RUSS-492 Master and Margarita
Fall for 2017-2018
"Master and Margarita" is widely considered the major Russian novel of the twentieth century. It is complex and intriguing: Bulgakov’s version of the New Testament is also a picaresque adventure of the Devil and his whimsical gang in the Soviet Moscow of the thirties, a beautiful romance, and a story about the fate of a writer in a bureaucratic totalitarian society. What is a greater evil: the romantic Devil or triumphant mediocrity – a member of the Writers’ Union? – asks Bulgakov. The novel was not published for thirty years, and in the sixties it was secretly passed in handwritten copies; to get it for one night was exceptional luck.
In this course, we will close-read the novel in Russian, analyze its various sources: literary, philosophical, musical and theatrical, and will attempt to solve some of its numerous mysteries. The classes are conducted mainly in Russian, in the form of discussions.
Prerequisites: Third-Level Russian, or equivalent
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