About this site

The Master & Margarita pages were conceived as a project for the 1998 Davis winterterm workshop at Middlebury College. Many thanks to my student assistants, Greg Ferguson-Cradler and Melissa Haley. Thanks as well to Shel Sax and Ian Albinson for their technical assistance.

Construction of this site is an ever-continuing process. It may be that manuscripts don't burn, but, alas, computers crash all the time.

About the graphics

The look of the page is meant to replicate Russian constructivist book design of the 20s and 30s, the period the novel is set and the time it was written. The predominant colors constructivists used were red and black, colors that coincidentally play a significant role in Bulgakov's novel. Since Russian paper from the 20s has colored, we decided to use a simulation for our background. The cat at the upper left-hand corner is taken from a home-made book cover designed by Natasha Ushakova for a book "Muka Maki" [Maka's Torment] about the Bulgakovs' domestic life. Clicking on the sidebar will take you back to the front page.

How to use this site

These Master & Margarita pages are intended as a web-based multimedia annotation to Bulgakov's novel.

You won't find the full text of the novel here, as it is still under copyright and no one in his right mind would want to read a 300-page novel online in any language. Curling up with the novel, preferably in a basement apartment in front of a fire on a moonlit night, is highly recommended.

You won't find a summary of the novel here either, and it's unlikely the site will make much sense as a whole if you don't read the novel. You can't use this site like Cliff's Notes.

"Themes" provides general background information on Bulgakov and some short essays on topics that are important in the novel (e. g., Religion, Soviet Reality, Faust, Music). Browsing here might be a good place to start, unless you are looking for some concrete detail.

Annotations can be accessed in several ways: by chapter, by character, and alphabetically in the index.

Wherever possible I have listed variants of names used by all translators, as well as a transliteration of the original Russian where it seemed useful.

"Maps" includes most of the identifiable sites that play a role in the novel.

The timeline shows how the two novels are connected in terms of chronology.

Finally, the bibliography will provide a list of personal favorites among the many works on Master and Margarita.


Links to outside sites will open a new window: please come back!