Heart of a Dog Background

Heart of a Dog Background

“The Heart of a Dog” is one of the best examples of Bulgakov`s criticism of life in the Soviet Union. According to different views after final analysis it was apprehended as an absurd and satirical story. The novel was written and introduced in March 1925 in one of the Moscow apartments, where had gathered approximately 50 intellectuals of that time. After this event Bulgakov’s flat was searched and his personal diary and the other works, including our novel, were confiscated because of its provocative character. The result – prohibition of the writer`s plays in all theatres. Just four years later it was returned to the author and Mikhail Opanasovich`s plays were back just in the Moscow Art Theatre. After that “The Heart of a Dog” was widely read in samizdat – unofficial publication of literary works.

This publication was officially released in Russian only in 1987, but it was after Bulgakov`s death. From a fair number of critical reviews we read that this novel was one of the novelist`s most beloved stories among readership (the first place is for “The Master and Margarita”, which brought for him fame). The literary composition became known and discussed by people "from schoolchildren to politicians”, but each of them saw their own details and understood the work from different perspectives. Some perceived household features, others – political side of the plot.

The work was interpreted in both Russian and Italian-language versions. For example, in 1976 the story was filmed in Italian, after success of the local opera on the same theme and a very popular Soviet movie “Sobachye Serdtse”, which was made by Vladimir Bortko in 1988. The main peculiarity is that major events were shot from the dog's point of view (that is similar to the plot of the book).

This novel also was adapted in English as a play and an opera: one of the first interpretations of the book was a comic opera “The Murder of Comrade Sharik” by William Bergsma in 1973. Later in 2007 and in 2010 Guerilla Opera (in Boston, Massachusetts) staged the premiere of the “Heart of a Dog”. One more time in March 2011 the play was staged at the University of Leeds, one of the leading UK universities. And 3 years later the audience enjoyed the performance again in France in January 2014.

More interesting facts, connected with Bulgakov`s work is that a new musical adaptation of "Heart of a Dog" has been developed in Australia in May 2014. The last appearance of this story in modern representation was in 2016, when rock band “The Kills” released a song 'Heart of a Dog', the title of which was inspired by the book.

So, Mikhail Bulgakov created one of the literary masterpieces, widely read in all times of human development. This novel concerns different life aspects that are actual not only in the past, but also are important nowadays. The book was and still is studied at Ukrainian schools.

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