Re: Chapter Four - The Pursuit
“Seemed”? More likely they were slandered by the communists who shamelessly made up lies about their enemies, to conceal how far Bolshevism had departed from all moral frameworks. When you read Stalin’s comments about wreckers and saboteurs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrecking_(Soviet_Union
) it is clear this malicious purging of anyone who ‘undermines’ communist political directives was a purely totalitarian operation. Bulgakov artfully builds the image of the poet as like the ‘wreckers’ who were humiliated at Stalin’s show trials.
I have not read One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Marquez, the best known book of the magical realist genre, but I am familiar with Kafka, whose book The Trial
is the classic of the numbing idiocy of modern bureaucracy. Kafka’s Metamorphosis
has quite a magical realist tone, from the opening sentence where Gregor is surprised to find himself transformed into a cockroach. Interesting here that Bulgakov uses magical realism to satirise the absurdities of the political left whereas Marquez apparently uses the same method to satirise the Latin American right wing forces.
The editors of Manuscripts Don’t Burn
say Stalin went to one of Bulgakov’s plays fifteen times, and wrote of one of Bulgakov’s plays “Flight
is one manifestation of an endeavour to stimulate pity, if not sympathy, for certain sections among the most contemptible anti-Soviet emigres [and…] is an anti-Soviet phenomenon.” Stalin goes on in his letter to suggest revising the play to add pro-Bolshevik scenes.
My sense is that both Satan and Pilate are intended as satirical mockery of Bolshevik attitudes, Satan for his ability to do impossible things like the Man of Steel, and Pilate for his corrupt indifference to truth and dignity and rights.