The Master and Margarita

Cultural influence

The book was listed in Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century.

"Manuscripts don't burn"

A memorable and much-quoted line in The Master and Margarita is: "manuscripts don't burn" (рукописи не горят). The Master is a writer who is plagued by both his own mental problems and the harsh criticism of most of the Soviet writers in the Moscow of the 1930s. He burns his treasured manuscript in an effort to cleanse his own mind from the troubles the work has brought him. Woland later gives the manuscript back to him saying, "Didn't you know that manuscripts don't burn?" There is an autobiographical element reflected in the Master's character here, as Bulgakov in fact burned an early copy of The Master and Margarita for much the same reasons.

Bulgakov museums in Moscow

In Moscow, two museums honor the memory of Mikhail Bulgakov and The Master and Margarita. Both are situated in Bulgakov's old apartment building on Bolshaya Sadovaya Street No. 10, in which parts of The Master and Margarita are set. Since the 1980s, the building has become a gathering spot for Bulgakov's fans, as well as Moscow-based Satanist groups, and had various kinds of graffiti scrawled on the walls. The numerous paintings, quips, and drawings were completely whitewashed in 2003. Previously the best drawings were kept as the walls were repainted, so that several layers of different colored paints could be seen around the best drawings.[26]

There is a rivalry between the two museums, mainly maintained by the later established official Museum M.A. Bulgakov, which invariably presents itself as "the first and only Memorial Museum of Mikhail Bulgakov in Moscow".[27]

Bulgakov House

The Bulgakov House (Музей – театр "Булгаковский Дом") is situated at the ground floor. This museum was established as a private initiative on May 15, 2004, and contains personal belongings, photos, and several exhibitions related to Bulgakov's life and his different works. Various poetic and literary events are often held, and excursions to Bulgakov's Moscow are organised, some of which are animated with living characters of The Master and Margarita. The Bulgakov House also runs the Theatre M.A. Bulgakov and the Café 302-bis.

Museum M.A. Bulgakov

In the same building as the Bulgakov House, in apartment number 50 on the fourth floor, is a second museum that keeps alive the memory of Bulgakov, the Museum M.A. Bulgakov (Музей М. А. Булгаков). This second museum is a government initiative founded on March 26, 2007. It contains personal belongings, photos, and several exhibitions related to Bulgakov's life and his different works. Various poetic and literary events are often held.

Allusions and references

Various authors and musicians have credited The Master and Margarita as inspiration for certain works.

  • It has been suggested that Mick Jagger may have been inspired by the novel in writing the song "Sympathy for the Devil".[28] Will Self's foreword to the Vintage edition of the Michael Glenny translation suggests the same.
  • The grunge band Pearl Jam were influenced by the novel's confrontation between Yeshua Ha-Nozri and Pontius Pilate for the song, "Pilate" on their 1998 album Yield.[29]
  • Surrealist artist H. R. Giger named a 1976 painting after the novel. The painting was later featured on the cover of Danzig's 1992 album Danzig III: How the Gods Kill.[30]
  • Famous Russian heavy metal band Aria references the novel in two of their songs: "Krov za krov" (off their eponymous 1991 album) and "Bal u knyazya tmy" (off their 2003 album Kreshchenie ognyom).
  • Russian pop singer Igor Nikolayev has a song, "Master i Margarita". (Russian: Мастер и Mаргарита)
  • Canadian band The Tea Party has a song entitled "The Master and Margarita" in their album The Interzone Mantras.
  • Scottish band Franz Ferdinand's song "Love and Destroy" is based on Margarita in the novel.
  • Chicago-based punk rock band The Lawrence Arms referenced the novel several times on their album The Greatest Story Ever Told: it features a song called "Chapter 13: The Hero Appears", named after the same chapter in the book; names one of the band members (corresponding to guitarist Chris McCaughan) as Ivan Nikolayevich; features the lyric "text to burn" (in the song "A Wishful Puppeteer") in reference to the catch phrase "Manuscripts don't burn", see above; and also features the same quote from Faust in the liner notes.
  • In the movie My Dinner with Andre, Wallace Shawn describes an episode wherein he wore a cat's head as part of his costume in a stage production of The Master and Margarita.
  • Swedish stoner band Hong Faux[31] uses imagery and references from the final chapters of the novel in the song "Sparrow Hills" from their debut album The crown that wears the head from 2012.
  • Moscow chain Moo Moo Restaurant had for a brief period a mixed drink called "The Master Margarita". The drink was served in a cat-shaped glass.
  • Una McCormack's Star Trek novel The Crimson Shadow depicts Captain Jean-Luc Picard giving a copy of The Master and Margarita to Cardassian ambassador Elim Garak.

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