Thursday, April 15, 2010

An Unexpected Richness

This is no effort to diminish The Master and Margatita; its genius lies in its inversion of moral codes between Roman Israel and the glory of the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Bulgakov's thrust encompasses the distance between the nominal and the actual, the noisome threat of actual words and the pending hope which anchors each ideology: that last aspect casts its own resonance on tax day in 2010. I do loathe the bigots masquerading as patriots.

Theater and costume figure heavily in Mephisto by Klaus Mann. A few pages before the novel's conclusion the chief character Hendrik Hofgen espouses:

"I am absolutely indispensable!" yelled the director into the dark garden.
"The theater needs me. Every regime needs the theater. No regime can get along
without me."

This isn't an exploration of Evil. It isn't a taxonomy of totalitarianism. It isn't even really modelled on a Faustian wager. Instead it is steeped in detail and likely offers more of an emigre perspective than anything more polemical.


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