German: translated as “longing”, “yearning”, or “craving”, or in a wider sense, a type of “intensely missing”. The word is difficult to translate adequately and describes a deep emotional state. Its meaning is somewhat similar to the Portuguese word, saudade, or the Romanian word dor. Sehnsucht is a compound word, originating from an ardent longing or yearning (das Sehnen) and addiction (die Sucht). However, these words do not adequately encapsulate the full meaning of their resulting compound, even when considered together.
Psychologists have worked to capture the essence of Sehnsucht by identifying its six core characteristics: “(a) utopian conceptions of ideal development; (b) sense of incompleteness and imperfection of life; (c) conjoint time focus on the past, present, and future; (d) ambivalent (bittersweet) emotions; (e) reflection and evaluation of one’s life; and (f) symbolic richness.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bugalkov (1967)
A Lesser Told Love Story
The Master, a nameless historian fresh off of a lottery win, is roaming the streets of Moscow when he spots a bunch of hideous yellow flowers in the hand of the lovely and unhappy Margarita. Love strikes like lightning. Despite both being married, the Master and Margarita engage in an affair while he’s writing his life’s greatest work.
When he finishes his book and submits it for publication, the manuscript is rejected and mocked and, ashamed, he sets it aflame. Margarita digs the remnants of the pages from the stove, but cannot piece together the remnants of his ego. His life’s passion lost, the Master checks himself into an asylum without sending word to Margarita. She believes him dead and dreams of him often.
Enter Woland, months later.
Perhaps a professor, perhaps a foreigner, and most definitely Satan incarnate, Woland and his demonic retinue determine that Margarita is their lost queen and enlist her help at a banquet. She leaves her husband and does their bidding, becoming a witch in the process. Once she has fulfilled her promise, Woland offers the sad woman anything she’d like. She asks that the Master and the quiet basement, in all of its destitution, be returned to her.
But too much chaos has befallen Moscow in Woland’s attempt to find his lost queen. And hers is not an easy request. Her Master is returned to her, though he is still despondent, and they recover their old life, complete with his restored manuscript. Yet Woland is not satisfied. The pair’s devotion to one another reaches beyond what the mundane world can recognize. So though they do not deserve the light, they are deemed deserving of peace.
They live out eternity with one another, courtesy of the devil, in something very much like heaven, but very certainly not.
You know what? When I was 12 I had an audio tape which contained few chapters of “Master and Margarita”. And it had a mindblowing music. Then, when I was about 18 I finally found a whole digital version of this book. And today (I’m 24 now) I’ve found this music! It is Peter Gabriel creation - music for “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Circle is now complete!