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Heart of a Dog

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  15,039 ratings  ·  549 reviews
Mikhail Bulgakov's absurdist parable of the Russian Revolution.

A world-famous Moscow professor -- rich, successful, and violently envied by his neighbors -- befriends a stray dog and resolves to achieve a daring scientific first by transplanting into it the testicles and pituitary gland of a dead man. But the results are wholly unexpected: a distinctly and worryingly human...more
Paperback, 123 pages
Published January 21st 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1925)
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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
17th out of 349 books — 1,384 voters
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynDoctor Zhivago by Boris PasternakWe by Yevgeny ZamyatinHeart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
Best Russian (Soviet 1917-1991) Literature
5th out of 147 books — 146 voters

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Community Reviews

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"The whole horror of the situation is that he now has a human heart, not a dog's heart. And about the rottenest heart in all creation!"

The recipe for success a la Bulgakov:

# Take a street dog, hungry and flea-ridden and wickedly smart (yes, he can even read - you gotta do that to survive on the cruel winter Moscow streets!).

# Take a brilliant and renown professor with a knack for brain surgery/transplants and desire to advance science.

# Add to the mix a dead good-for-nothing delinquent alcohol...more
Sep 14, 2012 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mary by: Kris
Shelves: fiction, 2012
What does it mean to be human? To be an individual? How unfortunate we must be, us, merely to be human beings. We can never escape what we truly are. We can nip and tuck our way around our flaws, but humans inevitably are always their own disastrous downfalls and worst nightmares.

Heart of a Dog is, before anything else, FUN. It's just really damn entertaining. We start with a sort of Woody Allen neurotic type stream of concsiousness narrative from a stray dog, Sharik, who is swooped up by doctor...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I'm not even sure where to begin...there is so much going on in this little novella (particularly concerning the Russian government and its sociopolitical policies in the 1920's and beyond), that I'm be afraid that discussing it in detail would only serve to highlight my ignorance on the subject. So here it is! Me highlighting my ignorance on the subject...

I decided to read this story simultaneously with The Master and Margarita with the hope of completing The Heart of a Dog first. I did this na...more
MJ Nicholls
Mikhail Bulgakov is one of the most overlooked Russian satirists/geniuses of the 20th century.

I’ve read two works of his now, and both have floored me with the scathing cleverness of their satire, the sheer originality of their ideas, and the fact that both these Russian texts – written during Stalin’s reign – are instantly accessible to the modern reader.

The Heart of a Dog (1925) is a short blast against the ‘New Soviet Man’ – a comment on the declining power of Communism and the changing tides...more
Anthony Vacca
It ain't easy being a dog. No, it ain't easy. Especially when you have to rummage the streets of Moscow, avoiding the bitter proletariat who will kick you and curse you and throw boiling water on your hide, just because you want a bite to eat. And you want to be a good doggie, make no mistake. Everyone wants a friend, even dogs. So you take kindness from whatever hand that offers; and how could anyone expect a good dog like you to do otherwise? Who cares if the pampered hand you have to lick is...more
One of the great tragedies of life is that so few people outside Russia have read this, and that I can't imagine any translation could even come close to capturing the setting and language of the original.

Professor Preobrazhensky is searching for a way to restore youth. In his research process, he experiments with replacing a dog's hypothalamus with that of a man, but instead of making the dog younger, the procedure gradually turns the dog into a man, with horrifying results. The book is an expl...more
If your only acquaintance with Bulgakov is Master and Margarita then Heart of a Dog will come as a surprise. It is one of several science out of control, possibly influenced by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells stories.

However what is not to like about this mad scientist story about how things go horribly wrong when the pituitary gland and testicles of a dead man are transplanted into a stray dog? Behold the Soviet new man constructed from death and a dog. No wonder that the opera going, traditionally...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Ho forse chiesto io di essere operato? Bella roba! Si piglia una povera bestia, le si spacca la testa e poi si fa gli schizzinosi. »

Di questo romanzetto (nel senso più vezzeggiativo del termine) si potrebbe scrivere per dì e dì. Tuttavia non ho abbastanza dì a disposizione per imbastire qualcosa che sia degno di vezzeggiarlo. Questi dì estivi mi sono crudelmente sottratti e consumati dallo stage che sto svolgendo alla redazione di un (più o meno noto) quotidiano, che per comodità chiameremo “G...more
A tail tale of transformation gone awry - by Sharik

Once upon a time the fad was to use the names of animals, body-parts and clothes in peculiar combinations to describe a certain situation. You may have heard of some of these -- the flea’s eyebrows, the canary’s tusks, the eel’s ankle, the elephant’s instep, the clam’s garter, the snake’s hips, the kipper’s knickers, the sardine’s whiskers and the pig’s wings. These nonsensical expressions then evolved into the feline cat’s pyjamas, cat’s whiske...more
When I first read The Master and Margarita in college, it was love at first sight. I don't know why I didn't consider picking up more Bulgakov, but now I have - and I want more. I love him. so much.

This is what I want when I want satire. This is what I mean when I say dark comedy. It's grotesque and hilarious. It's what I wish Tim Burton's movies were more like.
In under 130 pages, Bulgakov tackles morality issues surrounding the Russian Revolution, mercilessly satirizes their politics, bureaucracy, evolution and humanity at large. How does he do it?

This man is a Russian Orwell, only with a better sense of humor, yet still manages to underline the darkness and bestiality of human nature.

The story follows a Russian doctor who takes in stray dog, experiments on him by replacing the dog's pituitary gland and testicles with that of a recently deceased man,...more
Finished this with tears in my eyes at 1:54 in the morning, and anxiously awaiting my lecture on it tomorrow afternoon. It's THAT good.

In this short novel, written in the mid 1920's in Soviet Russia and not published until the 80's, Bulgakov manages a few different levels of awareness. The surface level is a moderately comedic story about a scientist that transplants a human's brain into a dog's body, at which point the dog (Sharikov) begins to become progressively "human". The human-like creatu...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Written in Russian in 1925 by the author of The Master and Margarita (his more famous book, which is on my to-read list), Heart of a Dog upset the Communist sensibilities so much that it was banned in Russia until the 80s. That should give some indication of the flippancy of this book, though it was probably quite easy to upset the Russian Communists (as I learned from reading Darkness at Noon).

It follows the story of Sharikh, a stray dog who follows a man home because he offers him sausage. The...more
Tempo de Ler
Em poucas cenas e através de um enredo aparentemente desatinado, Bulgakov criou em 'Coração de Cão' uma sátira política e social mordaz que explora possibilidades incríveis sobre a psique humana, a aplicação da engenharia genética no melhoramento da espécie e no seu rejuvenescimento enquanto registava as mudanças à sua volta, na Rússia dos anos 20.

Partindo da teoria que a hipófise é uma câmara fechada que encerra o esboço da personalidade humana, um cientista resolve transplantar para um cão de...more
Bello e semplice. Semplice ed allegorico. Allegorico e significativo.

Come dovrebbero essere tutti i libri di critica. Simbolici ma comprensibili. Così comprensibile che fu sequestrato dalla polizia russa nel 1925 per poi essere pubblicato quarant'anni più tardi.

Certo per comprenderne appieno il significato bisogna conoscere la storia di quegli anni. La rivoluzione, il comunismo di guerra con tutti gli espropri proletari e la conseguente NEP (nuova politica economica) con riaperture al sistema ca...more
One of the marks of a good translation is that the reader does not feel as if he or she is reading one. This is certainly the case with Michael Glenny’s translation of Bulgakov’s The Heart of a Dog.

This book was completed in the USSR in 1925, but was not published in that country, or anywhere else, until 1987, 47 years after the author died.

The short novel was written during the era when Soviet science included Ivan Pavlov (of salivating dog fame) and Trofim Lysenko (of dubious genetics fame)...more
Faisal AlHebainy
و و و و و - عو عو هو عو. انظروا إليّ، إنّني أموت! | السّطر الأول

شعرت بالقرف وأنا أقرأ هذه الرواية. آخر مرة شعرتُ فيها بذات الإحساس، كان في بداية انمساخ كافكا، ونهاية حديقة الحيوان لأورويل. القرف الذي أتحدّث عنه، جميل، وصادم. وأمام أفكار شاذة كهذه، لا أستطيع أن أتصوّر إلى أيّ حدٍ مرعب يمكن للإنسان أن يكون مريضًا وعبقريًا.

اختصر بولغاكوف شعوري بعد قراءة الرواية في هذا السطر، على لسان الطبيب الشاب: والآن، عندما أسيرُ في الشارع، يتملكني الهلع عندما أنظر إلى الكلاب المارقة. إن الرّب وحده يعرف ما المدف...more
3.5. You can see the threads that would become Master and Margarita. You can also see the kind of wonky, lopsided way Master and Margarita was presented. M&M was a terrific read, but there were times when things didn't make sense in a not-so-good way. The absurdity was killer, but sometimes the scenes became muddled, as though parts were excised or missing. There was a problem with censorship in a lot of B.'s work from what I understand, but the copies I read of both M&M and HoaD were su...more
Knar   Avetisyan
description Сама того не подозревая, я прочитала научно-фантастическую политическую сатиру, которая в течении 50 лет подвергалась цензуре. Почему убрали ковер с парадной лестницы? Разве Карл Маркс запрещает держать на лестнице ковры? Разве где-нибудь у Карла Маркса сказано, что 2-й подъезд калабуховского дома на Пречистенке следует забить досками и ходить кругом через черный двор?

Да, в какой-то мере эта книга - провокация. Да, она нереальна, да, она неоднозначна и воспринимать "Собачье сердце" можно по-ра...more
“Dietro l'enorme scrivania con il pesantissimo calamaio c'era un vestito vuoto che scriveva su un pezzo di carta con una penna asciutta, non intinta nell’inchiostro. Il vestito era completo di cravatta, dal taschino spuntava una penna stilografica, ma sopra il colletto non c'era né il collo né la testa, così come dai polsini non spuntavano le mani. Il vestito era carico di lavoro e non si accorgeva per nulla della confusione che regnava intorno a lui. Udito che era entrato qualcuno, il vestito s...more
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3.5 stars

Philip Philipovich, surgeon, reproductive expert and refined borgeois gentleman, makes the grievous error of transplanting a human pituitory gland and testicles into a mongrel he has enticed with a piece of sausage. The dog is unexpectedly transformed into a human, taking on the unprepossessing doggy personality of the deceased donor.

The horrible consequences of the hero's mistake provide a very roadworthy vehicle for social commentary and criticism.
آخرین عبارت از یادداشت شمس لنگرودی که در انتهای کتاب آمده:
« بیائیم و هم‌چون مایاکوفسکی بپذیریم که «هرگز [جوانان] را از تماشای صحنه‌یی که هرچند ظاهرش ممکن است نامعقول به نظر آید اما مفهوم علمی عمیقی زیر پوشش رنگارنگش پنهان است، محروم نکنیم... و امیدوار [باشیم که] جسم و جان جوانان ما با مشاهده‌ی این نمونه‌ی نکبت‌بار آبدیده شود.»
و بدانیم که ویرانی، نه از بیان حقیقت، بلکه از کتمان حقیقت روی می‌دهد.»
Arthur Graham
Among other things, this book is about a perfectly loyal, lovable dog who gradually transforms into a real ass of a man. Required reading for anyone who's ever uttered the words "I wish my dog could talk..."
It is said that a dog is man's best friend. But what if that dog was given a human pituitary gland and suddenly turned human, the pituitary gland of a miscreant and a human of coarse behavior, a slightly grotesque human?

I'm still not sure why the doctor even bothered giving the dog the testicles of a man unless the doctor already figured out that most thinking stems from the lower regions. The dog did try to use his new testicles but Bulgakov left out the details.

I did like the narrative of the...more
Bu kitap ile ilgili savunacağım iki husus var. Birinci husus: kitabın akıcılığı ve kolay okunabilen bir yapıda olması. Edebi olarak metni çok beğendiğimi söyleyebilirim. İkinci husus : kitabın sansüre uğramış olması. Kitabın rejim eleştirisi gereksiz ve abartılı olmasına rağmen her ne olursa olsun sansüre topyekün karşı olmak gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Bu kitabın rejim tarafından yasaklanmış olması ülkemizdeki Ahmet Şık olayını aklıma getirdi.

Bu kitap bence çok planlı ve ince düşünülmüş. Monarşis...more
قلب كلب

في هذه الرواية كمية سخرية مذهلة، وهي سخرية مركزة على ما آل إليه الرجل السوفييتي، أو كما يسميه بطل الرواية الدكتور بريوبراجنسكي البروليتاري، صدرت الرواية بعد (بيوض القدر) في سنة 1925 م، ومنعت تماماً في الاتحاد السوفييتي ولم يفسح لها إلا في 1987 م، وحولت إلى فيلم في سنة 1988 م على يد المخرج الروسي فلاديمير بورتكو، وهو ذاته الذي حول رواية (المعلم ومارغريتا) إلى مسلسل من عشر حلقات سنة 2005 م.

تجربة علمية يقوم بها الدكتور بريوبراجنسكي مع مساعده الدكتور بورمنتال على كلب أطلقا عليه اسم شارك، ال...more
One of the best writers of the 20th Century, Bulgakov was a genius at compressing a huge amount of action, thought and atmosphere into every page. He was also very good at showing scenes at slightly oblique angles, so that you don't quite "get" them immediately; there's always a delay before th...ings click, but it's a very small delay, just like in real life. That's why he's a realist even though he writes (sometimes wild) satiric philosophical fantasy. This magnificent novel is short but extre...more
Un libro dalla piacevole lettura, semplice, paradossale, ironico e cinico, che dietro l'esperimento del dottor Preobrazénskij, cela la denuncia sociale in cui versava l'Unione Sovietica e in generale le bassezze dell'animo umano. Quest'ultime soprattutto, sono espresse inizialmente attraverso i ricordi del cane Pallino e dei trattamenti violenti ricevuti dagli uomini; ultimo fra tutti, l'acqua bollente gettatagli su un fianco, che gli ha procurato la perdita del pelo e sofferenze immani da ustio...more
I have no real idea about Communist Russian culture and this book feels entirely immersed in it. That being said, the over all themes feel very applicable to the fetishizing of "the proletariat" and the inexhaustible humanity of the upper class individualist. Fucking funny, ill humored, sickening, and totally creative. Explores the usual themes of humanitarianism and consciousness that I get off on. Lot's of ironic bungles in the bureaucracy.
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The Master and Ma...: Discussion: Heart of a Dog 23 55 Sep 14, 2012 02:48PM  
/lit/ Revival of ...: * Week 002: Heart of a Dog 17 58 May 01, 2012 10:41AM  
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The Master and Margarita The White Guard A Country Doctor's Notebook The Fatal Eggs Morfine

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“Kindness. The only possible method when dealing with a living creature. You'll get nowhere with an animal if you use terror, no matter what its level of development may be. That I have maintained, do maintain and always will maintain. People who think you can use terror are quite wrong. No, no, terror is useless, whatever its colour – white, red or even brown! Terror completely paralyses the nervous system.” 76 likes
“Nobody should be whipped. Remember that, once and for all. Neither man nor animal can be influenced by anything but suggestion.” 40 likes
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