click here to read more about foreign currency

The portrait of some old man Bulgakov describes the 100-dollar bills with the picture of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), political theorist, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, satirist, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Timofei Kondratyevich Kvastsov Kvastsov lives in appartment 11 of Bolshaya Sadovaya 302-bis. We know that when Koroviev uses his name to turn in Bosoy to the secret police. Just to be on the safe side, they arrest Kvastsov as well. Kvastsov's name comes from

10. news from yalta


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 10

The Variety Theatre The or Variety Theatre is a fictitious building. Bulgakov based it on the Moscow Music Hall from the 20's, which was situated on Triumfalnaya square where now the Satire Theatre is located, at only a few steps of Bolshaya Sadovaya number 10.
Click here for a comprehensive description of the Variety Theatre

Varenukha The name Varenukha is derived from the name of an Ukrainean cocktail made of honey, berries and spices boiled in vodka. It was the favourite drink of the cossacks
Click here for a comprehensive description of Varenukha

A super-lightning telegram In the Russian text is written: . . It means: Super -lightning for you. Sign. The word telegram is not mentioned, because the Russians know what it is. In the Soviet Union, and certainly in the Stalin era, it was common to portray the realizations of the state organisations, and thus the telegraph services as well, in an exaggerated and positive way. Bulgakov didnt have to change much to parody it. Super-lightning was only a little step more than the term Lightning which was really used by the postal services to describe a telegram. Varenukha will see a lightning soon anyhow. A false Dimitri the Yalta impostor An impostor is a person who takes over authority or possessions in an illegal way. Russia has known three such impostors in the so-called (Smutnoye Vremya) or Time of Troubles. The Time of Troubles is the period from 1604 to 1613, which was the most turbulent period in Russias history before the Russian revolution. After the death of czar Fyodor I Ivanovich (1584-1598), the feeble-minded son of czar Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584), it was Boris Godunov (1551-1605), Fyodors father-in-law, who became czar in 1598. Another son of Ivan the Terrible, Dimitri Ivanovich (1581-1591), died from a stab wound, under mysterious circumstances seven years before, when he was ten years old.

After that three false Dimitris have presented themselves. The first was Grigori Otrepyev ( 1606) who was in fact an ambitious monk. He actually succeeded, with support of the Polish, the cossacks and the peasants, to become czar Dimitri I on June 30, 1605. Less than one year later he was killed. In 1608 a second false Dimitri made, with the support of the Polish, the Germans and the cossacks, another attempt to appoint a Polish-minded czar in Moscow. When an important part of his army of 100.000 troops went over to Sigismund III (1566-1632), he ran away. His real name was never known but it is believed that he was the son of a priest or a converted Jew. He was called the thief of Tushino. The third false Dimitri, who was supposed to be a dean named Sidorka, declared himsel, on March 28 1611, with support of the Swedish, czarDimitri Ivanovich II and managed to get support of some cossacks in 1612. But the cossacks created havoc in the neighbourhood of Moscow, and he was arrested on May 18, 1612 and executed by the commanding officers in Moscow. The false Dimitris were also called Pseudo-demetrius (Latin), Lzhedmitri(misleading Samozvanets (Dimitri, the self-declared ruler). Dimitri) or Dimitri

The Time of Troubles ended on February 21, 1613 with the election of czar Michael Fyodorovich Romanov (15961645), the first czar of the Romanov dinasty, the rulers over Russia until the 1917 revolution. Rocks, my refuge Starrender Fels, mein Aufenthalt are words from the collection of songs Schwanengesang (Swan-song) no. 5, written by Franz Schubert(1797-1828),. The lyrics were written by Ludwig Rellstab (1799-1860), and were inspired by Goethe's Faust. Take it there personally. Let them sort it out. Now that is really clever! thought Varenukha when Rimsky gave these orders . Another oblique reference to the secret police. By now the reader should recognize the manner Mister's busy In the Russian text the word Mister is not used. But the translation is quite accurate. Varenukha asks to speak to Woland, and the answer is: - They are busy. In plural. Wolands retinue often uses the plural form to refer to him. It was a somewhat archaic way to show respect, like the French form vous or the majestic plural we. It wasnt used anymore in Russia after the Revolution. A new Georgian tavern in Pushkino Pushkino is a town situated 29 km from Moscow, and known for its many dachas. There was a summer theatre where Anton Pavlovich Chekhov(1860-1904) rehearsed with the Moscow Art Theatre. It is possible that there was a restaurant called Yalta, since thats the place where Chekov came from. In the original Russian text the Georgian restaurant is mentioned by its typical name (cheburechnaya). A cheburechnaya is a tavern or restaurant specialised in (chebureks), a kind of very tasty folded Caucasian pancakes filled with meat. Comr citiz

Varenukha can't decide how to address his attackers. Forms of address are significant in the Soviet Union. Soviets were addressed as comradeunless they were suspected of a crime, in which case they became citizen.
Click here to read more on how Russians address each other

A completely naked girl - red-haired The woman with the red hair is Hella, a vampire. Her words "come let me give you a kiss" are reminiscent of the woman-vampire in the story Upyr(The Vampire) written by Aleksei Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817-1885), nephew of the better known Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910). The woman-vampire kisses one of the heroes and turns him into a vampire. (kvastsji), which is alum, the substance used in styptic pencils to disinfect cuts and stop bleeding .

11. ivan splits in two

English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 11

The former Ivan and the new Ivan Bulgakov describes the split of Ivans personality. Somewhere else in the book is made the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Today we know that people with schizophrenia have no split personalities, but it used to be a widely spread idea, certainly in the 30s. Schizophrenia was one of the most popular diagnoses when dissidents or saboteurs were arrested by the secret police. Its interesting to see which words Bulgakov is using in Russian to describe the old Ivan and the new Ivan. The most common word in Russian to describe old is (stary), but Bulgakov describes the old Ivan as (vetkhy), which also means old, but onl y used in the biblical term (Vetkhy Zavyet), or Old Testament. He was already picturing a palm tree on its elephant's leg In a previous version of the novel Ivan already dreamed of palm trees in de scene at Patriarchs Ponds. But there he was told sternly not to sing under the palms, because "that's not what they were planted for"!

12. black magic and its exposure


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 12

The title In the Russian title of chapter 12 the word (razoblatsyenye) is used for exposure. It is composed by the preposition - (raz-), which means out-, and the verb (oblachit), which means something like dress up. We will see that dressing up - and getting undressed again - will play an important role in this chapter. The Giulli family In the30s the (Truppa Poldi) or the Poldi company - artist name for the Podrezov family - showed its bicycle tricks in the Moscow Mu-sic Hall. On posters from that time the man in the yellow bowler-hat and the blond woman on a single wheel can be recognized. Where he had gone

Of course, Rimsky knew very well where Varenukha had gone - he had sent Varenukha there himself to let them sort it out - but he doesn't even dare to think the name of the secret police to himself. But what for? Varenukha did not come back from the not mentioned place. That almost obviously made Rimsky suppose that he was arrested. But he hesitates to call, since the unmentioned secret police is not an authority you spon-taneously contact by yourself. Because, one day, it could be turned against you. This certainly unpleasant, though hardly supernatural occurrence Again Bulgakov's humor here is at the expense of the Soviet reality. Tele-phones, even to this day, are extremely unreliable in Russia. Bengalsky
Click here to read a comprehensive description of Bengalsky

An armchair Woland's position in the theater is in a seat while he is watching the au-dience, which is a reversal of what we could expect. And indeed, the Mus-covites in the audience end up putting on more of a show than Woland himself. What do you think, the Moscow populace has changed significantly, hasn't it? While this statement would not normally be considered offensive, in the Soviet Union under Stalin it was a very subversive question to ask. Accor-ding to the Communist Party line, the people of the Soviet Union had arri-ved into the utopia of Communism. They were new Soviet men and wo-men. The Homo soveticus was a quite different species from any other human being on earth. They worked harder, knew more and were happier than anyone else. For Bulgakov to claim otherwise was dangerous. If it weren't for poker Poker, like other card games, was looked upon with sorrow by the Soviets. This changed dramatically after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow, and other cities as well, is swarmed w ith casinos. At the end of 2006 so-me of them were closed because they were connected to the Georgian maffia. Behemoth
Click here for a comprehensive description of Behemoth

Marred by a queer scar on her neck Gretchen - the Margarita from Goethes Faust, had exactly the same mark as Hella in the scene on Walpurgis Night. Guerlain, Chanel No. 5, Mitsouko, Narcisse Noir Of course Parisian clothing and perfumes would have been completely inaccessible to the average Soviet woman. The incomprehensible but se-ductive words of the perfume brands are all phonetically written in Russian letters. In the Russian text Bulgakov writes , , , which i s not a Russian sentence, but a French sen-tence in Russian letters. The word noir (French for black), for instance, is not written as

the Russian word (cherny), meaning black, but it is left (nouar). Just like the (kokteyl) in (plat-ya kokteyl) or cocktail dresses.
Click here to read more about foreign words in Russian

By God, they're real! Ten-rouble bills! The English translators of The Master and Margarita - just like their Dutch and French colleagues - obviously missed some of Bulgakov's satire here. Because they translated as follows: His neighbours hovered over him, and he, in amazement, picked at the wrapper with his fingernail, trying to find out if the bills were real or some sort of magic ones. - By God, they're real! Ten-rouble bills! joyful cries came from the gallery . In the original Russian text though, Bulgakov did not write about roubles, he described another monetary unit from the Soviet period, the chervonets. A correct translation would have been: - By God, they're real! Chervontsi! joyful cries came from the gallery. Bulgakov never uses the term ten-rouble bills in The Master and Margarita. He always writes (chervonets) or better the plural (chervontsy), which gives a complete other dimension to the question if the bills were real or some sort of magic ones. The chernovets was indeed the new monetary unit introduced by the Soviet government in 1922 to stop the hyperinflation and restrain chaos in the money standard during the civil war.
Click here to read more Here you can read when and why Bulgakov uses the word 'chervonets" about the chervontsi

Arkady
Click here for a comprehensive description of Arkady Sempleyarov

The mass of spectators demands an explanation "The mass of spectators" is typical Soviet jargon. Semplejarov asks his own question but he presents it like if it were the mass asking for it. The people or the masses were ostensibly in control. The Acoustics Commission building on Clean Ponds There was no such Acoustics Commission in the Soviet Union. Bulgakov found his inspiration in the or the Directorate of Theatrical and Show Enterprises (UTZP). The office of this organisation was at Chistye Prudy (Clean Ponds).
Click here to read more about the UTZP.

The role of Louisa Arkadys young relation refers to the character Louisa Miller from the playKabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love), written by the German dramatist and writer Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805). The play, first performed in 1784 in Frankfurt, was a fixture in the repertories of Soviet theatres.

The rollicking words to this march These words are Bulgakovs free adaptation of a tune from a vaudeville from 1839, written by Dmitri Timofeevich Lensky (1805-1860). The title of the piece was , or Lev Gurych Sinichkin, or a Provincial Debutante. It's the story of an old actor who desperately wants to offer a major role in the theatre to his talented daughter. But the powerful prima donna of the theatre company, a woman with a bad character and a whole network of relations, is standing in her way. After many heroic efforts and cheerful misunderstandings the old man's dream eventually comes true, and the star actress causes scandal with her patron. This vaudeville was performed from 1924 to 1931 in Moscow at the Vakhtangov theatre on the Arbat, alongside the apartment that Bulgakov had described in his theatre play Zoyka's apartment. Director Alexander Belinsky (1928) made a TV-movie of this vaudeville in 1974 - (Lev Gurych Sinichkin). The leading roles were played by Nikolai Trofimov and Galina Fedotova. The song His Excellency which Bulgakov describes in The Master and Mar-garita doesn't sound exactly as in the original vaudeville. The so-called rol-licking words of the march are as follows - at the top you can read Dmitri Lensky's original words, and below Bulgakovs adaptation: Original
(Russian)

Original
(translation Kevin Moss)

. Bulgakov's version
(Russian)

His Excellency calls her his own and even patronage renders to her. Bulgakov's version
(Translation Pevear/ Volokhonsky)

!!!

His Excellency reached the stage Of liking barnyard fowl. He took under his patronage Three young girls and an owl!!!

13. the hero enters


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 13

The title The Russian title is (Yavleniye geroya) which could be translated as The apparition of the hero. The word (Yavleniye) orApparition is often used in the Bible when Christ shows himself to the people or his disciples. Clean-shaven... The Master is introduced as "a clean-shaven, dark-haired man of approximately thirty-eight, with a sharp nose, anxious eyes, and a wisp of hair hanging down on his forehead." Bulgakov himself was 38 years old in 1929. Some readers recognize Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol (1809-1852) in this description. Gogol burned the manuscript of the second part of Dead Souls. Here we sit The verb which is used by Bulgakov in the Russian text - (sidim) - means we sit, but also we are in prison.

I cannot stand noise, turmoil, force, or other things like that. The Master's aversion to noise and screaming almost literally repeats the words of Wagner in Faust. You dislike my poetry? The Master dislikes Ivan's poetry without ever having read it. Bulgakov is commenting on the low quality and unoriginal nature of accepted and published Soviet poetry. If Ivan is published and famous, it means he can't be good! Is your poetry good? "Monstrous!" Bulgakov writes indeed or monstrous. Even Ivan is aware that his officially-approved poems are no good. The English translator Michael Glenny got this a little wrong in 1967. He translated Ivans reaction as "stupendous". Currency in the ventilation, Pushkin, Kurolesov Bulgakov again introduces a character without letting us know who he is. The explanation will follow in chapter 15. Kurolesov is the actor who recites excerpts of The Covetous Knight of the Russian poet Pushkin in Nikanor Ivanovichs dream. The critic Latunsky The critic Latunsky is probably a hint at one of Bulgakov's indefatigable enemies, Olaf Semenovich Litovsky (18921971), the chairman of theTheatrical Repertoire Committee (Glavrepertkom).
Click here to read a comprehensive description of Latunsky

Mstislav Lavrovich Lavrovich is a parody of Vsevolod Vitalyevich Vishnevsky (1900-1951), a writer and playwright who was an archrival of Bulgakov. He prevented the production of his plays (The Flight) and ("Molire).
Click here for a comprehensive description of Lavrovich

The opera "Faust" Bulgakov mentions his favorite opera here, while elsewhere he merely uses the details, or indirect references. But thats not enough in this situation, because Ivan obviously did not understand the hints which could have make him understand that he met the devil at Patriarchs Ponds. A black cap with the letter M embroidered on it in yellow silk "I see, I see, Ai-yai-yai, what a thing!!", Ivan rasped after the Masters hint to Faust. The Master shows himself to Ivan both in profile and full face, to prove that he is a master. Besides, Bulgakov himself had such a cap. I no longer have a name The Master's name is never revealed in the novel. "I no longer have a name" also means: I lost my identity.

In the movie picture The Master and Margareth (1972) director Aleksandar Petrovic makes, in my humble opinion, an unforgivable mistake by giving a name to the Master. Personally I think you should not do it, but you can get to know it by clicking here. One day he won a hundred thousand roubles with a state bond Lotteries were arranged by the Soviet government to fund various activities. One way to do this was by the emission of state bonds. Citizens were "asked" to buy state bonds at work, like the Master did it at the museum. Often there was a lottery connected to it by which some bonds could win an important amount of money. Because there were not many safe places, the Master kept his bond in the basket of dirty laundry. A room on Myasnitskaya The (Myasnitskaya ulitsa) or in English Butchers street,connects Lubyanka square with Turgenevskaya square, close to Chistiye Prudy. Between 1935 and 1990 it was named Kirov street. Two rooms in the basement of a little house in the garden During the period of the New Economic Policy (NEP) private persons were allowed to build and possess small houses. In 1927 Bulgakov rented a couple of rooms from such owner - called (zastrojstsjik) orbuilder.
Click here for more information on the basement of the Master

A front hall with a sink in it Some older buildings in Moscow did not have running water yet. The Master is very pleased with his sink - he mentions it "with special pride". The reason for this pride is in the fact that in the communal apartments in that time there were only sinks in the shared rooms of kitchen and bathroom. So, other than most people, the Master could wash himself privately. In the movie picture [Est] Ouest director Rgis Warnier shows the allotment of rooms in a communal apartment.
Click here to watch a fragment of the film [Est] Ouest

The last words of the novel the fifth procurator of Judea, the equestrian Pontius Pilate. There is disagreement about the question whether Pilate was the fifth or the sixth procurator of Judea. Bulgakov chose for the fifth, and used exactly the same words to finish The Master and Margarita. There was a wonderful restaurant on the Arbat The wonderful restaurant is presumably the Praga, at Arbat 2, the first building you see when you go to the Arbat from the Arbatskaya metro station. Originally on this site was a restaurant frequented by cabbies and known as Bragahome brew. In 1896 the entire building was won by the merchant Pyotr Semenovich Tararykin on a bet at playing billiards with his left hand. He spared no expense in renovating the restaurant, employing the architect Lev Nikolayevich Kekushev (1862-1916/1919). Moscow's best chefs, Olivier and Testov worked here. After the revolution it became a cheap cafeteria, then in the 30's a special canteen for Stalin's bodyguards. Today it is again an expensive and elegant restaurant with nine palatial dining rooms and separate smaller private rooms. Repulsive, alarming yellow flowers

While the yellow flowers Margarita is carrying are not identified in Book One of the novel, they would be instantly recognizable to Muscovites of the Soviet period as mimosas, the first flowers to appear in the spring, and which were imported from the South. It is probably not insignificant that both the mimosas and Margarita are only named in Book Two. Margarita's flowers are a symbol of misery; yellow is the colour of the madhouse - state buildings were painted dark yellow - and "yellow house" means "madhouse". But yellow is also the color of betrayal - one should never give yellow flowers to a lover in Russia. In his TV-series Mistrz i Malgorzata the Polish director Maciej Wojtyszkoclearly shows how the Master dislikes yellow flowers.
Click here to see the meeting of the Master and Margarita

She turned down a lane from Tverskaya When Bulgakov and Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya met each other for the first time, they left a party on Bolshoi Gnezdnikovsky pereulok (just off Tverskaya!) to stroll around Moscow.
Click here to read more about this place

Tverskaya Tverskaya ulitsa still is Moscows main street. It was later renamed Gorki ulitsa, and then Tverskaya again (it is the road to Tver, later renamed Kalinin, now again Tver').

13. the hero enters (continued)


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 13 (continued)

Varenka Manechka striped dress The Master hardly remembers the name of the woman with whom he lived before he met Margarita. I dont know if Bulgakov had a real prototype in mind for Varenka or Manechka with the striped dress. Both Varenka and Manechka are Russian nicknames, for the first for Barbara, the other for Maria. This fragment reminds of a scene in The Return, a novel written by Andrei Bely (1880-1934), pseudonym of Boris Nikolayevich Bugayev, in which the hero, Yevgeny Handrikov, after a sojourn in a psychiatric hospital, doesn't remember the name of his wife, just the colour of her dress. Secret wife The Master's affair with Margarita mimics that of Bulgakov with Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya, who left her wellpositioned military husband for the relatively less-well-off writer. At first their affair was difficult because both were married, but Elena Sergeevna eventually became Bulgakov's wife. The character of Margarita only appeared in the novel after Bulgakov met Shilovskaya. He would never tell her name to anyone We will learn the name of the Master's lover in Book Two, but it will not be the Master who reveals it. The bureau and books from the painted floor to the sooty ceiling

In Chapter 13 the Master recalls the "writing desk. . . and the books, books that went from the painted floor to the soot-covered ceiling." This description matches perfectly Bulgakovs own study room. A novel on such a strange theme The policy toward literature adopted by the Communist party in 1928 is characterized by the term (sotsialnyi zakaz) or thesocial command. It was in connection with the first five-year plan and carried out by the Writers' Union RAPP and the editorial boards of publishing houses. Under this policy specific themes were dictated to writers with the goal of stimulating socialist construction. The theme assigned to Bezdomny, while not directly connected with the five-year plan, is meant to further the ideological ends of the state related to religion. Although the Soviet Union was an official atheistic state, the RAPP leaders made it clear that they supported such historical themes, if treated from the proper Marxist point of view. That Bulgakov is specifically ridiculing social command is indicated in the novel when his hero, the Master, recalls that the editor to whom he submitted his manuscript asked him, what in his opinion was a totally idiotic question: who had given him the idea to write a novel on such a strange theme?" A book about Pilate w as clearly not foreseen in the Master's social command. There are parallels between Bulgakov's life and the life of the Master. Bulgakov's first novel, The White Guard, was only partially published in a journal in 1925, but he read it to various literary groups, whose general reaction was that one could never get a work on such a subject published. The real attacks, however, came in 1926 when Bulgakov turned the novel into a hit play for the Moscow Art Theater under the name The Days of the Turbins. Nothing could have been stranger than Bulgakov's subject, which was about the fate of a pro-monarchist family in Kiev during the Civil War. The attacks described in this section of The Master and Margarita are clearly distillations of the ones various critics made on Bulgakov's plays. Ariman Bulgakov has given to a real critic - Leopold Leonidovich Averbach (1903-1939), secretary of the writers union RAPP, the or the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers, the name of the Persion evil spirit Ariman. Averbach was one of Bulgakovs fiercest opponents, in 1926 he wrote (Za proletarskuyu lieratury) or About the Proletarian Literature. Red petals strewn across the tide page Slanting rain The image of the slanting rain comes from the poem Back home! byVladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovski (18931930). Bulgakov must have known it from its magazine publication in 1926. When the poet compiled it later he deleted on the advise of his friend Osip Maksimovich Brik (1888-1945) the last lines, probably the best of the poem. They read as follows: I want understanding And if understanding fails to come? Then its just passes over slantingly I of my country, nothing more. what

pass like

in

vain territory rain

It looks like Bulgakov identifies himself with these verses through the Master.

Pilatism Bulgakov's archives contain excerpts from the newspaper Rabochaya Moskva, with an article We will strike and fight against Bulgakovism![Udarim po bulgakovshchine!]. In the novel Lavrovich writes an article in which he recommends "striking, and striking hard, at Pilatism " [udarit' po pilatchine]. Bulgakov was, like the Master, attacked by the press. In his letter to the Soviet authorities in 1930 he knew exactly how often. In ten years of authorship, he had read 301 articles on him in the soviet press, "among which: laudatory - 3, hostile-abusive - 298" His theatre plays were almost all banned. The initials "N.E." In the French and English translations of The Master and Margarita the initials "N.E." are mentioned, but in the Dutch translation we read the initials "M.Z.". In the Russian editions we find both. In the Russian text on the internet is written ".." or signed with the initials "N.E.", but in many printed versions of the novel we read ".." or signed with the initials "M.Z.". I don't know (yet) who is N.E., but the real prototype for M.Z. is M. Zagorsky, a writer and critic who wrote very bitter articles on Bulgakov's theatre play The Days of the Turbins. In an earlier version of the novel Bulgakov had given a name to this charac-ter corresponding to the initials Z.M.. He was called . (Z. Mishyak), which means Z. Arsenic. A militant Old Believer The (starovyery) or (staroobryadtsy) or Old Believers separated from the Russian Orthdox church in the 17th century as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, born as Nikita Minin (1605-1681). Latunsky uses this term somewhat vainly. On October 5, 1926, Bulgakov was called, in a similar way, a militant white guard by Alexander Robertovich Orlinski in Nasha Gazeta. Bulgakov's theatre play The Days of the Turbins was qualified as a "political demonstration in which the author winks to the rubbish of the White Guard". Joyless autumn days set in The time of year is meaningful to Russian readers, since autumn and spring were times of increased arrests, as the government tried to distract the populace from the regime's economic and cultural failures. Aloisy Mogarych It may surprise the reader why I mention the character Aloisy Mogarych on this page. In the English translations of Michael Glenn and Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky - and in many others - Mogarych only appears in chapter 24, when the Master and Margarita are together again. But in the original Russian text Aloisy Mogarych appears here already. He shows up in the Masters garden, introduces himself as a journalist, and proved to know amazingly much about the working methods and the criteria used by the authorities to ban manuscripts. The Master even tells Ivan that they became friends.
Click here to read Click here to read more Click here to see the meeting of the Master and Mogarych the about loose Aloisy end Mogarych

And started burning them

Bulgakov himself did this with a number of his manuscripts, including an early version of The Master and Margarita, in 1930, when he was effectively banned from the theaters. There came a knock at my window ... Only Ivan can hear what follows. But to the Russian reader it is clear that the Master is arrested. When he returns to his basement later it become clear that someone else lives there now: a gramophone was playing in my rooms. The reason is exposed in Book Two when Alois Mogarych is called to account at Wolands. Mid-January From the first chapter we know that Ivan was taken to the hospital on the fifteenth day of Nisan. With the detail of "mid-january" we now know that the Master spent three months in another institution. in the same coat but with the buttons torn off This laconic reference is the only indication of where the master spent those lost three months. It was customary to remove belts, shoelaces and buttons from the apparel of those held for questioning. Fear possessed every cell of my body Many of the details of the Master's anxiety are autobiographical. In the mid 1930's Bulgakov suffered from agoraphobia and was treated by various methods.

14. glory to the cock!


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 14

Eight bottles of dry white Ai-Danil Ai-Danil is a white wine from the Crimea (Ukraine). I never tried it myself, but in March 2004 a bottle Ai-Danil FurmintHarslevelu, vintage 1892, was sold by auction for 2.466 English pounds in Londen. The vent-pane The vent-pane is a so-called (fortochka). Its a small window in the bigger window for the purpose of ventilation. These fortochkas are extremely practical in the Russian winter, when one wants some ventilation without opening the entire double window. With the third crowing of the cock Bulgakov interweaves the theme of vampires being afraid of the dawn with the biblical story of Peters denial. (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-73; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:25-27). The movie theatre There was and still is a movie theater at Triumfalnaya ploshad, 3 across the Garden Ring from the Variety where Rimsky takes the taxi. First calledKhanzhonkov, then Mephrabpom, then Gorn, then Moskva. This is still its name, but today it is also known again as the Khanzhonkovs House Cinema. It is one of the few theatres to show only Russianmade films.

This movie theatre with 500 seats was created in 1913 by the famous film director Alexander Alekseevich Khanzhonkov (1877-1945). Leningrad station If there ever was a glass vault or cupola in the Leningrad station, then it is no longer there. Substantial reco15. nikanor ivanovich's dream
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 15

The title When the novel was published for the first time in 1966, the title of this chapter was simply Nikanor Ivanovich, since most of the chapter's text - and its title - was censored. After first visiting another place The reader already knows where Nikanor Ivanovich passed some time as a preliminary precaution before he got to Stravinsky's. The other place was, of course, the () or the Main Directorate for State Security (GUGB), the secret police organised by the () or thePeople's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), situated at Lubyanka square. The interrogation scene is written almost entirely in the indefinite personal form, which consists of the third person plural verb with no subject. We know somebody is doing the interrogating, but we never know who they are: [they] asked [they] raised their voice [they] hinted. Noteworthy is not only the impersonality of the interrogation that follows, but the combination in the interrogating voice of menace and tenderness. The same combination will reappear in Nikanor Ivanovich's dream - an extraordinary rendering of the operation of secret police within society, which also suggests the "theatre" of Stalin's trumped-up show trials of the later thirties. Quinquet lamps In 1780, the French chemist Joseph Louis Proust (1754-1826) invented an oil lamp in which the oil reservoir was higher than the wick: the oil, stored at a higher level than the nozzle, was pushed to it by its own weight. Later the Swiss physicist and chemist Franois Pierre Ami Argand (1750-1803) invented improvements on this lamp in such way that the light was much brighter than a candle, it burned cleanly, and it was cheaper than using candles. In France this Argand is hardly known though, because the French pharmacist Antoine Quinquet (1745-1803) used the improvements of both Proust and Argand to introduce the Quinquet lamp in 1784. Until today the British, Swiss and French antiquarians discuss the legitimacy of the name Quinquets because, except for the French, they all accuse Quinquet of industrial spying. In 1783 both Antoine Quinquet and Ami Argand had already co-operated in the construction of the hot air balloon which Jacques tienne Montgolfier(17451799) had offered to the French king. Bedsornev or Prolezhnov The perplexed and dispirited secretary of the house management is called Bedsornev in the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. In the Russian text he is called (Prolezhnev). Michael Glenny translitterated his name to Prolezhnov. (prolezjat) means laze away or lie down. This shows again how Bulgakov estimated such officials.

Turn over your currency In 1929 the OGPU (NKVD) started a campaign to extract foreign currency, gold, and jewels from the people. Suspicious (valyutshiki) orforeign currency speculators were held in prison cells for weeks at a time until they "voluntarily" gave up their currency and valuables. Various methods were used to "encourage" the prisoners to give up their valuables, including feeding them salty food and no water. More sinister methods are described in I Speak for the Silent (1935), written by professor VladimirVyacheslavovich Chernavin, a contemporary of Bulgakov. I Speak for the Silent was reprinted in 1964 in Readings in Russian Civilization, an historical text in three volumes published by professorThomas Riha, a lecturer of Russian history in Denver at the University of Colorado, but from Czech origin. In March 1970 Thomas Riha disappeared without a trace. In a theatre house Maybe the theater reflects the OGPU/NKVD methods, with fabricated charges and scripted trials. The prison where Nikanor Ivanovich is taken is doubly displaced - into a theater and a dream - perhaps to avoid the censor; yet it was still cut even in 1966. The audience was all of the same sex - male - and all for some reason bearded Another reference to the fact that the theatre stands for a prison. In theatres men and women are not segregated by sex, in prisons they are. The beards could be because the prisoners couldn't shave, or they could be a hint that the foreign currency speculators are Old Believers, like many merchants were, or Jews. All sitting? Sitting, sitting! Again the verb to sit is used to indicate a prison. The Soviet citizens didn't need to see the word prison, since the construction was so familiar. "You are sitting" means "you are in prison." Sergei Gerardovich Dunchil This is a very non-Russian sounding name, perhaps a combination of [Isadora] Duncan and [Winston] Churchill. Kharkov Kharkov, where Dunhils mistress Ida Herkulanovna Vors comes from, is an industrial town in the Ukraine. Ida Herkulanovna Vors Dunchil's mistress Ida Herkulanovna Vors has a very bizarre name. Herkulan is an extremely rare name, and (vors) refers to thefuzziness of cloths like wool or velvet. Sawa Potapovich Kurolesov The surname of this artist comes from the verb (kurolesit), which means playing tricks or act crazy. He was already introduced in chapter 13 The Covetous Knight The Covetous Knight, also called The Miserly Knight, is Pushkins little tragedy (Skuloy Ritsar) from 1830, from which the quoted lines are taken. It's about the demonic and destructive fascination of gold. A not so nice

father - the baron - refuses to help his son - Albert although he can afford it. Pushkin had similar problems with his father. The baron and Albert are about to fight a duel, which could be averted at the last moment. But the baron dies soon after that - from a natural cause. This little tragedy was used by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1905 as a libretto for his opera of the same name. As a young awaits a tryst with some sly strumpet These words are the first two lines of the second scene of The Miserly Knight. They are the start of the baron's long opening monologue. In Russian they present like this: -
Click here to listen Click here to read The Miserly Knight in Russian to

The

Miserly

Knight

in

Russian

And who's going to pay the rent - Pushkin? This "household" way of referring to Pushkin is common in Russia, showing how far the poet has entered into people's everyday life, though without necessarily bringing a knowledge of his works with him, like Bulgakov already showed: "And who's going to pay the rent - Pushkin? Then who did unscrew the bulb on the stairway - Pushkin? So who's going to buy the fuel - Pushkin?" The name Pushkin means something like "nothing" or "nobody".
Click here to read the Pushkin page

Nikolai Kanavkin Bulgakov's description here may be inspired by the stories of his friend, the philologist Nikolai Nikolaevich Liamin (1892-1941), who was held in custody for two weeks in 1931. Liamin's wife, the artist Natalia Abramovna Liamina-Ushakova (1899-1990) was from a famous merchant family, and her aunt had already been arrested. They were looking for a necklace. Liamin didn't mention the aunt until they brought her before him. This may explain Bulgakov's description to fetch the aunt and ask her kindly to come for the programme at the women's theatre. When they searched Liamin's apartment, they found only some costume jewelery, and he was released. Nikolai Liamin was a man with a wide and interesting knowledge who spoke several languages and who had collected a fine library. Bulgakov often addressed to him for advice. There great heaps... of gold are mine These lines come from an aria of Hermann, main character in Queen of Spades, an opera van Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto, written by the composer's brother Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is based on the story byAlexander Pushkin. nstructions in the late Soviet days have altered the form of all but the front of the station today.

16. the execution


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 16

Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain is Golgotha, which is the Armenian word for place of the skull. The Hebrew word gulglet means skull. Another name for Golgotha is Calvary. In the bible is written that this place, where the executions hap-pened, was situated outside Jerusalem, but without an exact location des-cription. In Kiev, Bulgakovs native town, there is a Bald Mountain too. It is told that witches gathered there to affirm Satan's rule over the world. The cavalry ala Ala is Latin, and means wing - both wing of a bird and wing of an army.Alaand its derivatives, Alares and Alarii were used in different or at least modi-fied senses at different periods. In the time of the Pilate story the terms alarii and cohortes alariae were transferred to the foreign troops serving along with the Roman armies, both infantery and cavalry, and they were referred to as dextera ala (right wing) and sinistra ala (left wing). The Hebron gate The main entrance gate to Jerusalem is the Jaffa gate. The Arab name of this gate is Bab el-Halil or Hebron gate. It means the Beloved which refers to Abraham, Gods beloved one who was buried in Hebron. The gate is at the west side of the city leading to the islamic and Armenian quarters. Bulgakov introduces an anachronism here, because in reality this gate did not yet exist in the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. The gate was only built in 1538 under the 10th Sultan of the House of Osman, Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566). In the city of Jerusalem, the rule of Suleiman and the following Ottoman Sultans brought an age of religious peace; Jews, Christians and Muslims enjoyed the freedom of religion that the Ottomans granted them. The Cappadocian cohort Cappadocia was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor, in Turkey. Cap-padocia used to be the most powerful province of Anatolia. The province was bounded in the south by the chain of Mount Taurus, to the east by the Euphrates, north by Pontus at the Black Sea, and west vaguely by the great central salt lake. Today Cappadocia is much smaller: now it is a piece of land between Kayseri and the three big lakes in the neighbourhood, on which the vulcanos Erciyas and the smaller Hassan Dagi poured out huge quantities of ashes, mud and lava during the big eruptions in history. A long, razor-sharp bread knife After the Hebron gate this is the second anachronism in this chapter, since bread was not cut with knives at the time, it was broken by the hand. "I curse you, God!" When Matthew Levi curses God and is convinced of God's injustice, it bears a striking resemblance to a part of the work of the Russian writerVladimir Zazubrin (1895-1937). In his novel (Dva mira) or Two worlds (1921) he writes about an officer of the White Army during the civil war who kneels before an icon and curses God: "You see? You see our tor-ments, evil old man? How stupid I was when I believed in your wisdom and goodness. Your joy is the suffering of men. No, I don't believe in you. You are the god of lies, violence, deception. You are the gd of inquisitors, sa-dists, executioners, robbers, murderers! You are their patron and defen-der."

Zazubrin was, like Bulgakov, one of Stalins favourite writers, but it didnt stop him to expose, like he did in 1926 with a controversial speech, the de-struction of the natural environment by the ambitious industrialization poli-cy. The sun had disappeared According to the Gospels, Jesus' death was followed by an earthquake and darkness. According to Luke the darkness was caused by a solar eclipse. Luke 23:44 - And it was almost the sixth hour: and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Bulgakov writes that the darkness was due to a storm cloud having swallowed the sun. Bulgakov made a note from The Life of Christ Critically Examined by David Strauss to the effect that Luke's claim that the darkness was caused by a solar eclipse can't be correct, since the execution took place at the time of the Passover full moon. The meagre Hinnom valley The Hinnom valley is a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusa-lem. In the time of king Solomon it was the place where the Israelites wor-shipped the pagan gods Moloch and Baal with horrible sacrifices like the burning of their own first-born children (known as "going through the fire"), mentioned in the Book of Kings 16:3 - He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites and 23:10 - The king also defiled Topheth in the Valley of Ben -hinnom, so that there would no longer be an immolation of sons o r daughters by fire in honor of Molech. Jesus used the image of the fires in Hinnom valley as an allegorical phra-se for the fire that God will use for the eternal punishment. A bucket and a sponge According to the Gospels, Christ was given vinegar mixed with gall on a stick, not a spear. He gently pricked Yeshua in the heart In Bulgakov's text Yeshua dies from the spear, while in the Gospel accor-ding to John 19:34 Christ is pierced after he is already dead.

17. an unquiet day


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 17

Vassily Stepanovich Lastochkin Vassily Stepanovich Lastochkin, the bookkeeper of the Variety Theatre is modest and quiet man who, unexpectedly, by the disappearance of the o-ther directors, now turns out to be the senior member of the whole Variety team. Which he will regret at the end of the chapter A queue of many thousands clung in two rows, its tail reaching to Ku-drinskaya Square , or Kudrinskaya square is situated at the intersec-tion of Sadovaya Kudrinskaya (the continuation of Bolshaya Sadovaya ulit-sa) and Bolshaya Nikitskaya ulitsa. So there were two rows waiting in a long line indeed, about one kilometer. The famous Ace of Diamonds

Bulgakovs police dog is called (Tuzbubyen) in Russian. means ace and diamonds. Tuzbubyen or Ace of Diamonds is pro-bably a strange name for a police dog, but we dont need to search much for the explanation. Its a parody of a famous pre -revolutionary real police dog called (Tref), which means Clubs. In Bulgakovs archive was found a newspaper cutting from the Pravda of November 6, 1921, about the experiences of Lenin in the summer of 1917, when he had to escape to Finland for a while. In that newspaper article we can read that not only the counterintelligence and police detectives were brought into action to track Lenin, but also dogs, among which the famous police dog Tref. Faland Faland is actually the German form of Woland's name that appears inFaust. Got any threes? Just like in chapter 12 the Russian chervonets is translated here as ten-rouble bill. In the conversation between Vassily Stepanovich Lastochkin and the cab driver Bulgakov plays again with the unreliable chervonets and th e solid rouble. The driver refuses to accept ten -rouble bills (cher-vontsi) but treshkas - three-rouble bills - are welcome.
Click here to read more about the monetary Read more about the difference between a chervonets and a ten-rouble bill issues in the Soviet Union

A label from a seltzer bottle In the original Russian text Bulgakov didnt talk about ordinary seltzer. He also mentions the brand. The labels are from bottles of the - or Narzan mineral water. Since 1894 this water is bottled inKislovodsk, a city in the region of Stavropol in Ukraine. In Bulgakovs time Narzan water has been associated with this sunny re-sort town in the North Caucasus for more than a century, comparable to the Spa water in Belgium or Vittel in France. But in the chaos of post-commu-nist Russia, the eminent old plant had to stoop to producing cheap junk. Counterfeiters tried to rip off the Narzan label. When communism collapsed, Narzan had immaterial assets that most other domestic enterprises could only dream of - a pre-Revolutionary brand name, an established reputation and a quality product. But in everything else it was like any other company emerging from the dysfunctional - if secure - command economy. When regular orders from the state dried up, the factory was forced to switch to products targeted at mass consumers: cheap fortified wine and - oh yes! - bedroom slippers. It was quite a step down from the days when the company made special deliveries to ailing Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin in the 1920s. To make matters worse, Narzan's equipment was beginning to fall apart. and there was zero investment. But things can change for the better: today Narzan is an advanced company. The U.S.-educated manager Vyacheslav Sinadskiwas hired to develop a strategy and attract capital from a Western lending institution. The company now outperforms its Soviet peak producing 70 million liters per year and is back on the tables of the nation's elite, including the Kremlin. The Spectacles Commission The Spectacles Commission which Petrovich presides is presumably ba-sed on the , () or the State Union of Music-Hall, Concert, and Circus

Enterprises(GOMEC), which was located in the building of the Old Circus, Tsvetnoi bul-var 13, where now the Yuri Nikulin Circus is situated. The jacket and trousers are there, but inside the jacket there's nothing! Bulgakov wrote these scenes about the same time Ilya Ilf (1897-1937) andYevgeny Petrov (1903-1942) were writing The Golden Calf, which has a si-milar scene with an empty suit. The source for both may have been The History of a Town written by Mikhail Yefgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin(1826-1889). This book was published in 1869-1870 and it was a parody of Russian history, in the microcosm of a provincial town, whose very name - Glupov is representative of its qualities, because Glupov means Silly-town. The mayors of Glupov can be distinguished from each other only by the de-gree of their incompetence, but at the same time The History of a Town is an attack on the Russian people for their passivity toward their own fate. Prokhor Petrovich Prokhor Petrovich is the chairman of the Spectacles Commission. When Behemoth visits him to "to discuss a little business with him" his patience runs out, and he shouts: "What is all this? Get him out of here, devil take me!" To which Behemoth smiles and says: "Devil take you? That, in fact, can be done!" Petrovich disappears, but his suit stays at the office desk and continues working as if nothing happened. Not for long though. Immediately after the police came into his office, to the number of two men, to investigate the case, he returned to his suit, to the ecstatic joy of Anna Richardovna. Anna Richardovna Anna Richardovna is is the personal secretary of Prokhor Petrovich. Her use of the familiar form "Prosha" in addressing him is not appropriate in the work environment. A cat, black, big as a behemoth Bulgakov shows how Behemoth got his name here. Hippopotamus in Rus-sian is (Begemot). The affiliate, located in Vagankovsky Lane There never was an office here connected with entertainment, but Bulgakov would have come to this street to visit the Rumyantsev or Lenin Library.The street takes its name from (vaganit), a dialect word meaningto clown or play the fool. The czar's jesters (called skomorokhi) used to live here. Glorious sea, sacred Baikal This prison song about the Siberian Baikal lake was very popular after the Revolution. Its title is , (Slavnoye mo-rye, sviyashchenny Baikal) or Glorious sea, sacred Baikal .
Click here to see how the staff of the Spectacles Commission sings the song

The readers of the English Michael Glenny translation and the readers of the Dutch translation may wonder why this song is mentioned here, since neither Glenny nor Fondse were very accurate at this point. Fondse repla-ced the song by a Dutch childrens song, and Glenny substituted Glorious sea, sacred Baikal blithely by (Ey Ukhnem) or The Song of the Volga Boatmen, also known as The Volga Burlak's Song. This is another well-known traditional Russian song depicting the suffering of the people in the depth of misery in czarist Russia. It was taken to the number one po-sition in the US-charts in 1941 by Glenn Miller, but it's not the song that Bul-gakov described.

A dose of valerian Valerian drops are distilled from the plant Valeriana officinalis (Heliotrope), these drops are still used as a mild sedative to calm anxiety and the heart. Lermontov Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (1814-1841) was a lyric poet, playwright and novelist of the generation following Pushkin. Lermontov's work shows his aversion to the suppression of the people by the czars. Thats why he was so often in conflict with the authorities; Lermontov was absolutely not well-liked by the court. In 1837 Lermontov wrote the poem Death of a poet as a reaction to Pushkins death. Czar Nicolas I didnt like it and sent him in exile to the Caucasus. Inspired by his experiences, Lermontov wrote his masterpiece, the novel A Hero of Our Time (1840). In February 1841, he stayed in the health resort Pyatigorsk for a couple of months. There it came to a duel with his fellow-officer Nikolai Solomo-novich Martynov (1815-1875). He deliberately chose the edge of a precipice for the duel, so that if either combatant was wounded, he would fall and his fate would be sealed.. Some say that Martynov had orders from the court to provoke the duel and to kill Lermontov. Fanov and Kosarchuk, well-known affiliate toadies I dont know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for these characters. (Fan) means fan or supporter, and a (kosar) is a chopper. Kosar-chuk, according to Bulgakovs description "may not have perfect pitch, but he has a rather pleasant high tenor". Foreign money It may be amazing that here, among the Canadian dollars, British pounds and Dutch guldens, also the Latvian lats and Estonian kroons are men-tioned as foreign money. Both Latvia and Estonia were Soviet republics. But between the wars - when Bulgakov wrote The Master and Margarita - the Baltic states were independent and had their own currencies.

18. hapless visitors


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 18

Maximilian Andreevich Poplavsky Poplavsky is Berlioz uncle, who lives in Kiev. Bulgakov himself was from Kiev too. At the beginning of the book; in chapter 3, Berlioz sets out for the exit from Patriarchs Ponds to call the secret police and runs towards his own decapitation, and Woland calls out : Would you like me to have a telegram sent at once to your uncle in Kiev? . There exists a Russian phrase saying: , - elderberries in the garden, an uncle in Kiev. Its a reply given to someone who just made an illogical reasoning or conclusion.
Click here to read more about Poplavsky

Have just been run over by tram-car Bulgakov uses the impersonal form of the verb (zarezat), which means cutting someones throat. The tramcar is in the instrumentalis, which is a bizarre construction, in Russian as in English. As if one could use a tram-car as a knife to cut a throat.

An apartment in Moscow If a Soviet citizen could obtain an apartment in Moscow it was a great victory. Moscow had goods that could not be found anywhere else. However, to gain a (propiska) - a registration or permit to live there - one had to have been born in the city or marry someone with a permit. Poplavsky's attempts to trade his apartment in Kiev for one in Moscow and his desire to inherit his nephew's housing was a common scenario during the Soviet period.
Click here to read more about the housing policy of the Soviets

The spring flooding of the Dnieper The Dnieper River flows through Kiev. The staggeringly beautiful view which opened out from the foot of the monument to Prince Vladimir The statue of Prince Vladimir I of Kiev stands on a hill overlooking the Dnieper river below. Technically the statue is a monument to the baptism of Russia. Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich the Great (956-1015) was the pagan ruler who, in 988, brought christianity in its Byzantine form to the Kievan Rus'. Kievan Rus' is considered a predecessor state of three modern East Slavic nations: Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. It stretched out from Kiev to Novgorod. Vladimir hoped for better political and cultural relation with Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire. The statue was made by Vasili Ivanovich Jrgensburg (1805-1867) and was erected in1853. "Aha!" Poplavsky's several exclamations of "Aha!" show that he knows how to interpret the news that the chairman and the secretary of the management of Bolshaya Sadovaya no. 302 bis have vanished. Management member Pyatnazhko I dont know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for this character. The first part of his name; (pyat), means five, and the verb (nazhit) means earning [money]. As if on purpose, all of them at once ... In the Russian text the men who vanish are put in the accusative, without any subject or verb. By this playing with the language Bulgakov explains that they are the object of an action - executed by the unmentionable NKVD. Poplavsky, clever man that he is, knows what subject and verb are acting when, a few seconds later, he found himself a lone in the empty management room". Three hundred drops of tincture of valerian Again the drops that already appeared in the previous chapter. But 300 drops would be a huge dose, causing a coma or death. The 412th office Bulgakov uses again an impossibly high number for a department issuing passports. Passports Demut-Malinovsky (1779-1846) and Peter Klodt von

The internal passport was abolished after the revolution and reinstated by Stalin on October 27, 1932, in the period of the great famine. The rural population did not get one, which was meant to avoid that everybody left the kolchozes. Without a passport it was impossible to move to another city. Peasants had to wait until the 60s before they could have a passport. Everything was confusion in the Oblonskys' home Bulgakov quotes the first line of the novel Anna Karenina (1873-1876) written by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (18281910). An old-fashioned tussore silk suit Bulgakov describes an elderly man - "in an old-fashioned tussore silk suit". is tussore silk. Its a brownish kind of wild silk, produced by the caterpillar of the tussah butterfly, which is found in China. The Dutch translators dont talk about tussore silk, they mention shantung silk. Shangtung is the name given to a rough silk tissue produced in the province of Shan-tung or Shandong - in Chinese. Shantung is considered as the province where pottery-making, porcelain and silk originated. Are the Dutch translators mistaken than? Well, not quite. Tissues made from tussore silk are honan and - yes - shantung. Leave me alone, for Christ's sake... In the Russian text we can read ", ..." or Leave me alone, for Christs sake. Its the only mention of Christ in the novel. Andrei Fokich Sokov Sokov is the barman at the Variety Theatre. Its an appropriate name for a barman, because the Russian word (sok) means juice.
Click here to read more about Andrei Sokov

A funereal cloak lined with fiery cloth and a long sword with a gleaming gold hilt These are costumes and props appropriate to Mephistopheles in the opera Faust by Charles Gounod (18181895). Baron Meigel The real prototype for Baron Meigel's character is, without any doubt, Baron Boris Sergeevich Shteiger (1892-1937). In the '20's and '30's he worked in Moscow at the (Narkompros), the People's Commissariat for Enlightening, Department Visual Arts, and simultaneously as an agent of the NKVD. In 1937 he was arrested and shot. Shteiger is mentioned several times in the diary of Elena Sergeevna. He was often found at US Embassy functions and reported on foreigners connected with the theatre, and on Soviet citizens having contact with the embassy. Meigel reappears in chapter 23, at the great ball of Satan

18. hapless visitors (continued)


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 18 (continued)

A tailcoat or a black suit Yes, he'll be glad to see you. Yes, guests... A tailcoat or a black suit. What? By twelve midnight. When Bulgakov and his wife were invited to a reception at the American ambassador's residence, the invitation had a note added: "tails or black jacket." Elena Sergeevna writes, "Misha was worried that the note was meant for him only. And I tried very hard to "create" a tailcoat quickly. But the tailor couldn't find the right fabric and he had to go in a suit.". The stained glass of the big windows, the table covered with church brocade Various houses in Moscow at the turn of the century had stained glass windows, though not the one Bulgakov actually lived in. The church-like atmosphere prepares the reader for the ball/black mass that takes place in chapter 23. A church panikhida A (panikhida) is a special service of the Orthodox Church for commemoration of the dead, held between the actual death and the burial. A panikhida may be celebrated at any other convenient time as well,; like on the sixth month anniversary of death and the annual anniversary of death. Many Orthodox Christians offer a panikhida every year on the anniversary of a loved ones death, celebrating in a certain sense their birthday into life eternal. Brynza Feta cheese is never green in colour! In the Russian text is written: ! - Brynza has no green colour! Bulgakov doesnt use the words feta norgoats cheese but just the brand name Brynza. Its a goats cheese of Romanian origin. This cheese is creamy, rich and salty, and ranges from soft and spreadable to semidry and crumbly. They supplied sturgeon of the second freshness Sturgeon of the second freshness or, in Russian: became one of the many popular sayings from Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita after its first publication. It was common in the Soviet Union to classify things into grades, by which the lesser categories could have a positive name anyway. In the 19th century there existed already expressions like "partially fresh eggs. In 1895 George du Maurier (18341896) had published a cartoon in the British humorous magazine Punch with the title True Humility. A timid-looking curate is taking breakfast in his bishop's house, but the egg he got isnt really fresh. The Bishop says: I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones. Apparently trying to avoid offence the curate replies: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!" The binomial theorem, you might think! The expression ! (binom Newtona!) or Newtons binomial theorem! became very popular in Russian as well. From what follows you will see that anything is easier than Newtons binomial theorem, even the prediction of someones death. Newtons binomial theorem is a rather complex mathematical formula developed by Isaac Newton (1643-1727) giving the expansion of powers of sums. for those who like it - Its simplest version is shown on the right of this page. Hella

Bulgakov found Hella's name in the - - the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, a work containing 86 volumes, which can be considered as the Russian equivalent of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Under the lemma (charodeystvo) or magic he read that Hella was the name given to girls who died too early, and became vampires after.
Click here to read more about Hella

The beret turned into a black kitten For this detail Bulgakov was inspired by the novel (Moskovsky Chudak) or The Moscow Eccentric by the Russian writer Andrei Bely. In that book the self-willed professor Korobkin puts a cat on his head instead of his fur beret. Andrei Bely was the pseudonym of Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev (1880-1934). The prototype of his professor Korobkin's character was his own father,Nikolai Vasilyevich Bugaev (1837-1903), who was a prominent Russian mathematician. His father was a memorable character with a life full of scandals. He was not, it is said, much admired for his looks, but his wife was brilliant, beautiful, and rich, and the Bugaevs were socially prominent. Professor Kuzmin Like Annushka, this character really existed as described in the novel. Kuzmin is the doctor who treated Bulgakov in the '30's. A small white house The drugstore mentioned in The Master and Margarita belonged to a certain Rubanovski and was situated in Bolshaya Sadovaya no. 1. In reality doctor Kuzmin lived in Sadovo Kudrinskaya no. 28, but in the book Bulgakov situates his cabinet on Bolshaya Sadovaya no. 5, which is where Elena Sergeevna, Bulgakov's third wife, lived. The buildings were torn down when the Hotel Pekin, one of Moscow's biggest hotels, was built. Professor Bouret I dont know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for this character. "Hallelujah!" This is the second appearance of this song in the novel. This charleston written by Vincent Youmans (1898-1946) appears three times in the novel.
Click here to hear and watch this charleston

(I'm not joking!) This is one of the few times that the narrator comments directly what's happening. As if the reader, who swallowed decapitations, mass hypnoses and much more demonic things, would now, all of the sudden, not believe that a sparrow shat in the presentation inkstand". He called a leech bureau The medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis and its congeners Hirudo verba-na, Hirudo troctina and Hirudo orientalis) was used as a means of blood-letting. The leech was put on the skin and it sucked blood from the patient.. After that

the blood was pushed out of the leech to avoid it to become saturated. A diagnosis was made based on an analysis of the blood. The medicinal leech produces a substance, the so-called hirudine which is anti-coagulating. In previous times leeches could be freely bought in pharmacies. In some big American states and in Asia they are still used. Less than in Bulgakov's time, of course. Between 1829 and 1836 for example, 6 million leeches were used annually in hospitals in Paris, drawing nearly 85 000 kg of blood from patients each year! Ironically, modern medicine again has a use for medicinal leeches. They provide an effective means to reduce blood coagulation, to relieve pressure from pooling blood, especially after plastic surgery, and to stimulate circulation in reattachment operations for organs with critical blood flow, such as eye lids, fingers, and ears.

19. margarita
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 19

Follow me, reader! This is one of the few cases where the narrator addresses the reader directly. The narrator seems to prepare the reader for some great expose. Margarita The name which Bulgakov gives to his heroin recalls that of Gretchen (the German diminutive of Margarete), the young girl ruined by Faust in the drama written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1794-1832). In the novel itself are also made references to Marguerite de Valois (1555-1615), spouse of the French king Henri IV, also known as la reine Margot.
Click here to read more about Margarita

The house stands untouched to this day This sentence could have been true in 1940, but probably it isn't anymore. In my search for Margarita's house I came out on a house in Taneevukh ulitsa (now called Maly Vlasevski pereulok) no. 10. It corresponds quite nicely with the description in the novel, at least it did until 1964, when it was demolished.
Click here to read more about Margarita's house

The dread Antonia Tower The Antonia Tower was a fortress in ancient Jerusalem. It housed the Roman garrison in the city and was the place where the Roman procurator normally stayed on official visits. It was named by Herod the Great (?75 BC-04) in honour of the Roman general and triumvir Mark Antony (85 BC-50 BC), who ruled the eastern third of the empire. The Has-monaean Palace The Hasmonaean dynasty, under the lead of Simon Maccabaeus (-135 BC), ruled over Judea from 140 to 34 BC. The Has-monaean palace was situated west in the Upper City. From the roof, the Xystus, one could address the people gathered on the huge square below. The trolley-bus

This public transportation vehicle was in use in my younger years in Belgium too, but it has disappeared from our streets. In Moscow however these electric buses which, like trams, are driven by overground electrical cables, are still popular. Because they run on tires, rather than tracks, they are more manoeuvrable than trams. The Manege The Manege is a building next to the Kremlin and the Alexander Garden. Originally it was a riding academy built after the war with Napoleon. Later it was used as a concert hall. In 1867 Hector Berlioz and Nikolai Rubinsteingave a concert there for a public of 12.000 people. Abandoned after the revolution, it served in Bulgakov's time as a garage and warehouse for the Kremlin. It was completely restored as a permanent art-exhibition space, but it got totally destroyed by a fire on March 14, 2004. It was completely repaired again and on February 18, 2005, it re-opened with the exhibition which was planned for the day it burned down.
Click here to see a 360 photo of the Alexander Garden and the Manege

Lovelace In the Russian text the name Lovelace is written in a Cyrillic translitteration: "... " or "...there's nothing bad about this Lovelace". Lovelace was the main character in the novel Clarissa, or the history of a young lady written by Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), which was very popular in Russia. Clarissa may well be the longest novel in the English language. The full volume of its third edition, the edition most extensively revised by Richardson, spans over one million words. Lovelace is a womanizer who is more and more impressed by Clarissa Harlowe, a beautiful and virtuous young lady whose family has become very wealthy only in recent years. He finds it difficult to keep convincing himself that truly virtuous women do not exist. His growing passion for Clarissa forces him to extremes and eventually he rapes her. Today Lovelace is the equivalent of Don Juan or Cassanova in Russian. Clarissa, or the history of a young lady can be downloaded in 9 volumes at the Project Gutenberg website .
Click here to download the novel

I'd pawn my soul to the devil Again Woland's suite appears when invoked through the thoughts of a Muscovite. Margarita's appeal is more direct than Berlioz's in the first chapter. You want to arrest me? Margarita's reaction reflects the terror which existed in the Soviet Union: she is prepared to be arrested even though she has committed no crime.. A very distinguished foreigner ... a street pander It was very common for the secret police to use sex to entrap foreigners or extract secrets from them. Margarita naturally assumes that this is what she is meant to do. Oh God!

This is a quite funny reaction, given the circumstances and the company. So note Azazello's reaction to Margarita's words: Oh, God! Please, no excitements and exclamations, Azazello said, frowning. I must give myself to him These words contain a double pun: Margarita persists in thinking she is being drafted to work for the NKVD; at the same time in traditional witch-lore, communion with the Devil always meant sexual intercourse as well. The name "Niura" According to Alyona Rudko, a fan of this website from Rostov, Russia, is Niura, just like Annushka, an informal diminutive of the name Anna. When Woland, in Chapter 2, said to Berlioz that "Annushka has already spilled the oil," he indicated that there was no way back. His death is planned, there is no escape possible. The name Annushka symbolized the irreversible destiny. The variant of this name, Niura, "carved on the back of the bench in big letters" could mean that the decision of Margarita is also final and irreversible. Her death is now planned, there is no possible escape for her neither. ...

20. azazello's cream


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 20

Azazello
Click here for a comprehensive description of Azazello

She dropped the box right on her watch crystal Here Margarita begins having problems with the fourth dimension - time. Soon she will find herself in the fifth dimension. As if a needle had been snatched from her brain After having applied Azazello's cream, Margarita feels easing the pain in her temple which started after her meeting with Azazello and it feels "as if a needle had been snatched from her brain". This needle is also seen with Berlioz in the first chapter and several other places in the novel when humans come into contact with Woland or one of his retinue like, for instance, Stefan (Styopa) Bogdanovich Likhodeev in chapter 7 and Nikanor Ivanovich in chapter 9. A thundering virtuoso waltz The action is again accompanied by music, but this time it is not specified, "director" Bulgakov doesn't give any indications as on what musical piece we should imagine to accompany the action. A squatting dance

Most people know this dance, though not by name: (vprisyadku) means sitting, in the context of the typical Russian dance involving crouching on one leg with the other out straight, alternating from one leg to the other in a crouching position. A sweeping broom, bristles up The word Bulgakov uses for the broom on which Margarita flies away , is not the typical broom which is considered as a witch's broom in the western world. In most western presentations this kind of broom is made of twigs, tied together on a stem. The name of this kind of broom in Russian is (vyenik). But in the novel Margarita flies on an ordinary flat-headed broom, a (shchetka).

21. flight
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 21

The title Margarita's flight over Moscow inspired the rock band Franz Ferdinand to the song Love and Destroy in 2004. It's the b-side of their single Michael.
Click here to read more Click here to watch a live version of the song about the song and to listen to it

The lane with the kerosene shop Older residents recall that there was indeed an oil store at number 20 of Sivtsev Vrazhek pereulok, a street parallel to the Arbat. The dazzlingly bright tubes on the theatre building The Vakhtangov Theatre on number 26 of the Arbat, was named afterYevgeny Bagrationovich Vakhtangov (18831922), a pupil of Stanislavsky, in 1926. The original 19th century building was destroyed by a bomb in the 40's. It was rebuilt at the same place. Two primuses Again Bulgakov mentions the primus stoves. He did it already in chapter 4, and they will play an important role later in the novel, when Koroviev and Behemoth raise hell in Moscow in chapter 28. An eight-storeyed, obviously just-constructed building Dramlit, the House for Dramaturgists and Literators is, according to Bulgakovs flight description, situated in Bolshoi Nikolopeskovskii pereulok near Arbat.
Click here to read more about the Dramlit house

Becker's drawing-room instrument, not guilty of anything Jacob Davidovich Becker, a craftsman born in Germany, created his piano building workshop in Saint-Petersburg in 1841. His pianos enjoyed great fame, and he was the first to apply American and European technologies in the building of pianos in Russia. In 1903 the company merged with the piano building factory of Ivan Karlovich Schreder (-1889), and in 1917 it was nationalized and renamed the Red October Factory.

In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the company was renamed the Saint Petersburg Piano Factory, but it went bankrupt with a total debt of 13 billion roubles. Lee Magness, the Texan grandson of Ivan Karlovich Schreder, uses all possible means since 1997 to lay hands on the factory, which he estimates at a value of 650 million dollar. I'm your dream The way in which Bulgakov plays with the Russian grammar here is untranslatable. "To dream of someone" in Russian is expressed with the verb (snitsya) but in a particular construction, with the person dreamed of as the subject, and the person dreaming in the dative. I dreamed of her in Russian sounds as: she was dreamed of by me. That is why the verb almost always appears in the third person singular, since one rarely talks about oneself being seen in someone else's dream. But that's what Margarita does: , "I was dreamed by you", she says. After that she says: Lie down now () I'll go on being your dream. And the boy answers: , , , which is the imperative form: Well, be my dream, be my dream. My French queen! With this exclamation Natasha already indicates what will be confirmed by Koroviev in the next chapter the fact that Margarita is a great-great-great-granddaughter of one of the French queens who lived in the sixteenth century. Some naked fat man with a black silk top hat pushed back on his head I dont know (yet) who this man could be. But he used to know Claudine, the ungrieving widow (see below), as well as the bright Queen Margot - the popular name given to Marguerite de Valois (see below). And apparently he used to be a friend of the publisher Hessart in Paris, who lived three centuries after the two abovementioned ladies. Claudine Claudine de La Tour-Turenne (1520-1591) was lady-in-waiting ofMarguerite de Valois (1553-1615), the spouse of the French king Henri IV(1553-1610). On October 31; 1535 Claudine married, at the age of 15, to Justus II (15101557), seigneur of Tournon and count of Rousillon. At the age of 37 she became a widow. Bright queen Margot Queen Margot is Marguerite de Valois (1553-1615), queen of France and Navarra, She was the daughter of Henri II (1519-1559) and Catherina de Medici (1519-1589). Three of her brothers have been kings of France: Franois II (1544-1560), Charles IX (1550-1574) and Henri III (1551-1589). Her mother first tried to pair her off to various other men, but eventually arrived at her cousin, Henri of Navarra, the later king Henri IV. The marriage took place on August 18, 1572. Henri was a protestant, and according to various sources Catherina de Medici would have tried to take advantage of the gathering of the Huguenots in Paris to organize the bloodbath of the St. Bartholomew's Day in the night between August 24 and 25, 1572. The marriage of Marguerite and Henri knew much reciprocal cheating, and long periods of separation. In 1599 it was annulled. Marguerite kept her title of queen. Her memoirs, published more than one hundred years after her death, described innumerable anecdotes about the kings Charles IX, Henri III and Henri IV. Meanwhile she caused many scandals herself. Se died on May 27, 1615.

The bloody wedding of his friend Guessard The drunken man is indeed quite confused: His feeling for time fails. Hessart was the publisher of Marguerite de Valois's correspondence, but he lived in the 19th century - he published Les Mmoires et lettres de Marguerite de Valois in 1842. The bloody wedding was the notorious St. Bartholomew's Day in 1572. The Yenisey River The Yenisey is a 4,129 km long river which is often considered as the separation between eastern and western Siberia. Transparent naiads The English translators Pevear and Volokhonski call the water nymphs naiads, and Glenny calls them water-sprites. But naiads are water nymphs of the Greek mythology, while Bulgakov described Russian (rusalki, singular rusalka). Rusalki were connected to the world of death. They were young women who died before they could get married. In the middle of the night they went to the river bank to dance in the meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, and then lead the person away to the river floor, to live with them. Someone goat-legged Wood ghosts and devils were often portrayed with the lower part of the body of an animal. Andrei Bely (see annotation to chapter 18) describes in his Northern Symphony a goat-legged man at a sabbath. A black, long-beaked rook A rook is a big black bird (Trypanocorax frugilegus) resembling a crow.

22. by candlelight
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 22

Some completely deserted cemetery in the Dorogomilovo area The Baedeker map of Moscow, published in 1914, shows a cemetery at the Moscow river bank in Dorogomilovskaya Sloboda. It doesnt exist anymore, probably it was destroyed when the Kutuzovsky Prospekt was constructed after World War II. The fifth dimension In the elementary geometry three dimensions are defined: length, width and height. These (cartesian) parameters are perpendicular to each other. A point is zero-dimensional it has A line has one dimension A plane is two-dimensional A body is three-dimensional it has length, width and height. no it length, she has nor width, nor only has length and height. length. width.

The fourth dimension is an extra independent permutation direction in space. The fourth dimension is often identified with time.

The fifth dimension is a higher dimension of consciousness. When Bulgakov was working on The Master and Margarita, in 1926, the Swedish physicist Oskar Klein (1894-1977) had made an attempt to explain why we cant perceive this additional dimension. Oskar Klein was also known for his theory about travelling in time. A three-room apartment on Zemlyanoy Val (Zyemlyanoy Val) or the Earthen Embankment - is, like Bolshaya Sadovaya, part of the Moscow Garden Ring, but its opposite to the city center, in the East. The Taganka Theatre, where until today The Master and Margarita is performed on stage almost daily, is on Zyemlyana Vala ulitsa. The machinations of this Muscovite described by Bulgakov were typical for that period. Clever and sometimes complex exchange schemes were often put up. Various people in various combinations were played off, and bribes were almost considered as a semi-legal practice. The spring ball of the full moon, or the ball of the hundred kings The Northern Symphony (1904) of Andrei Bely ends with a feast at which the kings of the North drink blood from golden cups. Like Margarita, the queen kneels on one knee to welcome the guests, who kiss her hand and her knee. One of the French queens who lived in the sixteenth century In the previous chapter you can read more about Marguerite de Valois(1553-1615) and her marriage to the French king Henri IV. Seven golden claws The menorah or seven branched candelabrum is an old symbol of the Hebrew people and one of the oldest symbols of Judaism in general. Moses was given strict instructions by God to make a seven branched candelabrum and to put it in the Tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenantwhere were also stored the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Wolands candelabrum with the seven golden claws is a parody of these menorah's. A beetle artfully carved from dark stone Bulgakov writes (zhuk), which is indeed beetle or bug. But yet most translators, including Michael Glenny, use the word scarab or scarabaeus, which is some kind of dung beetle in Egyptian mythology. The Egyptians saw the scarabaeus beetle as a symbol of immortality because it survived the annual flooding of the Nile. The ritual use of carved stone scarabs spread to Palestine, Greece and Italy in ancient times. The chess journals would pay good money for the chance to publish it Different scholars have already been occupied by trying to find out which real chess game could have been the prototype for the one between Woland and Behemoth and described by Bulgakov. There exist more than one suggestion of famous games from the 30's, but I'm not adequately documented to find out which one is most likely. You confounded Hans! In the Russian text is written ", !" or "Go away, damned hans (gans)". The word - hans - is pronounced gans and is one of the many loan words used in the Russian language. It sounds Dutch or German. There are many folk tales in German in which Hans - who is often the third son of a family - is presented as an idiot,

or at least a little lunatic. Although, at the end, he usually winds up with the treasure or the beautiful princess. In Russian the equivalent of the Hans character is often called Ivan or Ivanushka.
Click here to read more about Dutch words in Russian

Sextus Empiricus Sextus Empiricus was a Roman philosopher, astronomer and physician from the 2nd or 3th century. His philosophical work is the most complete surviving account of ancient Greek and Roman skepticism. In his medical work, tradition maintains that he belonged to the empiric school, as reflected by his name. However, at least twice in his writings, Sextus seems to place himself closer to the methodic school, as his philosophical views imply. Sextus Empiricus advises that we should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefs. That is, we should neither affirm any belief as true nor deny any belief as false. This view is known as Pyrrhonian skepticism, as distinguished from Academic skepticism, which, according to Sextus, denies knowledge altogether. Martianus Capella We don't know much about this Latin writing author of the 5th century, apart from some details we can find in his work, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (On the wedding of Philology and Mercury). In addition to some biographical hypotheses which we can deduct from some excerpts in this huge allegorical encyclopaedia of nine volumes, we have no historical traces of the author. Aristotle Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and is considered, together with Socrates (470 BC-399 BC) and Plato (427 BC- 347 BC), as one of the most influential of the ancient Greek philosophers. Aristotle can be seen as the first homo universalis because he introduced logics and methodology as the means to practise philosophy and other sciences. He mastered the total span of all sciences known in his time (philosophy, psychology, political and social sciences, mathematics and physics, linguistics and literature, theatre...), which he systematically and methodically elaborated to an integrated system. Aristotle can be considered as a system philosopher. My leg hurts Satan's lameness is more commonly ascribed to his fall from heaven. In the year 1571, on Mount Brocken, on the Devil's Podium The Brocken is, with its 1141,1 meter, the highest mountain in Northern Germany. The Brocken, also called Blocksberg, has always played a role in legends and has been connected with witches and devils. On Walpurgis Night demonic creatures would gather on the top of the mountain. According to a popular belief, banned witches were allowed to return on earth for one night at the sabbath on the Brocken. Goethe described the Brocken in his Faust (written in 1808) as the center of revelry for witches on Walpurgis Night. Now The There And to stubble is Squire the Brocken is gold and the carnival Urianus will the the crew come witches corn to to is be ride; green; seen, preside.

So over the With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.

valleys

our

company

floats,

Goethe may have gained inspiration from two rock formations on the mountain's summit, the Teufelskanzel, the Devil's Pulpit or Podium and theHexenaltar, the Witches' Altar, where Goethe sold his soul to the devil Mephistoteles. Still today the biggest Walpurgis feast of Germany is held on the Brocken in the night from April 30 to May 1. People disguised as witches run over the streets and hit unsuspecting passers-by with a broom. In the period of Ascension and Whitsuntide, some 60.000 people visit the Brocken. My granny The devil's grandma is sometimes used, like the devil himself, in Russian expressions, like, for example, in "go to the devil or go to the devil's grand-mother! A war has started there The war in a chunk of land, washed on one side by the ocean is the Spanish Civil War which was going on in that time (1936-1939). Bulgakov felt very sorry for this war. He wrote many letters about it. In the twelve years that Bulgakov worked on The Master and Margarita, the passage with the globe only appeared in 1937, when this war was on the radio every day. Wolands moaning about the radio coverage is, as a matter of fact, a reference to this daily news. Bulgakov's opinion was that wars could not be ended by words of indignation, but only by armed force against the agressor. Abaddon

abaddon
English > Characters > Demonic characters > Abaddon

Role Abaddon only shows up in the novel at the beginning of Woland's ball. According to Woland he is "of a rare impartiality ". He sympathizes equally with both sides of the fight. Owing to that, the results are always the same for both sides. He emerged from the wall as the figure of some gaunt man in dark glasses.. Especially these glasses produced a strong impression on Margarita. Abaddon is blind, in order to avoid sympathizing. He shows up only a few times, and only for a short while. Because "there has never yet been, and never will be, an occasion when Abaddon appears before someone prematurely." At the ball he is not always visible, only for some short moments, and surroundend by others who resembled him - all dark-haired and young. When Baron Meigel was accused by Woland for being a stool-pigeon and a spy, Abaddon stood in front of him and took off his glasses for a second. At the same moment something flashed fire in Azazello's hand, something clapped softly, the baron began to fall backwards, crimson blood spurted from his chest and poured down his starched shirt and waistcoat... Background Woland mentions the name of Abaddon for the first time when he and Margarita contemplate his special globe. Margarita leaned towards the globe and saw the little square of land spread out, get painted in many colours, and turn as it were into a relief map. It was the Spanish Civil War of that period (1936-1939). Margarita made out a small

female figure lying on the ground, and next to her, in a pool of blood, a little child with outstretched arms. "That's it," Woland said, smiling, "he had no time to sin. Abaddon's work is impeccable." Bulgakov was strongly committed with the Spanish Civil War. He wrote many letters about it. In the twelve years that Bulgakov worked on The Master and Margarita, the scene with the special globe only showed up in 1937, when this war was on the radio daily. Woland's observation on the news on the radio is a referral to this daily reports. Bulgakov was convinced that wars could not be ended by words of indignation, but only by armed violence against the agressor. Abaddon comes from the Hebrew . This is pronounced as avaddon, which means destruction or destructor . In the Book Job 26:6, 28:22 of the Old Testament it's another name for Sheol, the place of the dead. In the Book Revelation 9:11 of the New Testament Abaddon is called the "angel of the abyss". In the Greek mythology his role is played by the god Apollo. Transformation Abaddon is not present when the demonic characters return to hell, and we don't hear of him anymore. Which is good, since he only shows up when his presence is required...

koroviev/fagott
English > Characters > Demonic characters > Koroviev/Fagott

Role "My name? Well... let's say it's Koroviev ", he says to Nikanor Ivanovich, the chairman of the tenants' association of the building in Sadovaya street. Korovyev usually wears a checkered suit, a jockey's cap and a pince-nez. Sometimes - at Patriarch's Ponds - he introduces himself as a choir-master, sometimes as the interpreter-translator of a foreign consultant who "needed no interpreting". He's more quiet than his companions Behemoth and Azazello, but he's a masterly intriguer with propositions as sound as possible, but with an amazing unsoundness in his elocution. Background The description of Koroviev's dressing refers to the devil visiting Ivan Fyodorevich Karamazov in the novel The brothers Karamazov written byFyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881). His profession of choir master connects him to bandmaster Kreisler, a character of Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffman (1776-1822). This bandmaster had, him too, a cat for companion . This cat was called Murr and it was of a special kind too. These two characters appear in the book Lebensansichten des Katers Murr(1819-1821). The name Koroviev is derived from the Russian word (korova) which means cow. Which reminds us of the Golden Calf with which Mephistoteles celebrates the omnipotence of money in the opera Faust ofCharles Gounod (1818-1895). His second pseudonym, Fagott, which Woland allotted him during the show in the Variety Theatre, connects him to the many musical themes in the story. His appearance makes us think of the long wind instrument which can be two meters long and which has a wide register. Fagott has got the capacity to change his voice. Transformation When the demons are transformed again to their original form Koroviev changes in a dark-violet knight with a most gloomy and never-smiling face. This knight once made an unfortunate joke, according to Woland, the pun he thought up, in a discussion about light and darkness, was not altogether good. This reminds to the knight Samson in the

novel Don Quichote of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), which Bulgakov adapted to a theatre play. In that story Samson disguises as the Knight of the White Moon who duels with Don Quichote and wins, after which Don Quichote falls into melancholy and dies.

behemoth
English > Characters > Demonic characters > Behemoth

Role Behemoth is the giant cat, extremely evil and font of firearms, who finds demonic pleasure in challenging people and putting everything in a blaze with a primus stove. He executes the most violent punishments, cuts off heads and is unbeatable with a browning in his hands. And when he gets accidentally hit by a bullit, he just needs a sip of gasoline to regain his strength. Background In the biblical Book Job 40:10-19 is a description of a huge monster, in Hebrew called Behemoth. Bible translators didn't know which way to go with this word for a long time because they didn't know any beast with "a tail like a cedar and an enormous power in his abdominal muscles and loins". Some chose for an elephant, others for an hippopotamus but they all knew that neither of these could be accurate. That's why English translators leave the word Behemoth as it is. (begemot) is also Russian forhippopotamus. And the pretty Anna Richardovna, the secretary of Prosha Prochor Petrovoch, described Behemoth as "a tomcat, black, a colossus as an hippopotamus". In circles of devil experts Behemoth is the devil of the desires of the stomach. It could explain why he's so interested in the food at the currency store Torgsin. According to Bulgakov's second wife Lyubov Evgenevna Belozerskaya the prototype for Behemoth was their own pet Flyushka, a big grey cat. Transformation When the demons are transformed again to their original form Behemoth changes into a slim youth, a demon-page, and the "best jester the world has ever seen". This transformation can be inspired by the character Till Eulenspiegel. The symphonic poem made by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) based on the novel of the Flemish Charles de Coster (1827-1879) was very popular in Russia.

azazello
English > Characters > Demonic characters > Azazello

Role Azazello is a short but extraordinarily broad-shouldered man, with a bowler hat on his head and a fang sticking out of his mouth, which made still uglier a physiognomy unprecedentedly loathsome without that. And with flaming red hair besides. He's the one who invited Margarita at he Alexander Park to meet Woland and who gave her the cream that would change her into a witch. After Satans' ball, when Woland, in the small company of his retinue and servants, is enjoying a cosey supper in the apartment, he's performing an amazing act with an automatic gun, a pillow and a seven of spades. 'I wouldn't want to meet you when you're carrying a gun,' Margarita said, casting coquettish glances at Azazello. Because she had a passion for anyone who did something top-notch. "Precious Queen," squeaked Koroviev, "I wouldn't advise anyone to

meet him, even if he's not carrying a gun! I give you my word of honour as an ex-choirmaster and precentor that no one would congratulate the one doing the meeting." Background In the Old Testament apocryphal Book of Enoch Azazel was the leader of the grigori, a group of fallen angels who mated with mortal women, giving rise to a race of giants, known as the Nephilim. Azazel is particularly noteworthy among the grigori because it was he who taught men how to make weapons of war, as well as teaching women how to make and wear cosmetics. Thanks to Azazel women learned the "sinful art" of painting their faces, so it is clear why he delivers the cream which has the effect of making Margarita young again. Eventually, Azazel's teachings created such iniquity that God decided to destroy all life on Earth with Noah's Flood. Azazel is a common demonic character in many religions. In the jewish tradition Azazel was a demon living in the wilderness. This jewish tradition got followers in Algeria and Morocco. According to the rabbi Rashi Azazel was the name of a cliff. In islam Azazel is a Dzhin thrown out of heaven because he refused to worship Adam and because he was driven by the lust for mortal girls. In modern Hebrew the expression 'go to azazel' means as much as 'drop dead'. Objects that 'went to azazel', are broke and irreparable. And time, money or efforts that 'went to azazel' are forever lost. In short, azazel is always a negative destination. Transformation When the demons are transformed again to their original form Azazello loses his fang. The absurd, ugly fang disappeared without a trace, and the albugo on his eye proved false. Azazello's eyes were both the same, empty and black, and his face was white and cold. He flew in his true form, the demon of the waterless desert, the killer-demon. This is a hint to the apocryphal Book of Enoch, in which Azazel, on God's own demand, is cast into the darkness by the archangel Raphael, and disappears in the desert. In de Hebrew Bible there's a link to it in connection with a goat sent off to the wilderness In Leviticus 16:10 is described: "But the goat for Azazel is to be placed living before the Lord, for the taking away of sin, that it may be sent away for Azazel into the waste land." The first time that Bulgakov plays with the idea of giving a role to this character was in 1930. On a safed note he wrote: "The meeting of poet with Woland Margarita and Faust Black mass You will not raise the hillocks. Nor will you listen to the crowd. But you will listen to romance. Margarita goat Cherries. River. Verses. Story with lipstick."

hella
English > Characters > Demonic characters > Hella

Role When Ivan Savelyevitch Varenukha, the administrator of the Variety Theatre, is seized rather roughly by Behemoth and Azazello, appears in the front hall of Sadovaya 302-bis a completely naked girl - red-haired, her eyes burning with a phosphorescent gleam. She comes right up to him, and places the palms of her hands on his shoulders. "Let me give you a kiss", the girl says tenderly, and there are shining eyes right in front of his eyes. Then Varenukha faints and never felt the kiss.

When Varenukha turns up later before financial director Grigory Danilovich Rimsky, Rimsky notices that Varenukha casts no shadow anymore. He became a vampire and, together with the naked red he terrorizes Rimsky, who was only just saved because the cock trumpeted,announcing that dawn was rolling towards Moscow from the east. The name of the girl is not revealed before the end of Book One, when Korovyev shouted: "Hella, see him out!", aiming at Andrey Fokich Sokov who was visiting Woland. And "again that naked redhead in the front hall!". Woland introduces Hella to Margarita as his maidservant: efficient, quick, and "there is no service she cannot render". The beautiful Hella was smiling as she turned her green-tinged eyes to Margarita, without ceasing to dip into the ointment and apply it to Woland's knee. In the preparation of the ball Hella, assisted by Natasha, had washed Margarita with blood. Hella participates to the merry supper in Woland's apartment after Satans' ball and exchanged smacking kisses with Margarita when she returns to the basement with the Master, but after that we don't hear of Hella anymore. Background Hella is a female vampire. From his annotations we know that Bulgakov found her name in the - the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, a work containing 86 volumes, which can be considered as the Russian equivalent of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Under the lemma ("magic") he read that Hella was the name given to girls who died too early, and became vampires after. Transformation Hella is the only member of Woland's retinue who's not in the scene of the last flight. According to Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya, Bulgakov's third wife, it was because he could never finish his novel properly. Vasili Lakshina remembers what happened when he draw her attention to the fact that Hella was not at the flight: Elena Sergeevna looked at me with confused eyes and suddenl y she cried out with an unforgettable expression: " !" - "Misha forgot Hella!" On the other hand, it's not unlikely that Bulgakov kept her from the scene deliberately. Her role in the Variety Theatre, Sadovaya 302 bis and Satans' ball is a "supporting act". Vampires traditionally belong to a lower category of the evil spirits. They don't belong in hell. Maybe she became an ordinary dead girl again after having accomplished Woland's mission.

the guests at the ball


English > Characters > Demonic characters > The guests at the ball

All guests at Satan's ball have some common characteristics. They're all dead, of course, and with the exception of the musicians, they all did something which made them go to hell - or which could have made them go to hell. The advantage of them being dead was that Bulgakov did not have to disguise their names. Here's a selection. The Frieda character got a page of her own because, other than the other guests at the ball, she will return in the novel later. Johann Strauss The waltz king is, of course, the Viennese composer Johann Strauss jr.(1825-1899). His father, Johann Strauss sr. (1804-1849), was quite famous himself as the composer of the Radetzky Marsch. But his sonSchani would rapidly

become more famous with unforgettable waltzes as An der schnen blauen Donau, the Kaiserwalzer and Wiener Blut and with the operettes Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron. In the era of Johann Strauss jr. the Viennese Waltz was not played in theatres or concert halls like it happens today, but mainly in dance halls, at receptions or at other mundane events. Henri Vieuxtemps Vieuxtemps is Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881), a Belgian virtuoso violinist from Verviers. At the age of ten he made his debut in Paris, where he was introduced by a virtuoso violinist of my hometown Leuven, Charles Auguste de Briot (1802-1870). He travelled the world giving concerts, taught in the conservatory of Brussels and for some time, from 1846 to 1851, also in the conservatory of Saint-Petersburg, where he was first violinist of the imperial court and first soloist of the Royal Theatre. He was very successful with his own compositions too, among which 7 concertos, chambre music and compositions for violin and piano. It was common practice to hire musicians from all over the world to play at important receptions like the ones at the Spaso House. Monsieur Jacques Monsieur Jacques is Jacques Coeur (1395-1456), a rich French merchant who became superintendent of finances under Charles VII (14031461). He granted important loans to the king to finance his wars. The start of his career wasn't very lucky because, before he became successful, he was associated with a counterfeiter. And later he was accused of an attempt to poison Agnes Sorel (1422-1450), the king's mistress. He was condemned to death, which later was changed into a lifelong banishment and a money fine. His properties were confiscated so that the king did not have to refund his loan. Later Louis XI would posthumously rehabilitate Jacques Coeur. In The Master and Margarita Korovyev called him a country traitor and an alchimist, but in fact he was not. He built a splendid castle in his native town Bourges Earl Robert Earl Robert, "a queen's lover" according to Korovyev, is Robert Dudley(1532-1588), count of Leicester and a childhood friend of the British queen Elisabeth I (1533-1603). He was the fifth of thirteen children. His spouse, Amy Robsart (1534-1560), died in mysterious circumstances but not, as suggested by Bulgakov, due to poisoning. In reality it was after falling down a flight of stairs. Many rumours were going on about a liaison between Dudley and the queen. Many believed that Dudley had killed his wife to marry Elisabeth. Ironically enough, Amy's dead made a marriage impossible because Elisabeth was strongly influenced by the public opinion. She placed Count Robert in command of the army - he had to defeat the Spanish Armada - but he died soon after. Signora Tofana Signora Tofana is Teofania di Adamo (1653-1719). She was one of three poisoners with the same name from the 17th century. The poison having her name, aqua tofana, probably contained arsenic and deadly nightshade, also called Belladonna and one of the most toxic plants found in the Western hemisphere. Children have been poisoned by eating as few as three berries. Aqua tofana is a colourless and tasteless liquid, therefore an ideal mean to kill spouses or family members. We don't know much of the first Teofania, except that she came from Palermo and that she got executed under the regime of viceroy Ferdinando Alfa de Ribera for various poison murders. Teofania di Adamo herself was from Naples, and would have got the recipe from the first Tofana. She would have been driven by man-hate and would have sold the poison too - in bottles with the portrait of Saint-Nicolas. Here poison would have killed at least 600 people, including the Duke of Anjou and the popes Pius II andClemens XIV. The third Tofana, Giulia operated in

Rome and would have been the sister or the daughter of the second. She would have been sentenced to death, and executed at the Campo di Fiore. The marquise Marquise de Brinvilliers is Marie-Madeleine Dreux d'Aubray (1630-1676), a notorious poisoner who, with the help of her lover, army captain Godin de Sainte-Croix (?-1672), killed her father, her brother and her two sisters in order to get their inheritances. She would have used the notorious aqua tofana for it. There are rumours that she also killed poor people whom she frequently visited at hospitals. She was condemned to the trial by water (the forced drinking of sixteen pints of water - her torturing can be seen on the drawing at the right), followed by decapitation and cremation. Madam Minkin Madame Minkin, or in full Nastasha Fyodorovna Minkina, was the housekeeper and lover of Count Aleksey Araksheyev (1769-1854), military advisor of czar Alexander I. She was an extraordinarily cruel and pernicious woman - one day she burned, blinded by jealousy, the face of a maid with curling tongs. Her own personnel revolted against her and killed her in 1825. Aleksey Araksheyev himself had little to learn from his mistress. The woman farmers on his country Gruzino near Novgorod were obliged to give birth to at least one child per year, and because he was font of the singing of the nightingales he let hang all the cats on his territory. The emperor Rudolf Emperor Rudolf or Rudolf II of Habsburg (1552-1612), German emperor and son of Maximilian II (1527-1576), lived in Prague and was the patron ofTycho Brahe (1546-1601) and Johann Kepler (1571-1630). In 1572 Brahe discovered a new star in the Cassiopeia constellation. He described this event in his book The Stella Nova. Later he became famous because it appeared to be a supernova. It proved that the atmosphere of the stars as it was described by Aristotle wasn't constant. Johann Kepler was an assistant of Tycho Brahe. He became known for his elaboration of the laws of the movements of planets. Isaac Newton (1643-1727) would use his discoveries for the development of his gravity law. The Moscow dressmaker The Moscow dressmaker is Zoya Denisovna Pelts, the heroin of Bulgakov's own theatre play Zoya's apartment. Zoya managed a brothel under the guise of a dressmaker's shop. Her girls were so-called models and she was obsessed by the wish to change the Soviet Union for Paris. The prototype for this character could be a certain Adle Adolfovna Trostzhana, who would have had a brothel disguised as a boutique. Bulgakov read an article on her trial in the newspaper in October 1924. Caligula Caligula is the nickname of Gaius Caesar (12BC-41). He was the youngest son of Germanicus and Agrippina Senior, and he succeeded Tiberius as the emperor of Rome. People called him mentally ill, because he put Rome through many tyrannical brutalities and got eventually killed. Caligula was raised in a military camp. He was popular among the soldiers and there he got his nickname Caligula (soldier's boot), from the Latin caligae. In his own time nobody used this nickname, it got only popular because historians used it all the time. Messalina Messalina, in full Valeria Messalina (15BC-48) was the third wife of the Roman emperor Claudius (the successor of Caligula). She was the daughter of Domitia Longina and Valerius Messalla Barbatus. She was from a respectable Roman family, but she was known for her immorality. Once she would have challanged a notorious Roman prostitute, Scylla, to a sex competition. Scylla gave up after 25 men, but Messalina persisted until daybreak.

Eventually she was executed because Claudius heard that she had organised a conspiracy against him. Later her daughter Claudia Octavia would become the first wife of emperor Nero. Maliuta Skuratov Maliuta Skuratov with his "truly fiery beard" is the nickname of the Russian nobleman and notorious historical character Grigory Lukyanovich Skuratov-Belsky (?-1573), de right-hand man of (Ivan Grozny) or Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584), the first Russian czar. Czar Ivan had proclamed so-called (oprichiny), which were sections of the empire under his direct rule. Skuratow was in command of the oprichniks, a special corps that terrorized the oprichini with fire-raisings, plunderings and murders. With his own hands he strangled the Orthodox archbishop Philip II (1507-1569). The last two guests The last two guests are not explicitely named in the novel. But from the dialogue between Margarita and Korovyev we learn that it are the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs - and chief of the secret police - Genrich Grigoryevitch Yagoda (1891-1938) and his secretary Pavel Pavlovich Bulanov (1895-1938). Both fell into disgrace and they were accused for having sprinkled the walls of the office of Nikolay Ivanovich Yezhov (1936-1938), Yagoda's successor, with poison. In 1938 they were sentenced to be shot during a show trial that got very famous, and for which they had been questioners themselves. Yagoda was a notorious gambler and womanizer. Film director Yuri Kara, however, presents another opinion in his film Master i Margarita. He shows Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin making their appearance before Margarita. According to Kara, Bulgakov would have been thinking of them when he wrote: "The last two guests were coming up the stairs!" . But he would not have named thise two dictatirs because, when the novel was written, they were still alive. I guess the discussion is open now.

23. the great ball at satan's


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 23

An oval-framed picture of a black poodle The poodle appears often in this chapter, and the attentive reader knows why: in Goethe's Faust the devil Mephistopheles appears to Faust as a poodle. Margarita saw herself in a tropical forest In her diary Elena Sergeevna, Bulgakov's spouse, describes, on April 23, 1935, a reception - which she calls "a ball"at the American embassy in theSpaso House. "I have never seen such ball in my life. They were all carrying tail coats, there were only a few jackets and smokings. They danced in a room with columns lit by streams of light coming from a gallery; behind a gate which separated them from the orchestra, there were living pheasants and other birds. We had dinner at small tables in a huge dining room with, in a corner, living baby bears, goats and roosters in cages. During dinner, musicians played the accordeon. In the room where we had dinner, the table where we were sitting was covered with a green transparant cloth lit from inside. There were armfuls of tulips and roses. I do not mention the abundance of food and champagne. On the upper

floor (it is a big and luxurious mansion) they had arranged a room with a grillroom for shashlik and people were doing Caucasian dances. We wanted to leave the place at half past three but they did not allow us to leave. We left at half past five in one of the cars of the embassy. A certain Shteiger, I believe, a man whom we do not know but whom all Moscow knows and who can always be found when there are foreigners, joined us in the car. He was sitting next to the driver and we were in the rear. It was already daylight when we arrived home . The tulips are also mentioned in this chapter, like many other eccentric details characterizing the parties of the American ambassador William Bullit (1873-1953), and which are described in a colourful way by Charles Thayer, one of the embassys officials, in his book Bears in the Caviar(1951). The man Shteiger, mentioned by Elena Sergeyevna, was Boris Sergeevich Shteiger (1892-1937), the "stool pigeon" who was the prototype for Baron Meigel in the novel.
Click here for a comprehensive description of the Spaso house

Hallelujah Again - for the third time in the novel - Hallelujah by Vincent Youmans(1898-1946) is played. We saw it before in Griboedov (chapter 5) and at doctor Kuzmins house (chapter 18).
Click here to read more about Hallelujah

An absolutely enormous fireplace In my country we put our shoe next to the chimney on the eve of December 6 for the arrival of Santa Claus - not the US-import Father Christmas, butSaint Nicolas (280-342), the former bishop of Myra. In Russia the chimney was an important ritual place as the path to another world. It was both the entrance and the exit for supernatural beings including devils and witches like in Christmas Eve written by Gogol. The soul disappeared through the chimney-pot after death. In the novels 1936 version Margarita enters Berlioz appartment through the chimney too. Tailcoaters and naked women with them The men in tailcoat and the women naked - this was apparently the dresscode at Satan's ball. The invitation which the Bulgakovs got for the reception at the American embassy in 1935 had a handwritten note joined to it with the text "Tailcoat or black suit." It is quite unlikely that any of the women were naked there. The guests at the ball
Click here for a description of the guests at the ball

A Spanish boot A Spanish boot is a wooden instrument of torture. It was some kind of mould which was put around the leg and constantly tightened. When a witch refused to confess, her legs were broken with this horrible tool. Doctor James Fian, a schoolmaster in Saltpans (Scotland) was a male witch who was under the suspicion of high treason against the king. He would eventually be burned 1591 in Edinburg. He described how he was put through the most violent and the most cruel pain in the world, namely the Spanish boot, which made that his legs were crushed and flattened, and the bones and the flesh were so bruised that the blood and the bone marrow splashed out of it in huge quantities.

Spray the walls of the office with poison The episode in which characters spray the walls of an office with poison is based on actual accusations that came to light in March 1938 in the trial of the so-called Anti-Soviet Block of Rights and Trotskyites, also called theTrial of the 21 including, among others, Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (1888-1938), Aleksei Ivanovch Rykov (18811938), Nikolai Nikolayevich Krestinsky (1883-1938) and Henrich Grigoryevich Yagoda (1891-1938). Yagoda had been removed as head of the NKVD in 1936 and - supposedly fearing implication in the murder of Kirov (in 1934) - he had ordered his secretary Pavel Petrovich Bulanov (1865-1938) to spray the walls of the office of his successor Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov (1895-1940) with poison. Yagoda and Bulanov were sentenced to be shot. Bulgakov understood all the farce of the fabricated charges, and Yagoda and Bulanov join the ranks of the imaginary poisoners at the ball. Of course Yagoda's name could not be mentioned in print after his removal. Two hamadryads with manes like lions played grand pianos Hamadryads are Greek mythological beings that live in trees. They are a specific species of dryads, which are a particular type of nymphs. Hamadryads are born bonded to a specific tree. If their tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For that reason, dryads and the gods punished any mortals who harmed trees. The Kamarinsky The word kamarinskaya is derived from the name of the city of Kamarino. The (kamarinskaya) is a Russian dance song with a short, always repeated tune and quite coarse words. One version sounds as follows: What an odd guy are you, peasant of Kamarino, how you stumble down the street. I run to the booze shop with a headache, because a peasant cant live without booze. or else: Oh you son of a bitch, muzhik (peasant) from Kamarino When on weddings the kamarinskaya is sung or danced, people dont care much of the right steps. The grotesque steps, the twitching of the shoulders, the ugly and sometime disgusting movements - its all part of the game. In 1848, the Russian composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) wrote the symphonic poem Kamarinskaya in which he introduced this popular Russian tune.
Click here to listen to an instrumental version of the kamarinskaya

A salamander-conjurer who did not burn in the fireplace At the ball Margarita sees a salamander-conjurer who did not burn in the fireplace. In medieval lore salamanders were thought to survive fires. Another interesting connection is that the fireproof salamander was the symbol of the French king Franois I (14941547), who was the grandfather of Marguerite de Valois (1551-1615) and the brother of Margarita van Navarra (1492-1549). On this platter a man's severed head with the front teeth knocked out Berlioz head on a platter recalls of course the biblical story of Salome who demanded to see the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The skull being used as a cup recalls the story of the last pagan Russian prince of the land of Rus, Prince Svyatoslav I of Kiev (942-972),

The prince was caught in ambush and killed by the Pechenegs (nomad people from Turkish origin) when he wanted to cross the cataracts nearChortitsa in 972. The Primary Chronicle - a Russian manuscript from the 12th century describing the history of the land of Rus in a christian fashion - mentions that Kuriy, the khan of the Pechenegs, made a chalice from his skull. It will be given to each according to his faith The words of Woland: It will be given to each according to his faith are a r ather free interpretation of Matthew 9:29: According to your faith be it done unto you. Baron Meigel The real prototype for Baron Meigel's character is, without any doubt, Baron Boris Sergeevich Shteiger (18921937). In the '20's and '30's he worked in Moscow at the (Narkompros) or the People's Commissariat for Enlightening, Department Visual Arts and simultaneously as an agent of the NKVD. In 1937 he was arrested and shot. Shteiger is mentioned several times in the diary of Elena Sergeevna. He was often found at US Embassy functions and he reported on foreigners connected with the theater, and on Soviet citizens having contacts with the embassy.

24. the extraction of the master


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 24

The title The Extraction of the Master may sound a little weird, but it's the exact translation of the Russian source text: . The Master is extracted from the insane asylum, from the clutches of the secret police, and eventually even from his life in Moscow. The verb (izvletch) is normally used to indicate, for instance, the pulling out splinters, the extraction of ore, and the derivation of square roots. He had once wandered in the wilderness for nineteen days Nineteen days is a rather comic distortion of well-known examples. In general such period of wandering is defined by a round figure - forty days, for example, or forty years. And the usual sustenance is manna or locusts and wild honey. A tiger Behemoth's story refers to an incident in the Bible when Jesus is led to the desert to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). He fasts for forty days and forty nights and becomes hungry. And then Satan says to him: "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." But Jesus refuses to demonstrate his powers. Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promises him that they will be his if you will bow down and worship me. But Jesus refuses and Satan leaves him. History will judge The Russian text is literally: or History will judge us. This phrase literally refers of course jestingly to Behemoth's lying story, but in the Soviet context and the context of this novel it is more resonant. The official Soviet ideologues rewrote history regularly. There was even a joke that in the West it may be hard to predict the future, but in Russia it's even harder to predict the past. And the dissidents' dream was captured in the idea that history would have the last word, and would be on their side.

The novel itself is about variants of historical fact which makes you think of the importance of the reliability of the sources. In Italian this sentence sounds as Ai posteri l'ardua sentenza. It's a line from the poem Il cinque maggio or The Fifth of May by the Italian poet Ales-sandro Manzoni (1785-1873). 5 mei 1821 was the day Napoleon Bona-parte (17691821) died. Manuscripts don't burn (Rukopisi ne goryat) - this phrase became a popular saying in the Soviet Union when The Master and Margarita was first published. It was used especially in reference to writers whose works were considered dangerous by the government. Many of these writers never wrote down their stories or poems. They memorized their works so that the secret police would not find copies of the writings. This method helped preserve their stories for years. As a result, "manuscripts don't burn" because no matter what happens to the written copy of the work, it will always exist in the mind of its author. And at night, by moonlight, I have no peace The Master, the hero of the novel, here quotes his own hero, Pilate, and repeats his gesture: he addressed "the distant moon and wrung his hands". This is one of the keys to the similarity of the two "heroes". Neither of them is "heroic" in the traditional sense and they both consider themselves as cowards of a sort. In nothing but his underwear, though with a suitcase in his hand In the Stalin period many people kept a suitcase with warm clothes ready under their beds in case the knock at the door came for them. Aloisy Mogarych When you read The Master and Margarita in English or in Dutch, you only meet Mogarych in this chapter. In the Russian version however, the Master already mentions him when he talks to Ivan in doctor Stravinsky's hospital. When you follow the link hereunder you can read the lost translation. The text in blue is not translated in the English and Dutch editions. When you read it, please consider the fact that it's been translated by someone who is only in his second year of Russian... :-)
Click here to read Click here to read more Click here to watch the meeting of the Master and Mogarych this about loose Aloisy end Mogarych

No cat has ever drunk bruderschaft with anyone The German word bruderschaft is not translated in Russian here, but phonetically translitterated as (bruderschaft). This is to indicate that we're not talking a usual brotherhood here, but the typical German special pledge of brotherhood drunk with interlaced right arms, after which the friends address each other with the familiar form ty. No papers, no person

During the Soviet period it was, even more than today, important to citizens to have well-ordered documents to keep out of trouble. The typical documents recorded places of residence, nationality and professional occupation. Seals, dates, and official language were essential, as the discussion on the certificate for Nikolai Ivanovich demonstrates. Being without documents could mean trouble with the police. Documents were literally a matter of life and death in the Soviet period. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question of the passports still leads to discussions and sometimes trouble with the police in the streets. Or to long procedural steps when you need Russian certificates for use abroad. Some documents which in Belgium are kept by the local authorities in the city hall, and of which a duplicate is issued immediately and on simple request - like the birth certificate - you have to keep by yourself in Russia. For other documents - like the prove of nationality, the certificate of residence or the prove of your marital status - the Russians use the internal passport, which still is a document containing much more information than in other countries. When a door banged on the landing above This sentence shows that The Master and Margarita never had a completed authorial text. A man in nothing but his underwear, carrying a suitcase and wearing a cap (Mogarych) hurded down the stairs, bumped into Annushka, flung her aside so that she struck the back of her head against the wall. But some pages earlier was described that Mogarych was turned upside down by Azazello and that he left Woland's bedroom through the open window. So he can't have banged the door on the landing above and then bump into Annushka on the stairs. And so was the car in the courtyard And here's another example of the lack of an authorial text. There is written: "The foreigner was long gone. And so was the car in the courtyard", while immediately after that is described how Azazello said goodbye to Margarita - in the car - and asked if she was comfortably seated. Probably Bulgakov added the description of this goodbye in a later version, but did he forget to delete the phrase which was written just before. Annushka We know Annushka from chapter 3. She had spilled the sunflower oil on which Berlioz slipped.

annushka
English > Characters > Moscow characters > Annushka

Role "Annushka has already bought the sunflower oil, and has not only bought it, but has already spilled it. So the meeting will not take place..." That's what Woland said to Berlioz when he announced him his decapitation at the bench of the Patriarch's Ponds. Right after Berlioz's decapitation a sharp-nosed and bare-headed woman shouted the following to another one: "...Annushka, our Annushka! From Sadovaya! It's her work... She bought sunflower oil at the grocery, and went and broke the whole litre-bottle on the turnstile! Messed her skirt all up, and swore and swore! And he, poor man, must have slipped and - right on to the rails..." The only thing known about her is that she could be seen every day either with the can, or with bag and can together, in the kerosene shop, or in the market, or under the gateway, or on the stairs, but most often in the kitchen of apartment no.48, of which this Annushka was one of the tenants. Apartment no. 48? Yes! Annushka lives in the well

known block at Sadovaya. And wherever she was or wherever she appeared, a scandal would at once break out,. She bore the nickname of the Plague. When Annushka came out of the apartment building at the same moment that Margarita left it after her reunion with the Master, she had picked up the little golden horseshoe that Margarita had lost. Azazello went back in to search for it and offered her two hundred roubles. With this money Annushka went to a department store on the Arbat. She handed over a ten-rouble bill to the cashier, but it appeared to be a ten-dollar bill... Foreign currency! Having foreign currency was punished heavily. Annushka's story about people flying out the window of the house on Sadovaya and about the little horseshoe which Annushka, in her own words, had picked up in order to present it to the police, was listened to attentively, at first. But then the investigator got properly sick of her, and wrote a pass for her to get out on a green slip of paper, after which, to everyone's pleasure, Annushka disappeared from the building. Background Annushka is, together with professor Kuzmin, of the few characters to keep her actual name in Bulgakov's novel. Bulgakov's first wife rememberedAnnushka Goryacheva, who lived across the corridor in apartment number 48. The apartment was a sort of working-class dormitory with 7 rooms off a central corridor. Annushka Goryasheva had a son and beat him often. They used to buy home-brew vodka, get drunk, fight, and make noise. Boulgakov could get terribely annoyed by the real Annouchka, as we can conclude from the fact that he wrote in his diary on October 29, 1923: "The first day of heating was marked by the fact that the famous Annushka left the window of the big kitchen opened during all night. I resolutely do not know what to do with the scoundrel who lives in this flat."

25. how the procurator tried to save judas of kiriath


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 25

The dread Antonia Tower The AntoniaTower was already presented in chapter 19, when Margarita reread fragments having neither beginning nor end of the Master's fire-damaged typescript. The Hasmonaean Palace The Hasmonaean Palace was also described in chapter 19. Bald Skull Golgotha, which Bulgakov calls Bald Skull here, was already described in the chapters 2 and 16. The palace of Herod the Great Bulgakov's notes show that he took the architectural details of the palace of Herod the Great from The Life of Christ by Frederic Farrar (1831-1903). Farrar was a famous British preacher, born in Bombay (India). He was among other things - minister in the famous Westminster Abbey and laterDean of Canterbury. His talent to mix historical details with biblical facts attracted masses of people to his sermons. The palace was situated at the west side of the Jerusalem city walls.
The Life of Christ is downloadable in our archives section

An oyster

Bulgakov may have found this detail in Le Procurateur de Jude (1892) byAnatole France (1844-1924), pseudonym for Jacques Anatole Franois Thibault. In his preparatory notes to the last edition of The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov has a note: "Could Pilate have eaten oysters?" The excerpt of the text of Anatole France, which may have inspired Bulgakov for this question, sounds as follows: "... la table supportait des plats d'argent dans lesquels taient prpars des becfigues au miel, des grives, des hutres du Lucrin et des lamproies de Sicile." or, in English: "... on the table were silver plates in which were prepared becfigues with honey, oysters from Lucrinus and sea lampreys from Sicily". The lake of Lucrinus, in Campania, northeast of Naples, had a connection to the sea, and was very famous for its oyster parks. In 1538 the lake disappeared as a result of an earthquake.
Le Procurateur de Jude is downloadable in our archives section

Falerno or Caecuba "An excellent vintage, Procurator, "Caecuba, thirty years old", the procurator replied courteously. but it is not Falerno?"

Bulgakov originally thought Falerno wine was red. When he learned that it was dark amber, he changed the wine to Caecuba in most passages. He wanted to use a wine with the colour of blood. Unfortunately, Bulgakov died before he was able to make this change throughout the novel. In this chapter he found a textual solution by this dialogue, but in chapter 30, where the colour matters, the text wasn't changed. For us, for thee, Caesar, father of the Romans, best and dearest of men! According to some scholars this toast would be historically accurate, but I haven't found any confirmation. But he sounded very contemporary for the Soviet citizen in the Stalin era. Bulgakov displaced much of what was typically to Russian in the 1930's to the Pilate chapters: interrogation and beating, political double-dealing, spying... Pilate's reflexive response to the mention of Caesar is part of this pattern. The feast of the twelve gods The twelve senior gods of the Roman pantheon were: Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Vulcan, Apollo, Diana, Ceres, Venus, Mars, Vesta, Mercury andMinerva. The lares Lar (plural lares) is a Latin word of Etruscan origing meaning lord or ruler. Lares were Roman deities - or rather ghosts - protecting the house and the family. Another kind of household gods were the penates, they were honoured, together with the lares, in the house, where they were in charge of the daily necessities, the daily bread. They were the gods of the domestic storeroom. This messiah Messiah comes from the Hebrew word ( mashiah), meaning the anointed one. The word exists in many religions like Judaism, christianity and islam, but in each case with another meaning. In Judaism a messiah is a leader who will herald a messianic period of peace and prosperity for the Jewish and other people, which will eventually lead to the end of the world. This person will be a descendant of King David(1005 BC-

970 BC) and will rebuild the nation of Israel, bring world peace by restoring the Davidic Kingdom. The messiah is seen as an important prophet and king. Many times in history Jewish men have claimed the title of messiah, but none of them was ever accepted by Judaism. Christianity believes that the Messiah came in the person of Jesus Christ. To christians the Messiah has both a divine and a human side. He is seen as the Son of God and as God himself, be it in another way than the Fatherand the Holy Spirit with whom he exists in trinity. The Messiah plays an important role in christian eschatology or expectation of the end of the world. When he returns, Jesus Messiah will square up with everything which is hostile to God and then establish, from Jerusalem, the dominion over the earth. According to the islam the messiah is Isa (Arab for Jesus), which means that he ascended into heaven and will return to finish the rest of his life and clear the earth from idolaters. The arrival of the prophet Ahmed (Mohammed) would have been announced during his life. According to the Islam the messiah will, somewhat like in christianity, herald the last days. Were they given the drink before being hung on the posts? Some bible scholars consider the offering of drinking to the condamned suffering at the cross as some legal kind of mercy - as Pilate means it here too, but in the Gospels it is rather presented as an ultimate mockery, which may explain why Jesus refuses it. Matthew 27:34 - There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it and Mark 15:23 - Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it Among human vices he considered cowardice one of the first This saying is not found in the Gospels, though it is of great thematic importance for the novel. Bulgakov himself, according to one of his friends, regarded cowardice as the worst of all vices, "because all the rest comes from it". And the Soviet authorities apparently felt tackled by this quotation, because all references to this "worst of vices" were removed from the original magazine publication of The Master and Margarita. Aphranius This character appears already in chapter 2, but only now he's been given a name. Maybe because he is the head of Pilate's secret police.
Click here to read more about Aphranius

I have just received information that he is going to be killed tonight Pilate seems to have a double intention with this comment. On the one hand he wishes to somehow make up for the unjust execution of Yeshua, on the other he is making sure that Kaifa will have problems resulting from Judas' death. He rubbed his hands briskly This gesture of Pilate is probably the best known exploit of the historical Pontius Pilate: he washed his hands in innocence. Matthew 27:24 - When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it".26. the burial
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 26

Banga Banga is Pilate's dog. To him he could freely complain about the hemicrania which tortured him. Banga loved and respected his boss as the most powerful man in the world, the ruler of all men, thanks to whom the dog considered himself a privileged, lofty and special being. He wanted to comfort his master and face the misery together with him. So he stayed with him for 2.000 years, and rush along down the path of moonlight with him later. The nickname of Bulgakov's second wife Lyubov was Lyubanga. She was the one who brought animals into his life. In 1928 Bulgakov made a drawing which he had dedicated to Lyubanga - on the top is written to Banga. it shows their (domovoi) or house spirit which they had called Rogash, and who apparently runs off with a 5 carat ring. Banga and Pilate inspired the rock band Pearl Jam to de song Pilate.
Click here to read more about Pilate and to listen to the song

Niza Just like Margarita, Niza slips out when her husband does not notice to meet her lover. But she will not support him though.
Click here to read more about Niza

If someone's not recognized, it's a sign he'll get rich " , " - "if someone's not recognized, it's a sign he'll get rich" - is not a Greek, Hebrew nor Aramaic expression, but a Russian saying. The Olive estate in Gethsemane Gethsemane means olive press in Aramaic. Bulgakov probably found this in The Life of Christ by Frederic Farrar (1831-1903), who wrote: "The name Gethsemane means 'the oil-press', and doubtless it was so called from a press to crush the olives yielded by the countless trees from which the hill derives its designation." The Gethsemane garden is traditionally located to the East of the city, across the Kedron valley, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Thirty tetradrachmas In Bulgakov's version Judas gets paid more than the thirty pieces of silver which were paid to the biblical Judas for betraying Jesus. Bulgakov writes about thirty tetradrachmas. The tetradrachma was the currency in the city state of Athens, it was a silver coin worth four drachmas. Because of its stability the tetradrachma is often colled the dollar of ancient times. The tetradrachma was not suitable to pay for daily purchases. Those were paid wit oboloi. One tetradrachma was worth 24 obeloi. In The Master and Margarita Judas does not return the money to the high priest himself. His murderers do it, but the blood on the bag is the blood of Judas of Kiriath.
Click here to read more about Judas' blood money

Now we shall always be together

Some sources mention that Bulgakov would have taken this idea of Jesus and Pilate "who would always be together" from the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus. This apocriyphal Gospel is also called The Acts of Pilatebecause it focusses on Jesus' passion, and it certainly was a source of inspiration to Bulgakov, but I could not find this phrase in it. The closest to it is the phrase from Nicodemus VIII (XXIV) 1 - "And forthwith all the saints were gathered in one under the hand of the Lord."
The Gospel of Nicodemus is downloadable in our archives section

The killing of Judas I could not verify because of a lack of sources, but according to some scholars the murder scene in Gethsemane is very similar to the Russian novella Gethsemane, written by Alexander Mitrofanovich Fyedorov (1868-1949), and published in Novoe slovo in 1910. Bulgakov would have found the scene in the moonlight in it. Fyedorov shows, just like Bulgakov, the irony of the traitor being betrayed himself. The soldiers on guard sat on stone benches playing dice In the Bible the soldiers play dice for Jesus' clothes after the crucifixion. Matthew 27:35 - "And having crucified him, they divided his garments, casting a lot, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the prophet, 'They divided my garments to themselves, and over my vesture they cast a lot". Mark 15:24 - "And having crucified him, they were dividing his garments, casting a lot upon them, what each may take". The son of an astrologer-king and a miller's daughter, the beautiful Pila Bulgakov calls Pilate the son of an astrologer-king and a miller's daughter, the beautiful Pila. There are no historical sources to justify this, but the French Bulgakov expert Marianne Gourg wrote in her comments to Claude Ligny's translation of Le Matre et Marguerite (published by R. Laffont, Paris, 1995) that Bulgakov could have found this detail in the Latin poem Pilatusof the Flemish 12th-century poet Petrus Pictor (Peter the Painter). This poem existed in Russian translation. It could be based on a legend told in Mainz about Pilate's ancestry. This legend is about the astrologist Ata and the miller's daughter Pila, and is mentioned in Pontius Pilatus, der fnfte Prokurator von Juda und Richter Jesu von Nasareth, written by Gustav Adolf Mller (1866-1928), and published in Stuttgart in 1888. The work of Petrus Pictor, born in Sint-Omaars (Saint-Omer) in French Flanders, mainly consisted in poems which were all written in medieval Latin and often aimed at misfeasances in the church and the world. Because of these satires we can situate him in the world of the wandering students and chroniclers called wandering scholars. Probably Petrus Pictor did not descend from noble nor substantial people. In his Dominus vobiscum he complains about a rich priest without higher education but with a lot of money who became bishop and he critizised the fact that a poor but educated one isnt even noticed. Pilate's name would thus come from Pila, his mother's name. Pila would come from filatus, meaning spear. Valerius Gratus Valerius Gratus was Pilate' predecessor, he was Roman procurator from 15 to 25. He was the first prefect over Judea assigned by the emperor Tiberius. It was him who had appointed Joseph Kaifa high priest. And Kaifa remained high priest for the rest of Gratus' administration and his successor Pontius Pilate. Might he not have killed himself?

Might he not have committed suicide? This idea summarizes the irony of the entire conversation, because both men know very well that it's impossible. But in their cunning way of talking they pretend it being a mystery. The main purpose of their conversation is to make up a script which has to wipe away the traces of their conspiracy. This was also the way by which, in the Soviet Union, stories were made up to explain disappearances. According to the bible Judas killed himself after having returned the thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 27:5 - And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself . One of the bodies was not found on the hilltop The rumour of the theft of Jesus' body is mentioned in Matthew 28:13-15 -"You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep'. And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy (him) and keep you out of trouble. The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present (day). Tolmai Tolmai is a name which appears in Hrodias written by Gustave Flaubert(1821-1880). This work dates from 1877 and there is a man in it, in the environment of tetrarch Herod Antipas, with that name. In the 1929 version of The Master and Margarita Aphranius was still called Tolmai. The name also appears in in The Life of Christ written by Frederic Farrar.
The Life of Christ is downloadable in our archives section

Yesterday we ate sweet spring baccuroth Sweet spring (baccuroty) is the Armaic name for fresh figswhich were typically on the menu on the Passover supper. Bulgakov made annotations in his notebooks based on The Life of Christ by Frederic Farrar. He had also made annotations based on the diary of bishop Porfirii Uspenskii (1804-1885). The latter was a famous Russian biblical archeologist who discovered the Codex Sinaiticus of the bible, a manuscript version of the Greek bible which he offered to the czar. In his diary Uspenskii had noted that sweet figs are fully ripe in the second half of April, the period thus in which the Pilate scenes are situated. The pure river of the water of life The expression the pure river of the water of life is much similar to Re velation 22:1 - Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb . The fifth procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate In chapter 13 the Master already said to Ivan that his novel would end with the words: The fifth procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate, and so it happened

27. the end of apartment no. 50


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 27

A certain Moscow institution This building is obviously the NKVD headquarters on Lubyanka square, then called Dzerzhinsky Square, after the first director of the Cheka, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926). Cheka comes from which is short for or the All-Russian

Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Speculation. It was the first of many successive organisations for State security. Bulgakov never refers to the NKVD by name, and almost never uses a noun for its agents. That the windows are ominously lit through the night may be a reference as well to Stalin's famous all-night vigils.
Click here to read more about the NKVD

A house by the Kamenny Bridge According to Bulgakov Sempleyarov lives at the (Kamenny Most) or Stone Bridge in the (Dom na Naberezhnoi) or House on the Embankment. This complex was built at the Moscow river bank in 1928-1931 by architect Boris Mikhailovich Yofan (1891-1976). There is a theatre, a movie theatre, two big department stores and a museum. In the Soviet period it had also apartments for the party elite.
Click here to read more about the House on the Embankment

The messenger Karpov? I dont know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for this character. The word (karp), of which the name may be derived, means carp. Kitaitsev For Kitaitsev, the head of the programme department of the Spectacles Commission I dont know (yet) neither if there exists a real prototype. The word (kit) means whale and Russian words starting with (kitaj) usually refer to something Chinese. The one who headed the investigation Again Bulgakov is careful not to call names when he presents agents of the secret police. He will persist in it further through this chapter. Astoria Hotel The Astoria Hotel at Saint-Isaac square in Saint-Petersburg, where Bulgakov and his wife used to stay when they were in Leningrad, was built in 1910-1912 and was one of the best hotels in the city before the 1917 revolution. It became a hotel for the elite and foreigners after. It is said that Bulgakov himself stayed in room 412. Hm can it be a coincidence? Ive been in Moscow some twenty times now, and - though it was in theBaltschug Kempinski hotel - I had room 412 some 5 or 6 times! Ivanushka Almost everywhere in The Master and Margarita Bulgakov uses the pseudonym Bezdomny to talk about Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev. But in this chapter hes called Ivan, or even Ivanushka. It symbolizes the childlike powerlessness that Ivan seems to undergo in this phase of the novel.
Click here to read more about the use of petnames in Russian

A tall sheepskin hat, a Georgian felt cape over a nightshirt, and blue leather bedroom slippers

The English translators Pevear and Volokhonsky describe quite accurately how Stepan (Styopa) Bogdanovich Likhodeev is dressed when he returns from the Crimea, but its a pity that his clothes are not indicated by their original Russian names. The sheepskin hat is a Caucasian fur cap, a (papakha), and the Georgian felt cape is a cossacks cape, a (burka). Styopas clothes are rather strange for someone returning from the Crimea, but this may be the result of the many versions that Bulgakov made of the novel, and the lack of a completed authorial text. In one of the previous versions of the novel Styopa was indeed sent to Vladikavkaz in the Caucasus, where sheepskin hats and Georgian felt capes are normal. He did not remember, drank starka somewhere Starka can be (starka vodka). The Polish starka vodka is called the most noble and the most mysterious of all Polish vodkas, and the recepy is more than 500 years old. But there exists a Russian starka as well, and thats a kind of cocktail made of white vermouth or white port with cognac, sugar and petals of fruit trees.

28. the last adventures of koroviev and behemoth


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 28

A currency store In the Russian text the name of the currency store is mentioned: its the (Torgsin). Torgsin is a typical Soviet contraction for (Torgovlia s inostrantsami) or Trade with foreigners. This was the name for these stores in the 20s and 30s. In theory, anyone with hard currency and valuables could enter this store and purchase unobtainable goods such as food and clothing. There were, of course, security guards at the door who would not let people in if they looked as if they did not possess any valuables.
Click here to read more about Click here to read more about the Torgsin store the foreign currency stores in the Soviet Union

Harun al-Rashid The Abbasid was a dynasty of the Arab Empire which ruled from 750 to 1258 from the capital Bagdad. The dynasty was headed by a caliph. One of the caliphs was Harun al-Rashid (?766--809). He was known in legend for walking about the city at night disguised as a beggar, familiarizing himself with the life of his subjects. He became a hero of songs and figures in some tales from The 1001 Nights. Palosich Palosich is the contraction of the first name and the patronymicum of Pavel Iosifovich. In rapid speech first names and patronymics are often run together in Russian. Choice Kerch Herring Kerch Herring is a much-prized kind of herring from the city of Kerch, which is situated in the south-western corner of the Crimea, on the Sea of Azov. Whistle! Just like Archibald Archibaldovich in Griboedov (see chapter 5) rounds off his vigorous way of acting with the exclamation Whistle!, the impressivePavel Iosifovich gives exactly the same command to call the police.

Bitter, bitter! Theres an old Russian custom of shouting ! (Gorko) or Bitter! every now and then during the banquet after a wedding. The newly-weds are then expected to kiss so as to make it sweet. In the much praised movie picture ((Moskva slezam ne verit) or Moscow doesnt believe in tears by Vladimir Valentinovich Menshov (1937) from 1979 we can see a wedding party at which the guests chant "Bitter! Bitter!". The movie was awarded with theOscar for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1979.
Click here to watch an excerpt of Menshov's movie

Don Quichote Don Quixote is the world-famous novel written between 1605 and 1615 by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). Bulgakov knew this novel very well, since he had made a stage adaptation of it in 19371939. Dead Souls Dead Souls is the world-famous novel written between 1842 and 1852 by the Russian author Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (1809-1852). Bulgakov knew this novel very well too, since he had made a stage adaptation of it in 19301932. Like Bulgakov himself, and like the Master, Gogol burned a part of his manuscript. Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Thalia Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Thalia are three of a total of nine Greek muses: Melpomene is the muse of tragedy, Polyhymnia is the muse of dance, later also of pantomime, and Thalia is the muse of comedy . The Inspector General The Inspector General is, in English translations, sometimes used to refer to (The Revisor), a comedy written by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol(1809-1852), and one of the masterpieces of Russian theatre. It was written in 1836 and Bulgakov made a film script of it, but the movie was never made. Evgeny Onegin Koroviev does not refer to the opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), but to the long verse poem by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin(1799-1837) on which the opera was based. Sofya Pavlovna The citizeness happens to have the same name as the heroine of Woe From Wit by Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov (1795-1829). It may have been this connection that landed her such a desirable job in the Griboedov house. She had one problem though: she didn't know that Dostoevsky was immortal Panaev and Skabichevsky Koroviev and Behemoth register using the names of the writer Ivan Ivanovich Panaev (1812-1862) and the critic and journalist Alexander Skabichevsky (1858-1912). None of both lived in the Soviet era, but Bulgakov considered them as second rate. According to him they could not see deep meaning, but they could judge only by superficial categories like membership in the writers' union. So they are exchangeable, which Bulgakov illustrates when they

register. Next to the name Panaev Koroviev signs with Skabichevsky and Behemoth acts exactly the other way around. A special little balyk The (balyk) or (balychok) is a long fillet of fish cut in one piece, and then smoked or salted, and it is very expensive. The fiction writer Petrakov-Sukhovey I dont know (yet) if there exist real prototypes for the fiction writer Petrakov-Sukhovey or his wife Antonida Porfirievna. The word (sukhovey) refers to a hot dry wind, and (porfir) is a hard kind of stone, like granite. Moskovskaya vodka (Moskovskaya Vodka) is, literally Vodka from Moscow. Its the brand name of a 100 % grain vodka of 40 %. The chronicler Boba Kandalupsky I dont know (yet) if there exists a real prototype for this character. (Boba) is a diminutive for (Boris), (kandaly) are chains or shackles, and a (kandalynik) is a chained prisoner.

29. the fate of the master and margarita is decided


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 29

One of the most beautiful houses in Moscow Bulgakov describes here the Pashkov House in Mokhovaya street. It is built between 1784 and 1787, and was indeed about 150 years old when Bulgakov wrote his novel. Formerly part of the Rumyantsev Museum, Bulgakov visited it in the '20s, when it had become the Lenin Library. Today it houses the manuscript collection of the State Library, including - appropriately - Bulgakov's archival manuscripts.
Click here to read more about the Pashkov house

Resting his sharp chin on his fist Woland imitates in a very accurate way the pose of the statue the Thinker of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). This statue is the central part of his famous work The Gates of Hell.
Click here to read more about the Gates of Hell

Little hovels destined to be pulled down From the Pashkov House Woland can also see, between the palaces, the (Khram Khrista Spasitelya) or The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. You may think that this is not exactly a little hovel destined to be pulled down, but maybe you should learn to now this cathedrals story first.

Click here to read the story of the cathedral

I like Rome better Woland and Azazello have their view over Moscow while Torgsin and Griboedov are on fire.It recalls how emperor Nero (37-68) had a view over Rome after he had put the city on fire himself in the year 64. Originally Bulgakov had planned for this to happen to Moscow as well in the novel. He does not deserve the light, he deserves peace Scholars disagree about the significance of the Master's fate. Some consider that the Master's fate is less than light because he does not persevere in his writing, he loses faith in himself. Others think peace for a creative writer may be no less a fate than light. Timiriazev Koroviev refers to the statue of the famous Russian botanist Kliment Arkadyevich Timiriazev (1843-1920) at Nikitsky Gates.

30. it's time! it's time!


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 30

It's Time! It's Time! In Russian this chapter is entitled ! ! (Pora! Pora!) or, indeed, Its time! Its time!. This is a reference to the poem Its time, my friend, its time!written by Alexander Pushkin in 1834.
Click here to listen to Click here to listen to a musical version of the poem in Russian the poem in Russian

There was decidedly no one to eavesdrop Apparently the Master can be quiet now. There will be no more evil forces on the lurk to betray him. Aloisy, are you home? The person who wants to speak to Aloisy vanishes when he hears what happened to his friend. Obviously he doesn't want to be associated with someone who has been arrested. Significantly, Margarita asks his name, which, of course, remains a mystery. Peace be unto you Bulgakov playfully gives this common Hebrew greeting to his demon. The risen Christ spoke these words too when he appeared to his disciples (Luke 24:36 - While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." or John 20:26) - And after eight days, his disciples were again in the house and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were shut, Jesus came, and taking his place in the middle of them, he said, May peace be with you! They are also regularly used in every liturgy or mass.

Falernian wine, [red as blood] Bulgakov originally thought Falerno wine was red. When he learned it was dark amber, he changed the wine to Caecuba in most passages. He wanted to use a wine with the colour of blood. Unfortunately, Bulgakov died before he was able to make this change throughout the novel. In this chapter he found a textual solution by this dialogue, but in chapter 30, where the colour matters, the text wasn't changed. Chapter 25 "An excellent vintage, Procurator, "Caecuba, thirty years old", the procurator replied courteously. Chapter 30 "Messire sends you a present here he adverted precisely to the master a bottle of wine. I beg you to note that its the same wine the procurator of Judea drank. Falernian wine. The readers of the English translation made by Pevear and Volokhonski may not understand why I wrote that in this chapter the colour matters. Thats because the translators did not translate the phrase which is written by Bulgakov right after the above-mentioned excerpt. In the Pevear and Volokhonski we read: "The wine was sniffed, poured into glasses, held up to the light in the window, which was disappearing before the storm." But the Russian text looks as follows: " , , . , ". Which should have been translated like this: "The wine was sniffed, poured into glasses, held up to the light in the window, which was disappearing before the storm. And they saw, how it all was painted in the colour of blood". Or, like translator Michael Glenny did: "They sniffed the wine, then poured it into glasses and looked through it towards the window. The light was already fading with the approach of the storm. Filtered through the glass, the light turned everything to the colour of blood." Thus, even though the wine had not the desired colour, Bulgakov left the text the light turned everything to the colour of blood when they looked through the glasses towards the window. The Falerno was the most famous wine in ancient times and was produced in the Campania region. More than 3000 years ago the Greeks plante the Aglianico and the Falanghina there. The area is named Falerno del Massico and is one of the smallest d.o.c. areas in Italy. A broad spectrum of wines is produced there in which tradition, modern vinification and biological cultivation play an important role. The most renowned Falernian today is the Falerno del Massico of the Villa Matilde, made from Aglianico and Piedirosso. There exists white Falerno too The Caecuba was also a strong wine from the Larium region, but according to my information its no longer produced. You can think, so how can you be dead? but it is not Falerno?"

Azazello makes an allusion to a statement of Ren Descartes (1596-1650). in Latin Renatus Cartesius. He was a French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, One of the most important of his time. With his posing: Cogito ergo sum or I think, so I am. Descartes took a dualistic position; he separated body and soul. He said that we should doubt everything, including if our body exists and we dont dream all this. But you won't forget a single word of it? In chapter 24 was already said what dissident writers in the Soviet Union did for not being caught. Many of them never wrote down their stories or poems. They memorized their works so that the secret police would not find copies of the writings. This explains Margaritas question if the Master will not forget a single word of it. Many writers distributed to various reliable friends different parts of their work. I'll cut your hand off! This is the first and only time in the novel that one of the demonic characters reacts so aggressively against a sign of christian symbolic.

32. forgiveness and eternal refuge


English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Chapter 32

Gods, my gods! This paragraph was written when Bulgakov knew that he was dying of nephrosclerosis. According to some sources the last line of the paragraph was intentionally left unfinished. "And without regret he leaves the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, with a light heart he gives himself into the hands of death, knowing that she alone..." Bulgakov's wife Elena Sergeevna would have insisted to finish this sentence and in some versions of the novel it ended with can bring him peace. In the Russian edition there is written at the end, but between clear brackets: < . >. In the English traslations the sentence is simply finished with can comfort you (Glenny) or can bring him peace (Pevear en Volokhonsky). And the French cant stand neither to see a sentence with no end, because the French reader sees a nicely finished phrase lui apportera la paix. Koroviev, the dark-violet knight When they leave Moscow the members of Wolands retinue change and turn back into their original forms. Koroviev changes in a dark-violet knight with a most gloomy and never-smiling face.
Click here to read about the transformation of Koroviev

Behemoth, the best jester the world has ever seen Behemoth changes into a slim youth, a demon-page, and the "best jester the world has ever seen.
Click here to read about the transformation of Behemoth

Azazello, the demon of the waterless desert Azazello loses his fang. His eyes were both the same, empty and black, and his face was white and cold and he showed himself "as the demon of the waterless desert, the killer-demon".

Click here to read about the transformation of Azazello

A stony, joyless, flat summit Bulgakov most likely describes Mont Pilatus at the lake of Luzern in Switzerland. Although the name of this mountain has probably nothing to do with Pontius Pilate. According to the apocryphal book Mors Pilati or The death of Pilate the body of Pilate would have been transported to Losania, after some attempts to dump it, first in Rome and later in France, and it would have been buried in the mountains. But Losania may be Lausanne, and not Luzern. The name of the mountain in Luzern is almost certainly derived from Mons Pilateus, which means The mountain with the hat.Because very often at noon the clouds form some kind of a cap around the mountains summit. But those who love folklore dont mind. According to the legend the devil, each year on Goof Friday, digs up Pilates body here to put it on a stone throne while Pilate washes his hands. Twelve thousand moons Margarita makes a miscalculation here: twelve thousand moons is one thousand years. But Pilate is sitting on this mountain since two thousand years. Romantic master! Here Bulgakov sets himself apart from the Socialist Realism of his time and prefers to identify with the Romantics of the 19th Century such asNikolai Vasilyevich Gogol (1809-1852) or Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffman (17761822). The individual vision of the artist was vitally important to them. Bulgakov had read an article on Hoffman which expressed the following ideas that run throughout the novel: a real artist was doomed to solitude, art is powerless when confronted with a reality that is destructive to art, the artist is not of the ordinary world, clarity and peace are needed for creation, a man of genius faces two possibilities: to succumb to reality and become a philistine or to die before his time or go mad. The Romantic idea of the artist as a tool of divine inspiration is also present as a work of art is a revelation granted to the artist. In the evening listen to Schubert's music Franz Schubert (1797-1828) is the famous Austrian romantic composer with several connections to Bulgakov. He died very young, set several poems of Goethe to music -including one of Faust - he suffered constant defeats in his life, and suffered from depression. Melancholy suicide and death were his themes. Woland threw himself into a gap This scene corresponds to the climax of the concert opera La damnation de Faust written by the French composer Louis Hector Berlioz (1803-1869). The masters memory began to fade The Master's peace comes at the price of the loss of his memory, but it is his memory we must rely on for the preservation of his novel - see Margaritas question in chapter 30. On the eve of Sunday The Sunday is Easter Sunday. Just like Faust and La Divina Commedia,The Master and Margarita is a story playing in the period of Easter. The Moscow and Yershalaim scenes correspond with the timing in terms of days of the week.

The fifth procurator of Judea, the equestrian Pontius Pilate The novel Bulgakov writes about the Master ends with the same words as the novel the Master writes about Pilate.

epilogue
English > The novel > Annotations per chapter > Epilog

Feodosiya Feodosiya or Theodosia is a seaport town in the Crimea, in Ukraine. The city counts 74.669 inhabitants, most of them are Russians. The language is Russian; few people speak Ukrainian. Today Feodosia is a tourist draw with beaches, sources, mud baths, sanatoria and rest homes. Apart of that the people live from agriculture, fishing, and fish processing industry. The Morye shipyard is situated here in which the Voschod hydrofoils are built. Armavir Armavir is a Russian town in the Krasnodar kray on the left bank of theKuban river on the Taman peninsula. Armavir used to be the second industrial center of the kray after Krasnodar. It is situated 202 km northeast of Krasnodar at the foot of the Caucasus. Its the intersection of the railroad from Rostov-on-Don to Baku. There is also a petroleum pipeline from Azerbaijan. A pickled mushroom These pickled mushrooms are still available today. Abducted by the gang of murderers Probably were confronted here with the missing authorial text again. Bulgakov describes the official version given here: Margarita has disappeared maybe abducted by a gang of murderers. And the same would be true for the Master. But at the end of chapter 30 Bulgakov wrote about the declaration that they were both found dead. Vodka with blackcurrant buds Vodka with blackcurrant buds is a vodka flavoured with black currant buds, comparable to the blackcurrant gin known in Belgium and Holland. The festal spring full moon The festal spring full moon is the first full moon after the spring solstice, which is important to determine the date of Easter. The Institute of History and Philosophy While there was no institute with exactly this name, there were similar combinations, for example, LIFLI: the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History . Professor Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev

Only at the first and the last page of the novel Ivan is mentioned by his last name Ponyrev. Most of the time hes mentioned with his pseudonymBezdomny or, like in chapter 27, Ivan or Ivanushka. The fifth procurator of Judea, the equestrian Pontius Pilate The epilog of the novel Bulgakov writes about the Master ends with the same words as the novel Bulgakov writes about the Master , which on its term ends with the same words as the novel the Master writes about Pilate. Or, in other words: it is the third time that this sentence appears in The Master and Margarita. In the Russian version Bulgakov changes his approach though. Everywhere else throughout the book he calls Pontius Pilate (Pontij Pilat), but here he writes all of the sudden (Pontijskij Pilat).

marko fondse
English > The novel > Interpretations > Marko Fondse

Source: Marko Fondse translated the novel in Dutch twice, the second time he co-operated with Aai Prins. Fondse wrote an interesting recap. Very modestly, he called his own translation "one of the most reliable in the world". The Master and Margarita No one will ever be able to define the final editorial text of Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, one of the most famous novels of Russian literature of our century, but only published, heavily mutilated, a quarter of a century after the author's death in 1940. An attentive reader will always have questions about some loose ends, which result from repeatedly rewriting, shortening and extending again of the novel, and, of course, also from the untimely death of the author, who was almost blind in the last period of his life. Different from Bulgakov's theatrical novel Black Snow, which stops in the middle of a sentence, The Master and Margarita can actually be considered as a basicly completed work. Bulgakov worked on the novel from 1928 until just before his death on March 10, 1940, with long intervals. In a first draft the book was kind of a diabolade with an interlaced story about Pontius Pilate. In 1930 the writer, who wasn't allowed to publish anything anymore since 1925, destroyed the unfinished manuscript, just some notebooks with a rough version survived. Only in 1932 he resumed the thread of what was going to be his masterpiece. Meanwhile he ad experienced a huge change in his life. After some ups and downs he had maried Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya, who had divorced from a highly ranked military officer for him. In that year Elena Sergeevna enters into the novel as Margarita, in Book 1 not et mentioned by name, but in Book 2 she's obviously the main character. The structure of the work becomes very clear. Only in 1937 the novel gets his final title, when Bulgakov puts in writing a first "clean" manuscript version, complete with an indication of the chapters and dated March, 22-23, 1938. A couple of weeks later he dictates a typewrited version, in which he deletes merciless, but also extends and adds new intrigues. The job is done in less than a month. One year later he dictates the Epilogue to his wife. But even after that he endlessly goes on making changes in the typewrited version and its copies, an effort in which Elena Sergeevna is highly involved, since almost all changes are in her handwriting. Some notes on changes to be made could not be realised anymore, due to the writer's death. That's why some variants in specific parts of the text could no longer be synchronised with other parts of the text they referred or anticipated to. There are dozens of examples.

After Bulgakov's death, Elena Sergeevna was in a situation which could be compared to the situation of Osip Mandelstam's widow Nadezhda, with one difference: Nadezhda had to learn the unpublished work of her hus-band, who had fallen in disgrace, by heart, because the sole possession of his manuscripts could endager her life. It's unthinkable what would have happened if Elena Sergeevna would have been visited by "a certain Moscow institution", as Bulgakov describes the secret police. What Bulgakov had left to his widow was nothing less than a textological chaos and she had to start with it as the first editor. For security reasons, she couldn't even consider to have someone else doing it, but her best qualification was that she had been there during all phases of the novel's genesis since 1932, just as it happened to Margarita in the novel. The text which was left to Elena Sergeevna can be compared to a handwritten musical score in which the signs for the flats, the sharps, the selas and the bars are missing. A good editor could compete the musical punctuation without too much trouble. But it becomes difficult, not to say impossible, when the composer forgot to repeat secondary themes which he introduced before, or leaves them in the text where he deleted their original introduction. The vampire witch Hella, for instance, whom Satan clearly introduced to Margarita as an esteemed member of his retinue, plays an important role in the novel, but she's not there when Woland, Koroviev, Azazello and Behemoth fly away with the Master and Margarita from Sparrow Hills, while the demons pass through a remarkable transformation during the following flight, and while the further adventures of the other characters are elaborated in detail in the Epilogue. Possibly this is a result of the fact that Bulgakov, except for his own Margarita, didn't have critical coreaders - for obvious reasons, of course. Between 1946 and 1966 Elena Sergeevna made six attempts to get the book through the censorship, all in vain. (Though she succeeded in 1962 with The life of Monsieur Molire, thirty years after its completion). At last, one of the fat magazines, Moskva, published a heavily mutilated version of Book 1 in its issue of December 1966. But in the next issue, in January of 1967, there was no trace anymore of Bulgakov. Book 2 was published in February. This delay created suspicions, and they were pertinent: in Book 1 the censors had deleted twenty-one passages, in Book 2 there were one hundred and thirty-eight passages deleted, about twelve percent of the entire text. Not only politically touchy subjects were censored. Social mores took their toll as well; all descriptions or suggestions of female nudity - there are many - were dropped without any justification, as it happened to the juicy language Margarita used after she became a witch. Many sentences were teared apart and often turned into sentences which no one could understand anymore. The first translations that were published were based on this heavily corrupted text, but yet they caused a worldwide literary sensation. For my first translation, published by De Arbeiderspersin 1968 I could use the Moskva-text, but also a not very readable copy of what must have been Elena Sergeevna's typescript, minus the cut parts. I can't check anymore to what extend both texts differed. But, next to those texts, I got a little later a publication of Scherz Verlag in Zrich with the deleted parts of the text, often one word or half of a sentence, but often huge parts of text as well. As I learned later on, this publication was based on a samizdat-edition which was circulating in the Soviet Union soon after the publication in Moskva. I made my translation in Rome and I was lucky I did that since, when I was halfway, there was published an Italian version with the missing pieces integrated at the correct places in the novel for the Scherz-edition did not indicate where the missing parts belonged. In the Dutch edition, these fragments were printed in italics, just like it happened in the Russian edition published by Posev (Frankfurt 1969). I wrote about this intervention in my epilogue of the first Dutch translation: "A work which is based on such elementary [human] points of view can't be censored, because they are its leaven. Those who want to cut and paste can only remove the hard-to-digest currants. In this edition they are not only put back on the place where they belong, but, by mutual agreement with the publisher, there was decided to indicate them in the text in such way that the Dutch version is the only one which shows clearly what happened, and where. It doesn't make the book nicer, and there is a risk that the reader pays more attention to the currants than to the bread. Of course, this could never have been the intention of the author, because to him, they belong to the whole work in an organic way. But we don't have often the opportunity to see how censorship works exactly. And it is an effort worth

making to see the unequalled coherence of the exceptionally complicated unity, which is even more visible by this working method." In the thirty years which passed since this first translation, much things have happened. Censorship has been abolished together with the Soviet Union as a form of government. In Russia a generation is growing up for which the atrocities of the Stalin era have already grown dim to such extent that for new readers additional footnotes are required in the new Russian editions of The Master and Margarita. In my new translation the italics are removed. Those who are interested can still consult one of the five editions of the previous translation. In fact, there was no reason anymore to maintain the italics in the third edition in 1975, because in 1973 an uncensored edition was published in Moscow, in one binding with The White Guard and Black Snow. It was based on the last typescript of Elena Sergeevna from 1963. (She never had the chance to see an uncensored publication herself). According to later editors this typescript could be subject to discussion, not only because Elena Sergeevna did no longer have a copy of the "final" editorial text, but also because the publisher had been rather self-willing sometimes as far as the definition of the text was concerned. Only in 1989 Lidya Yanovskaya could publish an edition which could meet the most severe textological requirements, it was published by Dnipro in Kiev. Yanovskaya reviewed the text thoroughly again for the fivefoldAnthology in the series Chudozhestvennaya Literatura (Moscow 1990), and this revision is the basis for my current translation. Although the book got enthusiastic comments, I wasn't much pleased about my translation after a critical rereading. I had to make it in six months under high pressure, using corrupt texts which confused me often, and it didn't get better after the publication of the Russian edition in 1973 which was, as I said, no spotless text neither. Publisher De Arbeiderspers didn't like my idea to do it all over and, frankly, there was no reason for it neither since there was no really reliable source available. But I had more reasons to propose a new translation. Charles B. Timmerhad found "some stylistic playfulnesses" in my translation, but he was kind enough to call them the "dfauts de [mes] qualits". Kees Verheul thought correctly that I had translated the book with the exaggeration typical of a student. That's why there would be three more editions of a text which, to put it mildly, I didn't approve anymore. When publisher G.A. van Oorschot planned the publication of Bulgakov'sAnthology in the Russian Library, I understood that I got an opportunity for a thorough review, maybe even a completely new translation. The decision to translate the book again was facilitated by the Belgian Slavist J. Rombauts, who had compared my translation with the Dnipro-edition, and who sent me repeatedly long lists of devergencies he had noticed, and for which I want to express my gratitude once again. The opening of such a complicated text was no sinecure. I needed a more frank and energetic hand than mine. And I was lucky again. Aai Prins, whose translation of The White Guard I had been reading with much admiration, was prepared to look at the text together with me, to clean up the missing or differing passages and to purify the book from baroque language and unfounded laconicallies. She made a first thorough revision, from which I could start, because we needed more than just some adaptations. After that, I reviewed everything again together with her, and five revisions later the present result was achieved. It became a whole new book. Because we could benefit from the results of recent text research, this translation may be considered as one of the most reliable in the world. I also want to thank Tom Eekman here; he reviewed the entire text too and made annotations which I used gratefully. The responsibilty of the final text, however, is completely mine. Marko Fondse

Marko Fondse (1932 - 1999) was a poet and translator of Russian. With his work, among which the translation of The Master and Margarita, he won thePrize Martinus Nijhoff in 1969.

alfred barkov
English > The novel > Interpretations > Alfred Barkov

Most readers of The Master and Margarita agree that Bulgakov himself was the real prototype of the Master, and his third wife Elena Sergeevna was the source of inspiration for the character of Margarita. Someone who is without any doubt in a class of his own as far as the interpretations of The Master and Margarita are concerned, is the Ukrainian filologist and radio amateur Alfred Nikolayevich Barkov, according to whom the above mentioned interpretation is completely wrong, and who has a very particular, and most detailed vision on the novel. In 1994 polemicist Alfred Barkov published a book of 300 pages: .. " ": ("M.A. Bulgakov's novel 'The Master and Margarita': an alternative reading"), a feat of strength which he repeated in 1996 with another essay: .. ' ': '' ? ("M.A. Bulgakov's novel 'The Master and Margarita': an everlasting love or a literary mystification?"). In both occasions he ranted and raved heavily against the "erroneous" opinion that Bulgakov was thinking of himself when describing the Master, and that Bulgakov's spouse Elena Sergeevna was the source of inspiration for Margarita. According to Barkov this interpretation would not corresond with the true content of the book and the real intentions of the author. Moreover, he considered this opinion as a "traditional pro-Soviet and pro-Stalin presentation". This was not Barkov's first attempt. Before that, he had been engaged in heavy controversies about the "true content" of the theatre plays Hamlet ofWilliam Shakespeare and Yevgeny Onegin of Alexander Pushkin, and he was defending categoric points of view that went right into the teeth of more common opinions. And his public quarrels with chest grandmaster Garry Kasparov about intelligence and intellect still vibrate heavily on many Ukrainean internet pages. As far as The Master and Margarita is concerned, Barkov says that the various studies of Bulgakov's work refuse to see the subtile hints in the novel to real situations, and consequently don't understand the satire. And especially the non-Russians can never understand it because the hints are so subtile that no translation can ever catch them. Meanwhile, Barkov's own language was not very subtile, by the way. Anyone with dissenting views was called "pretentious" and "deceiving", and his own interpretation he called, on the English version of his website: the true content. And modestly he continued: "Actually, this is the very first work containing an attempt to reveal the 'secret key' to the inner structure of the masterpieces created by Shakespeare, Pushkin, and Bulgakov". Anyway, Barkov advances the thesis that The Master and Margarita is a parody of the theatre play Faust and the City. This play was written byAnatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky (1875-1933), the chief of the People's Commissariat for Education, Enlightenment and Sciences from 1917 to 1929. In that play Lunacharsky sketches an interesting sequel of the famous Faust story written by Goethe. He starts from the last scene in Goethe's tragedy and shows Faust as the enlightened ruler over the land he conquered from the sea. The people under Faust's rule are ready to free themselves from despotism, so there is a revolution. Faust is happy with this evolution because he sees it as the realisation of an old dream - free people in a free world. Lunacharsky presents a social revolution as the start of a new historical era. Despite this ode to freedom in his play, it was Lunacharsky who organized, as a People's Commissar, the first campaigns of censorship in the Soviet Union and he was heavily opposed to Bulgakov. In 1928 he delivered a speech on the Central Comittee of the Communist Party in which he called Bulgakov "the worst anti-Soviet author". According to Barkov Lunacharsky himself was Bulgakov's source of inspiration for two characters in The Master and Margarita: the critic Latunsky, and Arkadi Sempleyarov, the self-satisfied chairman of the Acoustics Commission of the Moscow theatres.

Barkov describes much more prototypes from the novel and he focusses on the environment of the Moscow Art Theatre, the MKHAT. To him, the MKHAT itself is the prototype of the Variety Theatre, although the Moscow Music Hall, which was situated right next to Bolshaya Sadovaya number 10 is a much more obvious choice and corresponds better to the description in the novel. The characters of Grigori Rimsky en Ivan Varenukha are, according to Barkov, based on Constantin Stanislavsky (18631938) andVladimir NemirovichDanchenko (18591943), the founding fathers of the MKHAT. Koroviev would be a parody of Vasily Ivanovich Kachalov (1875-1948), an actor of the MKHAT, and the female vampire Hella would be based on Olga Sergeevna Bokshanskaya (1891-1948). Olga Sergeevna was the sister of Bulgakov's wife Elena Sergeevna and the personal assistant of MKHAT-director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Bulgakov didn't always get along with his sister-in-law, but yet shehad typed an important part of the text of The Master and Margarita in the spring of 1938. So far there's not much to argue against Barkov's analysis. Other analysts suggest other prototypes for Latunsky and Sempleyarov but that's not surprising - it's absolutely normal that in a satire criticizing a political system, characteristics of different protagonists of the system are bundled in one character. But often it seems that Barkov's sole objective is to make conflicting statements, as a principle. The way Barkov analyses the text of The Master and Margarita to come to his conclusions is sometimes rather strange, though it may be interesting to become acquainted with it. A good example is the endless plea which Barkov holds to prove that the Koroviev character is the narrator in The Master and Margarita. One can ask why he spent so considerable effort upon it, but we'll talk about that later. Let us first look at one of the many reasonings he follows to prove it. What follows is just an arbitrary grasp in the material. When the Master starts telling the story of his awakening love to Ivan when they meet in professor Stravinsky's hospital, there are three successive paragraphs, all on the same page, starting with more or less the same phrase. In the English translation (1979 - Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) they sound like this: "Ivan learned that the master and the unknown woman", "Ivan learned that his guest and his secret wife" and " Ivan learned from the guest's story how the lovers". Barkov calls this a styllistic lapse. And an important one because, if the narrator was Bulgakov himself, it would be, according to Barkov, nothing less than an "artistic catastrophy". So he concludes: this styllistic lapse can only come from someone with a low educational level but who is, by the amount of knowledge he appears to have, close enough to the leading character of the book. So it must be Korovyev, a member of Woland's retinue. To argue this further he gathers - in a very selective way - more statements and excerpts from the novel's text. But why is he doing this? Well, with this collection of citations Barkov sets out what he calls a "language zone". That's a quite homogeneous and harmonious aggregate of excerpts with the same level of phraseology, grammatical characteristics and figures of speech. And, I have to admit, the collection which Barkov builts up to define the narrators language zone is impressive and corresponds pretty well to Koroviev's language zone. At least in some fragments. Because, probably for his own convenience, he "forgot" to include in the defined language zone a number of statements by which the narrator actually shows a much higher level of education. So Barkov puts considerable effort in proving that Korovyev is the narrator. He spends almost the full second quarter of his 300 pages plea on it. One could wonder why, but that will become clear later on. Let's first have a look at his other conclusions. According to Barkov the Woland character was based on Vladimir Lenin. For proving this he refers to other "Professors" whoe appeared in previous novels of Bulgakov like The Fatal Eggs and Heart of the Dog, and to many other details like, for instance, the fact that Woland would have difficulties to pronounce the letter "V", which would be a speech impediment from which Lenin also suffered - speech impedement? Well... we'll come back to this too later on. Furthermore, still according to Barkov, the Russian writer Maxim Gorky(1868-1936) - whose real name was Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov - was the source of inspiration for the Master. Gorky, who had lived as an exile in Italy for a while, was called back by Stalin and appointed as the first chairman of the so-called (Soyuz Sovyetskikh Pisateley) or Union of Soviet Writers. This union was created in 1932 and all the other writers' associations - like the (RAPP) or Russian

Association of Proletarian Writers - were abolished. The membership was accessible to all writers - including critics and translators - who were "striving for the realisation of the socialist reality". Non-partymembers could also qualify as so-called (poputshiki) or fellow-travellers. At the first congress, in 1934, the Social Realism was proclaimed as the only essential artistic working method. As from 1934-1935 it was almost impossible for nonmembers to publish their work. Until his death in 1936 Gorky was systematically called "master" by the communist party newspaper Pravda. As a consequence of this opinion Margarita's character would have been a prostitute, hired by the "dark forces" to charm the Master. For this thesis Barkov refers to Maria Fyodorovna Yurkovskaya (1868-1953), an actress of the MKHAT using the pseudonym Maria Andreeva. Before the revolution, when the bolsheviks were still operating in the underground, she was one of Vladimir Lenin's assistants, comparable to Hella for Woland in the novel. From 1918 to 1921 Maria Andreeva was Commissar for Theatres and Public Spectacles in Petrograd, and from 1931 to 1948 she was Director of the House of Sciences in Moscow. It is said that it was on Lenin's orders that Maria Andreeva "recruted" the talented writer Gorky to serve the bolsheviks. Barkov was not really font of Maria Andreeva, as is shown in his following description: "When this beautiful woman was fourteen, she entertained herself with cutting cats' throats". Barkov really didn't like Margarita. According to him, she had betrayed the Master, just like the prostitute Niza lured Judas to his murderers in the biblical story. Barkov proves his these on the fact that Margarita leaves the Master in the basement saying "that she was expected, that she must bow to necessity", after which he was arrested. It is clear to Barkov that this shows her contacts with the secret police and that Margarita betrayed the Master. For the sake of convenience Barkov forgets that in the novel is unveiled that the Master was betrayed by Aloisy Mogarych, the "friend" of the Master who wanted to take over his basement, and who had to justify himself for this at Woland's after the ball. And here it becomes clear why Barkov needed to identify Koroviev as the narrator of the story. Because, if this accomplice of the Devil, this professional liar, is the narrator, then all passages which don't comply with Barkov's theory - and there are many f such passages! - can be called attempts of a born liar to veil the truth. "Just like we can observe it in the works of Shakespeare and Pushkin, the biased language of the narrator is deliberately intended to indoctrinate the readers with a false perception of the true content", Brakov writes. H'm... But all right... what else did Barkov discover? Well, that Matthew Levi was based on Leo Tolstoi and that Bulgakov would have played a role in his own novel, not as the Master though, but as Ivan Bezdomny in the hospital. Bulgakov would have been addicted to morphine himself in the 20's and 30's, and his third wife Elena Sergeevna would have helped him to get the drugs. The visit of the Master - Lenin thus - to Ivan - Bulgakov thus - would then be an allegory of a brainwashing. Which would be an explanation why the Master had the keys of the hospital. The dark power would have sent the Master to Ivan. Barkov founds this theorie by hints interwoven in the text by Bulgakov himself. Before his injection Ivan is always called by his name and patronymicum - de respectful Russian rule of etiquette -, but after that he's called "Ivanushka", the fool, the jester, the nitwit. Just one more observation on Elena Sergevyena: according to Barkov she was an informant of the secret police who had to report on Bulgakov. He comes to this conclusion, again only indirectly, from reports of the secret police that have been made public later. Of course it is fun to observe how a man finds evidence to justify a theory by intense and sustained research, often in very small details. But one could wonder if, at such level of details, he can distance himself sufficiently. It seems that Barkov, by searching for details, doesn't see the more obvious and visible clues, needing less coils to fit or, worse, that he ignores them consciously. Alfred Nikolayevich Barkov antagonized many Russian literary researchers with his theories. No great matter as such, of course, because shaking someone awake keeps him alert. But some of Barkov's own followers try to exceed their master and are really going too far. On the website of the BBC - yes, the famous and respectable British Broadcast Corporation - I found explicit links to Barkov to prove that the Woland character is inspired by Lenin with the following argument: "Not only is Woland [...] bearded, he also has difficulty in pronouncing the letter "V", a speech impediment from which Lenin also suffered."

So... "bearded"?!?" One of the first descriptions of Bulgakov about Woland is or, in English, cleanshaven. And about this speech impediment : one of the names of the devil in the many German variants of the Faust legend is indeed Voland, but that's no reason to suggest a speech impediment, because Woland is also very common. And so are Valand, Faland and Wieland. In Russian language the names Voland and Woland are written in the same way - as . I couldn't find any information on a possible speech impediment of Lenin. Except maybe that some sources suggest that he died of syphilis. In its third stadium this illness can cause dementia paralytica, of which one of the possible symptoms is speech disorder. But this is quite speculative. Sure is that in March 1923, after his third stroke, Lenin lost his ability to speak forever. In November 2003 Barkov promised to do his utmost to publish his disclosures on the internet in English as soon as possible. He will never be able to keep his promises, When I was in Ukraine in 2004 and tried to contact him, I heard that he died earlier that year, on January 4, 2004. Source - Alfred Nikolayevtch Barkov, " ": , Tekhna, Kiev, 1994, 298 p. - ISBN 5770770643.

Verwandte Interessen