Monday, November 05, 2007

The Master and Margarita

As many of my friends know, I am a huge fan of Russian literature. Though I do not speak Russian (aside from a few holiday greetings I picked up as a kid), there's something intangible about Russian novels that I cannot find in any other national literary tradition that persists through translation. Perhaps it is the modernity of Russia's literary golden age or perhaps it is purely a personal bias brought on by my youthful recollections of exported Russian culture. Whatever the case, I still respond strongly to the works of Gogol and Dostoevsky, even on multiple readings.

I have not had a lot of time to read books for pleasure recently, but I did have a chance to revisit Bulgakov. The Burgin/O'Connor translation of The Master and Margarita is entrancing. Within the first few chapters, I found myself unable to put the book down: the first description of Pilate's trial of Yeshua is irresistible. I read one complaint on-line on the translation, but it reads wonderfully and is supposed to be quite true to the original. Definitely recommended.

1 comment:

Michael J. Farrand said...

Excellent post. Thought you might be interested in this list of classic Russian novels.