Heart Of A Dog
(Bulgakov, Mikhail Afanasevich)
A stray dog on the street is about to die from exposure after a person scalds him with boiling water earlier in the day to get rid of him. The dog is rescued in the nick of time by a famous and wealthy medical professor who feeds the starving mutt and takes him home to shelter. The doctor has made his career by rejuvenating people through hormonal operations involving the pituitary gland.
The dog, soon becoming accustomed to his new lifestyle, finds himself being the object of very strange operations by the doctor. The doctor and his assistant implant the testicals and pituitary gland of a dead criminal into the dog. Slowly the animal begins to change into a dog-like human being who finds his personality ideal to flourish in the corrupt Soviet society. He names himself Poligraph Poligraphovich Sharik and the new half-beast-half-man is able to finagle his way through society by informing on individuals, bribing and thieving his way to the top. The doctor is horror stricken by this turn of events, and finds his life turned upside down by the creature he?s created. Finally he is able to reverse the procedure and turn the man back into the dog he is supposed to be.
The book was written in 1925 but, for obvious reasons, repressed by the Soviet regime and not officially published until 1987. The satirical novel is a hilarious display of the corrupt NEP society, full of scathing commentary on the greedy regime. The novel satires both the revolution and the hypocritical culture of those who profited by it. Bulgakov's work is both fantastical and full of deeply realistic social commentary. The dog-man, rather than rejected by society, flourishes in it and the doctor finds his creature's scathing amoral behavior is just what is the most acceptable in the new regime.