• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,081,376 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

The Master and Margarita, and Sausage

In Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, events take a Satanic turn in the guise of a gentleman-magician by the name of Woland who wreaks havoc on Moscow. Woland, who turns out to be the devil himself, pays a visit to the home of the extremely hungover theater manager Stepa Likhoyedev and invites him to dine on small pan of sausages before casting a spell that transports him instantaneously to the seaside resort of Yalta, fifteen hundred kilometers away.

‘I cannot,’ put in the new arrival, ‘understand how he ever came to be manager.’ His voice grew more and more nasal–he’s as much a manager as I am a bishop.’
‘You don’t look much like a bishop, Azazello,’ remarked the cat, piling sausages on his plate.
‘That’s what I mean,’ snarled the man with red hair and turning to Woland he added in a voice of respect: ‘Will you permit us, messire, to kick him out of Moscow?’

Like the others, Bulgakov points to something gone wrong beneath the surface of the city, a chaos bordering on madness that has crept ominously into the daily life of the capital, threatening to erupt at any moment, especially if helped along by Woland’s trickery.

This interesting passage couldn’t come in a more timely fashion, as my friend just posted pictures of his sausage-making adventure in England. I bumped into an article online talking about sausage and the city, in how Pig and pork references color the writing of Dickens, Hamsun, Sartre, Camus, Bulgakov, and Dostoevsky, shattering the comfy world of the self-satisfied bourgeois and replacing it with something more, well, sausagey. These authors look beyond the taut and regular skin of urban existence to an offaly underside that is ready to burst through the seams at the slightest provocation.

14 Responses

  1. LOL, I love it. I really need to put The Master and Margarita back on my “to read” list. It’s on my shelves as we speak, but I haven’t picked it back up for another try.

  2. Other books that come to mind on sausage are Hunger by Knut Hamsun, and Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. This topic is quite interesting and is worth pursuing.

  3. Glad to see this masterly work is back on your agenda. Another reference to sausage, though not literary and on a less subtle plane, is Otto von Bismark’s observation: “Laws are like sausages; it’s far better not to see them being made.” .

  4. Vert cool pics!

    When is M&M set? Is it only in Moscow?

  5. I have M&M on my list for the year of living dangerously challenge and I have just fallen so behind. I plan to read it.. I do… just don’t know when. I’m sure I’ll have questions about the book so don’t be surprised if I ask you some 🙂

  6. I have my copy and will be reading it soon!!!

  7. Andi:
    Give some time to warm to the book. The first chapter is quite intriguing. 🙂

  8. John:
    Ah, I was just thinking about Hamsung. I haven’t read him since Mystery. Nausea is a difficult read.

  9. Greg S:
    The quote is so true! My class is starting Master and Margarita next Monday. 😉

  10. Isabel:
    MM set in Moscow yes, the landscapes and places described in the book still exist today. 🙂

  11. iliana:
    I love questions, comments, concerns, and thoughts on the book. My class is starting it on Monday. I’m reading it myself. 🙂

  12. Greg:
    Think I should keep track of who is reading it…I’ve got so many people buying the books here in San Francisco! 🙂

  13. M&M is one of my favorite novels. So many layers to uncover. Lots of references to other literary works. Lots of Russian specific references. eg: Black man refers to someone from the Caucasus. Challenging but rewarding.

  14. The book is my favourite… I have read it for 3 times and listened to Audio version of that recently. I would recommend it to everyone! Especially if you love tales…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: