Mikhail Bulgakov

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Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov (May 15 [O.S. May 3] 1891March 10, 1940) was a Russian-language novelist and playwright of the first half of the 20th century.


The Master and Margarita (1967)

  • 'Your novel has been read,' Woland began, turning to the master, 'and the only thing said about it was that, unfortunately, it is not finished. So, then, I wanted to show you your hero. For about two thousand years he has been sitting on this platform and sleeping, but when the full moon comes, as you see, he is tormented by insomnia. It torments not only him, but also his faithful guardian, the dog. If it is true that cowardice is the most grievous vice, then the dog at least is not guilty of it. Storms were the only thing the brave dog feared. Well, he who loves must share the lot of the one he loves.'
    • Woland about Pontius Pilate

  • 'Kant ought to be arrested and given three years in Solovki asylum for that "proof" of his!' Ivan Nikolayich burst out completely unexpectedly. 'Ivan!' whispered Berlioz, embarrassed. But the suggestion to pack Kant off to an asylum not only did not surprise the stranger but actually delighted him. 'Exactly, exactly!' he cried and his green left eye, turned on Berlioz glittered. 'That's exactly the place for him! I said to him myself that morning at breakfast: "If you'll forgive me, professor, your theory is no good. It may be clever but it's horribly incomprehensible. People will think you're mad."' Berlioz's eyes bulged. At breakfast...to Kant?
    • Woland, Berlioz and Ivan talking about Kant's views on existence of God

  • 'I do not know these good men,' replied the prisoner.
'Is that the truth?'
'It is.'
'And now tell me why you always use that expression "good men"? Is
that what you call everybody?'
'Yes, everybody,' answered the prisoner. 'There are no evil people on
  • Yeshua and Pontius Pilate

  • ‘He's clever,' thought Ivan,' I must admit there are a few bright ones among the intellectuals'

  • 'What is all this? Damn me if I don't have you thrown out of here!' The beast just smiled and said: 'Damn you, I think you said? Very well!'

  • 'What's the use of dying in a ward surrounded by a lot of groaning and croaking incurables? Wouldn't it be much better to throw a party with that twenty-seven thousand and take poison and depart for the other world to the sound of violins, surrounded by lovely drunken girls and happy friends?'

  • 'Is that vodka?' Margarita asked weakly. The cat jumped up from its chair in indignation. 'Excuse me, your majesty,' he squeaked, 'do you think I would give vodka to a lady? That is pure spirit!'

  • 'Unfortunately I cannot show it to you,' replied the master, 'because I burned it in my stove.'
    'I'm sorry but I don't believe you,' said Woland. 'You can't have done. Manuscripts don't burn.'

  • 'Don't be afraid, Queen ... don't be afraid, Queen, the blood has long since gone into the earth. And where it was spilled, grapevines are already growing.'

  • 'Never ask for anything! Never for anything, and especially from those who are stronger than you. They'll make the offer themselves, and give everything themselves.'
  • Woland to Margarita

  • 'I had the pleasure of meeting that young man at the Patriarch's Ponds. He almost drove me mad myself, proving to me that I don't exist. But you do believe that it is really I?'
  • Woland to Master, about Ivan Homeless

  • 'Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he's sometimes unexpectedly mortal - there's the trick!'

  • `Second freshness - that's what is nonsense! There is only one freshness - the first - and it is also the last. And if sturgeon is of the second freshness, that means it is simply rotten.'

  • 'Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar's vile tongue be cut out!'

  • 'For some reason, cats are usually addressed familiarly, though no cat has ever drunk bruderschaft with anyone.'

  • Cowardice was undoubtedly one of the most terrible vices - thus spoke Yeshua Ha-Nozri. 'No, philosopher, I disagree with you: it is the most terrible vice!'
  • Pontius Pilate

  • 'You're not Dostoevsky,' said the citizeness, who was getting muddled by Koroviev.
'Well, who knows, who knows,' he replied.
'Dostoevsky's dead,' said the citizeness, but somehow not very confidently.
'I protest!' Behemoth exclaimed hotly. 'Dostoevsky is immortal!'

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