Depicting the Divine
Mikhail Bulgakov and Thomas Mann

Olga G. Voronina

Studies In Comparative Literature 47

Legenda

23 April 2019  •  148pp

ISBN: 978-1-781885-45-1 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €90

ISBN: 978-1-781885-46-8 (paperback, 13 December 2021)  •  RRP £9.99, $13.50, €12.50

ISBN: 978-1-781885-47-5 (JSTOR ebook)

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Two of the iconic novels of the twentieth century, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (1928-40) and Thomas Mann's Joseph and His Brothers (1933-43), each engage with religious themes in the face of militant, sometimes violent, cultural opposition: Soviet communism and Nazi anti-Semitism. They have divine characters, Jesus and Yahweh, and draw upon modern developments in biblical study, emphasising scripture as texts subject to literary criticism. Yet, as Voronina shows, Mann and Bulgakov employ a deliberately contradictory narrative strategy, de-mystifying and de-sacralising their divine protagonists but leaving the existence of the transcendent open. In this way, doubt becomes both a dramatisation of faith and a strategy for approaching the divine.

Olga G. Voronina received her PhD in Comparative Literature from University College London. She has taught at the Universities of Leeds, Nottingham, St Andrews, the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London and University College Oxford.

Reviews:

  • ‘Olga G. Voronina’s careful comparative study brings to light many of the parallel narrative strategies in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers... What sets Bulgakov and Mann apart from the mainstream, as Voronina convincingly shows, is their decision to engage polemically with biblical texts.’ — Thomas Seifrid, Comparative Literature Studies 57.3, 2020, 559-62
  • ‘В заключение хочу сказать, что книга Ольги Ворониной инновативна в постановке исследовательской проблемы и плодотворна в ее решении. Завершаю рецензию на книгу цитатой из другого булгаковского романа: «Она дышит! Она живет!».’ — Irina Belobrovtseva, Scando-Slavica 67.2, 2021, 287-94 (full text online)
  • ‘Voronina has created a convincing, far-researching, unique and engaging study of Bulgakov's and Mann's poetic versions of biblical narratives, which both de- and re-mythologize the source text and are characterized by syncretism and rich intertextuality. The book is undoubtedly interesting and inspiring not only for Slavic and German scholars but also for any reader who is interested in a different and innovative approach to the study of comparative literature. The spiritual, scientific, and scholarly merits of this book perfectly complement one another.’ — Natalia Kaloh Vid, Slavic Review full text online)
  • ‘The first comparative study of The Master and Margarita and Joseph and His Brothers, and an important and original contribution to research on Bulgakov’s and Mann’s novels as well as on biblical literature in more general terms.’ — Sarah Fengler, Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation 30 September 2021
  • ‘Depicting the Divine is a meticulously researched, impressive close reading of two novels... a valuable contribution to literary studies. In her nuanced close readings and thorough research of the two novels Voronina applies a specialist’s insight to both Bulgakov and Mann, paying attention to linguistic subtleties in the two languages and explaining them well to the English reader.’ — Eric Laursen, Russian Review 80.4, October 2021, 713-14 (full text online)

Contents:

ix-ix
Acknowledgements
O.V.
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.3
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x-x
Transliteration and Translations
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.4
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xi-xii
Preface
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.5
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1-15
Introduction
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.6
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16-36
Chapter 1 Fairy Tales About God
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.7
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37-50
Chapter 2 A Novel About Pontius Pilate
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.8
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51-68
Chapter 3 Reading Between the Lines
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.9
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69-88
Chapter 4 Inventing God
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.10
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89-105
Chapter 5 High Silence and Man’s Telling Word
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.11
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106-117
Chapter 6 Angelic Narrators and Pagan Deities
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.12
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118-122
Conclusion
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.13
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123-132
Bibliography
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.14
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133-136
Index
Olga G. Voronina
doi:10.2307/j.ctv16kkx96.15
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Bibliography entry:

Voronina, Olga G., Depicting the Divine: Mikhail Bulgakov and Thomas Mann, Studies In Comparative Literature, 47 (Legenda, 2019)

First footnote reference: 35 Olga G. Voronina, Depicting the Divine: Mikhail Bulgakov and Thomas Mann, Studies In Comparative Literature, 47 (Legenda, 2019), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Voronina, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Voronina, Olga G.. 2019. Depicting the Divine: Mikhail Bulgakov and Thomas Mann, Studies In Comparative Literature, 47 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Voronina 2019: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Voronina 2019: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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