Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"Maestro, Marguerite, morphine: The last years in the life of Mikhail Bulgakov"

Thanks to Kevin Kim, the great Big Hominid himself, I've received an abstract I can safely say I'd never have come across on my own:
"Maestro, Marguerite, morphine: The last years in the life of Mikhail Bulgakov"
The study was undertaken by G. Zilberstein, U. Maor, E. Baskin, and P. G. Righetti. Here's their "Abstract":
The manuscript pages of the final draft of Master i Margarita, the masterpiece by Mikhail Bulgakov, written in the last four years of his life (1936-1940), have been treated with a mixture of chromatographic beads, namely a strong cation exchanger and a C8 resin. Potential substances captured by the beads, after harvesting them, were eluted with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol, dichloromethane and ammonium hydroxide and the eluate subjected to GC-MS analysis in order to detect the presence, if any, of drugs, due to the fact that the writer suffered intense pains caused by an inherited nephrotic syndrome. Indeed all the pages under investigation (a total of ten, taken at random among 127 foils) contained traces of morphine, from as little as 5 up to 100ng/cm2. In addition to the intact drug, we could detect one of its metabolites, namely 6-O-acetyl morphine. The significance of these findings in terms of a possible improvement of the novel and in terms of drug use (or abuse) in the modern world is discussed and evaluated.
In other words, here are the drugs he took, he took them for pain associated with kidney problems, and the drugs' painkilling properties may have enabled his final four-year work on improving the manuscript. There's also the biological significance:
The extraction of metabolites/proteins from the surface of the original manuscript pages of Bulgakov masterpiece Master i Margarita has permitted to monitor his health state and intake of medicaments over the last four years of his life. We have ascertained that: (1) he was assuming large doses of morphine as pain killers; (2) he was affected by a nephrotic syndrome, since we could identify three proteins known as biomarkers of this pathology. The double extraction procedure here reported could open up a novel field of investigation of (relatively) ancient manuscripts for metabolome/proteome analysis on the health status of the writer/artist.
And here are the key words:
6-O-acetyl morphine; Bulgakov manuscript; Chromatographic resins; Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry; Master i Margarita; Morphine
How interesting this "novel field of investigation"! How clever the novel pun!

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At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Jeff, CPH here--I think it's probably about time I read this. You've no doubt said in the past, but I'll ask you afresh; what translation would you recommend? Thanks--

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Offhand, I don't know. Maybe I've said something in one of these posts.

Jeffery Hodges

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