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Revolutionary ExperimentsThe Quest for Immortality in Bolshevik Science and Fiction$
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Nikolai Krementsov

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199992980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199992980.001.0001

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“The Dog’s Heart” and Monkey Glands: Rejuvenation

“The Dog’s Heart” and Monkey Glands: Rejuvenation

(p.127) 5 “The Dog’s Heart” and Monkey Glands: Rejuvenation
Revolutionary Experiments

Nikolai Krementsov

Oxford University Press

Through the lens of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novella “Dog’s Heart” this chapter describes the “rejuvenation craze” that swept Russia during the 1920s, following the widely publicized experiments on sex glands (testicles and ovaries) by the Austrian biologist Eugen Steinach and the French surgeon Serge Voronoff. It portrays numerous Russian scientists, particularly Nikolai Kol’tsov and Mikhail Zavadovskii, testing and debating various techniques of manipulating sex gonads and equally numerous writers laughing at, glorifying, or decrying their results and quickly extending the promise of rejuvenation into a certainty of immortality, as did Vsevolod Valiusinskii in his 1928 novel "Five Immortals". It examines the attitudes of certain members of the public to the intertwining of science and sex that raised hopes of science fulfilling their wildest dreams of changing human (sexual) identities and getting control over human nature.

Keywords:   Mikhail Bulgakov, aging, rejuvenation, sex change, Nikolai Kol’tsov, Mikhail Zavadovskii, Vsevolod Valiusinskii

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