Article ID: CBB000954214

Off with Your Heads: Isolated Organs in Early Soviet Science and Fiction (2009)

unapi

In the summer of 1925, a debutant writer, Aleksandr Beliaev, published a `scientific-fantastic story', which depicted the travails of a severed human head living in a laboratory, supported by special machinery. Just a few months later, a young medical researcher, Sergei Briukhonenko, succeeded in reviving the severed head of a dog, using a special apparatus he had devised to keep the head alive. This paper examines the relationship between the literary and the scientific experiments with severed heads in post-revolutionary Russia, which reflected the anxieties about death, revival, and survival in the aftermath of the 1914--1923 `reign of death' in that country. It contrasts the anguished ethical questions raised by the story with the public fascination for `science that conquers death'.

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Authors & Contributors
Maria Zalambani
Yukushina, Irina I.
Ljudmilla Chapovalova
Franz Haas
Bini, Elisabetta
Morrison, Ryan J.
Journals
Medicina Historica
Slavic Review
European Legacy
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Publishers
Viella
Ledizioni
University of California Press
Routledge
Firenze University Press
Concepts
Science and ethics
Science and literature
Science fiction
Science and culture
Science and politics
Science and ideology
People
Ghosh, Amitav
Supek, Ivan
Time Periods
20th century
Modern
20th century, early
21st century
19th century
20th century, late
Places
Soviet Union
Europe
Russia
United States
Germany
Sweden
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