Sunday, September 09, 2007

More Bulgakov

And then Three Percent, the great website on world lit., available here: brought me to this blog:

This debate between the Glenny and Ginsburg translations, while important, ignores the two recent translations of The Master and Margarita by teams Pevear & Volokhonsky and Burgin & O'Connor. While I always look for Pevear & Volokhonsky's names on my Dostoevsky books, I am partial to the Burgin & O'Connor edition of Bulgakov's masterpiece. Perhaps it is just because I read that one first or due to the copious endnotes that accompany their edition (available thanks to the good folks at Vintage press). Regardless, the blog linked above, interesting as it is, ignores the recent translations which I think shed some light on not only this great book but the function of translation. To my way of thinking, if you admire a book enough to read it more than once, you might want to at least glance at different translations to see what you can glean from them. Each translation is a different perspective, and all perspectives are important in putting together a full picture. Anyway, every great book deserves a new translation, and The Master and Margarita is a great book.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that The Master and Margarita is my favorite novel, so of course I had an opinion on this whole thing. And sure this is not politics or oil prices or any other important debate, but damnit this is what I spend my days thinking about. I'm dreaming of taking a trip to Moscow just to visit Patriarch's Ponds and Bulgakov's flat. I'm a Bulgakov geek. Considering the recent release of a new A Dog's Heart (previously published as Heart of a Dog) and the rumored Pevear & Volokhonsky work on The White Guard it seems Bulgakov is living on beyond his mortal years. I couldn't be happier.