The Master and Margarita
Generations of Russian readers, writers and cultural figures have called Mikhail Bulgakov’s "The Master and Margarita" (published posthumously in 1966) the greatest novel of the 20th century. This may strike non-Russians as a odd choice; besides its hilarious satire of the early Soviet Union, the work encompasses a visit by Satan and his retinue, naked witches flying on broomsticks over Moscow, the most bizarre ball in all of literature and a reimagining of the last days of Jesus Christ. Bulgakov’s novel has an irreducible weirdness to it, somehow embracing a resolutely Christian, pagan and atheist vision of life. This course examines the novel itself, as well as it sources, its adaptations, its commercialization and its enduring place in Russian culture, all while exploring the many weirdnesses that make it a truly unique reading experience.