In Bulgakov’s ‘Diaboliad’, the modest and unassuming office clerk Korotkov is summarily sacked for a trifling error from his job at the Main Central Depot of Match Materials and tries to seek out his newly assigned superior, responsible for his dismissal. His quest through the labyrinth of Soviet bureaucracy takes on the increasingly surreal dimensions of a nightmare.
This early satirical story, reminiscent of Gogol and Dostoevsky, was first published in 1924 and incurred the wrath of pro-Soviet critics. Along with the three other stories in this volume, which also explore the themes of the absurd and bizarre, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the artistic development of the author of The Master and Margarita.
Contains ‘Diaboliad’, ‘No.13 – The Elpit Workers’ Commune Building’, ‘A Chinese Tale’, ‘The Adventures of Chichikov’.
Ten-Year Anniversary Edition – newly revised and updated
Russia’s literary world is shaken to its foundations when a mysterious gentleman – a professor of black magic – arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a bizarre retinue of servants. It soon becomes clear that he is the Devil himself, come to wreak havoc among the cultural elite of a disbelieving capital. But the Devil’s mission quickly becomes entangled with the fate of the Master – a man who has turned his back on his former life and taken refuge in a lunatic asylum – and his past lover, Margarita.
Both a satirical romp and a daring analysis of the nature of good and evil, innocence and guilt, The Master and Margarita is the crowning achievement of one of the greatest Russian writers of the twentieth century.
Professor Persikov, an eccentric zoologist, stumbles upon a new light ray that accelerates growth and reproduction rates in living organisms. In the wake of a plague that has decimated the country’s poultry stocks, Persikov’s discovery is exploited as a means to correct the problem. As foreign agents, the state and the Soviet media all seize upon the red ray, matters get out of hand…
Set in 1928 but written four years earlier, during Stalin’s rise to power, The Fatal Eggs is both an early piece of science fiction reminiscent of H.G. Wells and a biting, brilliant satire on the consequences of the abuse of power and knowledge.
Written during the darkest, most repressive period of Stalin's reign, this novel gives substance to the notion of artistic and religious freedom. Despite its devastating satire of Soviet life and its audacious portrayals of Christ and Satan, the manuscript had somehow eluded Russian censors, and the enthusiasm of its readers assured the novel immediate and enduring success. "The New York Times Book Review" calls this "one of the truly great Russian novels of this century".
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