Manuscript Editions

Bulgakov began working on the novel that became Master and Margarita in the winter of 1928-29. He submitted one chapter, entitled "Mania furibunda" ("Raving mania," roughly Chapter 5), to the journal Nedra for publication, but we have only fragments today. This earliest edition apparently contained all the Jerusalem chapters and much of the material about the Devil. The first manuscript edition, which Bulgakov titled The Engineer's Hoof, was destroyed by Bulgakov in 1930. You can see the first page of this manuscript below:

In his letter to the government (28 March 1930) Bulgakov writes that in despair after the official rejection of his play The Cabal of Hypocrites (Moliere), he "with his own hands threw the manuscript of his novel about the Devil in the stove." (Oktiabr', 1987 No 6, p. 179)

In 1931 Bulgakov returned to his novel, working on the second manuscript edition from 1931-1936. This edition he referred to by numerous titles, among them The Great Chancellor, Satan, Here I am, The Black Theologian, and The Foreigner's Horseshoe. This second edition already included Margarita and her unnamed companion. The first page of this edition appears below (including the various titles):

Bulgakov began the third edition of his manuscript in 1936-37, and he continued working on corrections and additions until his death. He had reached the middle of Chapter 19 in his corrections on Feb. 13, 1940, when his health forced him to stop. He died on March 10. The third edition expands the roles of the Master and Margarita even more at the expense of Woland's central role, and Master and Margarita becomes the definitive title of the novel.

Published Editions