LITERATURE: Confessions of The Master and Margarita – Role Reversal

Saint Augustine wrote his Confessions as a personal journey, therefore, non-fiction and yet, the philosophy and drama of his viewpoint could certainly be the basis of a novel.  It is written in a particularly eloquent language and of course, of the era, it’s unique to the period.

There is the place of undisturbed quietness where love is not deserted if it does not itself depart. (IV.16)

Concurrently I am reading Mikhail Bulgakov and oddly enough, it too speaks of society, human nature, good and evil, weakness and strength.  Where Augustine speaks directly to God, Bulgakov opens his pages with a visit from the Devil.  While The Master and Margarita is fiction, does it make the character of Satan any less real than that of Bezdomney the poet, or Berlioz the editor with or without his head?  Bulgakov’s style is straightforward, near tongue-in-cheek.

"Let’s look truth straight in the eye," said the guest, turning his face toward the nocturnal orb passing through the clouds beyond the window grille.  "You and I are both mad, there’s no denying it!"  (p. 113)

Bulgakov calls the moon a "nocturnal orb" — not exactly eloquent, although some allowance must be made in both works for the effects of translation.  It’s almost a brutish attempt at imagery, as if calling a long-stemmed red rose a "ruby ball on a stick."

The thought has occurred to me that despite the separation of centuries, it would be interesting to take the voice of Augustine into Bulgakov’s Moscow, and likewise, have Bulgakov’s narrator speaking to God.

As I continue my reading, one more thing I’ll be looking for is a sentence, a thought, something important to the narrative and yet obvious of its writer’s style and thinking, and…rewrite it by the other.

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One Response to LITERATURE: Confessions of The Master and Margarita – Role Reversal

  1. Creechman says:

    One wonders how the ancients were able to produce rich concision without the power of WORD taking charge to rephrase and change case of language at whim!

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