Mar 122009
 

The other night, after finishing my umpteenth reading of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, the creative urge struck. Just as the anti-hero is a non-traditional, pragmatic protagonist, I thought it might be fun to write something about an anti-Faust: a non-traditional, pragmatic protagonist who sells his soul to the devil. I produced a couple of introductory paragraphs, which I reread earlier this evening, before (a) I ran out of steam, and (b) thinking about Led Zeppelin distracted me.

One marathon job-application-session and three glasses of wine later, I’m fascinated by the idea again. So I’ve given the burblings their own page on ye olde blog. Hurrah!

  5 Responses to “The anti-Faust”

  1. This is a promising idea, perhaps very promising, and well written, but you will hit a brick wall if you go on like this. Since you are clearly under the influence of Bulgakov (no bad thing), why not go the whole hog and write it as a novel? And why not filch Woland as well? Have him inspect the members of Led Zeppelin at their rock-band farmhouse in Wiltshire (or wherever it was; I assume they had one — all those bands did, complete with recording studio and groupies), where they are summoning the spirit of Aleister Crowley and making their Faustian request. Woland turns up, perhaps as a TV Licensing enforcement officer, or to read the gas meter, or something equally mundane, is admitted by the housekeeper, gives her the slip and eavesdrops: then decides they are all too middle-class and boring and tells himself that since he already has the Rolling Stones and the Carpenters in his pocket, what’s the point? He retreats, leaving them still mumbling incantations, but on the way out bumps into John Doe, who is the real TVL officer/ gasman, and gets involved in a farcical confrontation with the housekeeper, which can only be resolved … I could go on, but it’s time to switch off my Mac and clean my teeth.

    Dialogue is what you need, right from the start. Don’t tell the reader, show him.

  2. By no means, dearest funny Bella, it’s your idea, your project, and perhaps I shouldn’t have meddled. On the other hand, you don’t want to go wasting your time on novels when your true vocation — casting director — is staring you in the face. Irons would be perfect, though for John Doe (here I go meddling again) I rather had Danny DeVito in mind. (Must-see DVD: Tin Men.)

    I’m a dunce at history, so I’d fail your test. I did write a story once set in the past, which an expert criticized for its many mistakes. To my amazement I had a letter from another academic, in America this time, who told me I was right and the critic was wrong. I had to confess the extent of my research, which was based on an illustrated 32-page pamphlet For Young People. You know the kind of thing, line drawings with captions like “It was not easy for the women to keep the huts clean, for the animals were allowed to roam everywhere”. He was very decent about it and saw the joke. My job is merely to convince, which I rather suspect might be yours as well.

    But in all seriousness, please don’t let me put you off your anti-Faust.

  3. no, don’t or i shall be forever wondering what happened next…

  4. Orlando Bloom for the David Beckham Story. Produced by Danny Boyle.

    Here’s the job for Woland.

    New Labour Apparatchik wanted

    (Hat tip to Mr. Holborn)

  5. Sounds like you ought to write it, darling. And clasp the hands together and pray, pray, pray it doesn’t get made into a lousy film with Orlando Bloom as John Doe and Jeremy Irons as Woland…

    And why am I not surprised you’ve read The Master and Margarita? The few people I know who have always say that the Pilate chapters are their favourite, but I quite prefer the events in Moscow – especially Koroviev, who is hands-down the best character in the novel, and the poignant Ivan Homeless.

    But really, Dennis – is there anything you don’t know? What if I were to quiz you on your knowledge of, say, the Wars of the Roses?

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