Published English Translations

Mirra Ginsburg (Grove Press, 1967) Ginsburg's translation is lively and entertaining, but it was unfortunately made from the 1967 Soviet text without the advantage of the censored sections. As a result, it mirrors the censored version, including deletion of passages about the actions of the secret police and most of Nikanor Ivanovich's dream (Ch. 15).

Michael Glenny (Harper & Row, 1967) Glenny's translation restores the passages that were missing from Ginsburg's. Both translations were done so quickly after publication of the Russian original that they lack much critical depth. Both, for example, miss the crucial inclusion of the Devil in Berlioz's thought: "It's time to throw everything to the Devil and go to Kislovodsk." Ginsburg has "drop everything" and Glenny "chuck everything up."

Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O'Connor (Ardis, 1995) Burgin and O'Connor's translation is by far the best, if one is interested in studying what Bulgakov really wrote. They have the advantage of some 30 years of Bulgakov scholarship, which they take into consideration in their translation, which gets details right. The notes, provided by the Bulgakov scholar Ellendea Proffer, are also invaluable.

Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (Penguin, 1997) Almost as good as Burgin & O'Connor. The translation is excellent, and like the previous volume, there are useful notes for the reader.

There are now two newer translations I haven't read: Michael Karpelson (Lulu, 2006) and Hugh Aplin (One World Classics, 2008).