A Method to His Madness: The Role of Insanity in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary Laura D. Kennedy (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site: http://library.unca.edu/
Merritt Mosely

Abstract: When The Master, title character of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (1966), is first introduced in the novel it is within the confines of a Soviet era insane asylum, and in the novel, “madness” serves as a socio-historical satire of life in the Soviet Union and as a literary tool by creating a disjointed structure with multiple plot planes and engaging with literary traditions such as the grotesque. Although several scholars note the reading of a fractured, complex narrative, in this paper, the author suggests it is purposeful for aesthetic and political reasons, simulating the impact of the Stalinist regimen on artistic life in Moscow. In other words, Bulgakov does not merely depict the Stalinist’s regime’s cold and pliant grip over artists of the period, he places his audience into a similar position by presenting two different planes of realism- forcing readers to juggle the possible and the impossible in their own minds, which is admittedly an unsetting mixture.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Mikhail Bulgakov, Stalinism, insanity

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