Item #4141 Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita] Samizdat. Mikhail Bulgakov.
Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita] Samizdat

Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita] Samizdat

c. 1980. 4to (8 x 12 in.) in contemporary maroon buckram boards with thread stitching. 229 pp. Very good condition, minor wear to boards but clean inside. Item #4141

The Master and Margarita is one of the most essential works of Soviet satire. Bulgakov wrote the novel between 1928 and 1940, restarting it many times before his death in 1940, burning the first copy, and later leaving the novel mostly complete but still missing parts. A heavily censored version was first published in Moscow Magazine in 1967. The official publication arrived in 1989 and would not have been possible without the publication and distribution of samizdats such as this one.

While Samizdat was initially produced by hand or typewriter, this copy was printed using a computer and captures the fascinating juncture of Soviet dissident practices and digital technology. Beginning in the late 1970s, during the early days of computing, employees at institutions in the Soviet Union managed to print banned texts using line (or drum) printers, usually during night shifts as the use of duplication technology was tightly controlled by the state. By the 1980s, such printers produced text at a rate of several hundred lines per minute. The files containing the texts could be moved from mainframe to mainframe using magnetic tape.