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Some words about the possible ancient Near Eastern origin of M. Bulgakov’s Hella (Gella)

  by Vladimir Sazonov*  and Sirje Kupp-Sazonov**

* Senior Research Fellow in ANE Studies, Centre for Oriental Studies, University of Tartu, sazonov@ut.ee
** Lecturer in Russian Language and Translation Studies, College of Foreign Languages and Cultures, University of Tartu, sirje.kupp-sazonov@ut.ee

 

M. Bulgakov, one of the most prominent Russian writers of the 20th c., began writing his most famous novel The Master and Margarita (M&M) in 1928 and continued to work on it until his death in 1940. The author destroyed the first manuscript in 1930 and tried for many years to find a suitable title. He finally decided on the current title in 1937. In 1966 the first part of the novel, heavily censored, was published in the monthly magazine Moskva; the second part appeared the following year. It has been said that approximately 12% of the text was left out of these first publications. The first uncensored version in Russian was published in Paris in 1967 and in Frankfurt in 1969. In the Soviet Union the first uncensored version was only published in 1973 (Kupp-Sazonov 2017: 224–225).
Since 196667 this novel has been translated into many foreign languages. There exist several English translations of this text and critics have very different opinions about those versions (May 1998). In our article examples from Glenny’s translation (1992) will be used.

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