It's Time! It's Time!

It's Time! It's Time!

The title It’s time! It’s time! is a reference to the poem It’s time, my friend, it’s time! written by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837) in 1834.


There was decidedly no one to eavesdrop

Apparently the master can be quiet now. There will be no more evil forces on the lurk to betray him.

Aloisy, are you home?

The person who wants to speak to Aloisy vanishes when he hears what happened to his friend. Obviously he doesn't want to be associated with someone who has been arrested. Significantly, Margarita asks his name, which, of course, remains a mystery.

Peace be unto you

Bulgakov playfully gives this common Hebrew greeting to his demon. The risen Christ spoke these words too when he appeared to his disciples (Luke 24:36 - «While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you.» or John 20:26) - «And after eight days, his disciples were again in the house and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were shut, Jesus came, and taking his place in the middle of them, he said, May peace be with you!» They are also regularly used in every liturgy or mass.

Falernian wine, [red as blood]

Bulgakov originally thought Falerno wine was red. When he learned it was dark amber, he changed the wine to Caecuba. He wanted to use a wine with the colour of blood. Unfortunately, Bulgakov died before he was able to make this change throughout the novel. In chapter 25, he found a textual solution by changing the wine in the dialogue between Pilate and Afranius, but he did not change it in chapter 30.

Chapter 25 -

«An excellent vintage, Procurator, but it is not Falerno?»
«Caecuba, thirty years old»
, the procurator replied courteously.

Chapter 30 -

«Messire sends you a present» - here he adverted precisely to the master - «a bottle of wine. I beg you to note that it’s the same wine the procurator of Judea drank. Falernian wine».

The readers of the English translation made by Pevear and Volokhonski may not understand why I wrote that in this chapter the colour matters. That’s because the translators did not translate the phrase which is written by Bulgakov right after the above-mentioned excerpt. In the Pevear and Volokhonski we read:

«The wine was sniffed, poured into glasses, held up to the light in the window, which was disappearing before the storm».

But the Russian text looks as follows:

«The wine was sniffed, poured into glasses, held up to the light in the window, which was disappearing before the storm. And they saw, how it all was painted in the colour of blood».

Or, like translator Michael Glenny wrote:

«They sniffed the wine, then poured it into glasses and looked through it towards the window. The light was already fading with the approach of the storm. Filtered through the glass, the light turned everything to the colour of blood».

Thus, even though the wine had not the desired colour, Bulgakov left the text «the light turned everything to the colour of blood» when they looked through the glasses towards the window.

The Falerno was the most famous wine in ancient times and was produced in the Campania region. More than 3000 years ago the Greeks plante the Aglianico and the Falanghina there. The area is named Falerno del Massico and is one of the smallest d.o.c. area’s in Italy. A broad spectrum of wines is produced there in which tradition, modern vinification and biological cultivation play an important role. The most renowned Falernian today is the Falerno del Massico of the Villa Matilde, made from Aglianico and Piedirosso. There exists white Falerno as well.

The Caecuba was also a strong wine from the Larium region, but according to my information it’s no longer produced.

You can think, so how can you be dead?

Azazello makes an allusion to a statement of René Descartes (1596-1650), or Renatus Cartesius in Latin. He was a French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, One of the most important of his time. With his posing: «Cogito ergo sum» or «I think, so I am». Descartes took a dualistic position; he separated body and soul. He said that we should doubt everything, including if our body exists and we don’t dream all this.

René Descartes
René Descartes

But you won't forget a single word of it?

In chapter 24 was already said what dissident writers in the Soviet Union did for not being caught. Many of them never wrote down their stories or poems. They memorized their works so that the secret police would not find copies of the writings. This explains Margarita’s question if the master «will not forget a single word of it».

Many writers distributed to various reliable friends different parts of their work.

I'll cut your hand off!

This is the first and only time in the novel that one of the demonic characters reacts so aggressively against a sign of christian symbolic.

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