11. Ivan splits in two
The former Ivan and the new Ivan
In this chapter, Mikhail Bulgakov describes the split of Ivan’s personality. Somewhere else in the book is made the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Today we know that people with schizophrenia have no split personalities or no multiple personality disorder, but it used to be a widely spread idea, certainly in the 30’s, which is understandable, since the word comes from the Greek words σχίζειν [skhizein] or to split and φρένα [frena] or mind. Schizophrenia was one of the most popular diagnoses when dissidents or «saboteurs» were arrested by the secret policein the Soviet Union.
In the first version of The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov used the term mania furibunda or raving madness to describe the condition of Bezdomny. This mental illness has been described by Franciscus Adalbertus Lux (1805-?) of the Faculty of Medicine at the Königliche Friedrich Wilhelms Universität in Berlin, Germany, in 1827.
It’s interesting to see which words Bulgakov is using in Russian to describe the «old Ivan» and the «new Ivan». The most common word in Russian to describe «old» is старый [stary], but Bulgakov describes the «old Ivan» as ветхий (vetkhy), which also means «old», but only used in the biblical term Ветхий Завет [Vetkhy Zavyet], or Old Testament.
He was already picturing a palm tree on its elephant's leg
In a previous version of the novel Ivan already dreamed of palm trees in the scene at Patriarchs’ Ponds. But there he was told sternly not to sing under the palms, because «that's not what they were planted for»!
- 1 Never Talk with Strangers
- 2 Pontius Pilate
- 3 The Seventh Proof
- 4 The Chase
- 5 There were Doings at Griboedov's
- 6 Schizophrenia, as was Said
- 7 A Naughty Apartment
- 8 The Combat between the Professor...
- 9 Koroviev's Stunts
- 10 News From Yalta
- 11 Ivan Splits in Two
- 12 Black Magic and Its Exposure
- 13 The Hero Enters
- 14 Glory to the Cock!
- 15 Nikanor Ivanovich's Dream
- 16 The Execution
- 17 An Unquiet Day
- 18 Hapless Visitors
- 19 Margarita
- 20 Azazello's Cream
- 21 Flight
- 22 By Candlelight
- 23 The Great Ball at Satan's
- 24 The Extraction of the Master
- 25 How the Procurator Tried...
- 26 The Burial
- 27 The End of Apartment No. 50
- 28 The Last Adventures of Koroviev...
- 29 The Fate of the Master and...
- 30 It's Time! It's Time!
- 31 On Sparrow Hills
- 32 Forgiveness and Eternal Refuge