The social and cultural context
In this section of the website some social and cultural aspects of the Russian society are described which were not different in the Stalin period than in the periods before or after. But knowing them can help to better understand some parts of the novel. Like, for instance, the names of the characters, for which Bulgakov sometimes uses the polite form of the christian name followed by the patronymic, and sometimes he uses one of the countless pet names created by the Russians depending on the situ-ation - which is something they still do today.
It may also help to know something about the confusion which is some-times created by the use of dates, because the Stalin era knew some changes of the calendar systems. And sometimes I present just nice trivia like about - believe it or not - the influence of the Dutch language on the Russian language.
Your guide through the novel
In this section are explained, per chapter, all typical notions, names of people and places, quotations and expressions from the novel with a description of the political, social, economical and cultural context.