My previous series of post provided an overview of scholarly views of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. The forthcoming series of posts will lay out my approach to Bulgakov’s novel, an alternate position that complements past scholarship.
My interpretation of The Master and Margarita investigates the possible psychological and spiritual function the novel may have served for Bulgakov during a time in which he was unable to publish fiction or produce theatrical work. I suggest that The Master and Margarita may represent a psychological process through which Bulgakov overcame the affects of obstacles and conflicts that, he claimed, caused his professional destruction. I do not mean to say that Bulgakov purposely set out to compose a novel to achieve these ends or that he knowingly began the novel as a form of self-therapy. Rather, I propose that The Master and Margarita naturally emerged from Bulgakov’s psyche as part of an automatic and creative response to conflict that provided a way to confront the psychological and spiritual consequences of the censorship and persecution he faced.
To explore the premise that that composing The Master and Margarita emerged as part of a natural psychological process aimed at coping with and overcoming the psychological affects of persecution in the Soviet Union, I use the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), which focuses on psychological adaption to conflict and restoration of psychic balance.
Next time: Why use C. G. Jung?