Pasternak, Boris (29 January [10 February, New Style] 1890 - 30 May 1960)
Boris Pasternak (29 January [10 February, New Style] 1890 - 30 May 1960)
This entry was revised from Evans-Romaine’s Pasternak entry in DLB 302: Russian Prose Writers After World War II.
BOOKS: Bliznets v tuchakh, introduction by Nikolai Nikolaevich Aseev (Moscow:Lirika, 1914);
Poverkh bar’erov (Moscow: Tsentrifuga, 1917; revised, Moscow & Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1929; enlarged edition, Moscow & Leningrad: Ogiz, 1931);
Sestra moia zhizn’ (Moscow:Grzhebin, 1922); translated by Olga Andreyev Carlisle as My Sister Life and Other Poems (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976);
Temy i variatsii (Berlin:Gelikon, 1923);
Karusel’ (Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1925);
Rasskazy (Moscow & Leningrad:Krug, 1925)—comprises “Detstvo Liuvers,” “I1 tratto di Apelle,” “Pis’ma iz Tuly,” and “Vozdushnye puti”;
Izbrannye stikhi (Moscow: Uzel, 1926);
Deviat’sot piatyi god (Moscow:Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1927)-includes “Deviat’sot piatyi god” and “Leitenant Shmidt”;
Dve knigi: Stikhi (Sestra moia zhizn’, Temy) (Moscow:Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1927);
Izbrannye stikhi (Moscow: Pravda, 1929);
Zverinets (Moscow:Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1929);
Okhrannaia gramota (Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo pisatelei v Leningrade, 1931); translated by George Reavey as “Safe Conduct,” in Safe Conduct: An Autobiography and Other Writings (New York: New Directions, 1958);
Spektorsky (Moscow & Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1931);
Vtoroe rozhdenie (Moscow: Federatsiia, 1932);
Izbrannye stikhi (Moscow: Sovetskaia literatura, 1933);
Izbrannye stikhotvoreniia (Moscow:Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1933);
Poemy (Moscow:Sovetskaia literatura, 1933);
Stikhotvoreniia (Leningrad:Izdatel’stvo pisatelei v Lenin-grade, 1933);
Vozdushnye puti (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1933)-includes “Povest’”;
Izbrannye stikhotvoreniia (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1934);
Na rannikh poezdakh (Moscow:Sovetskii pisatel’, 1943);
Izbrannye stikhi i poemy (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1945);
Zemnoi prostor (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1945);
Izbrannoe (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1948);
Il Dottor Zivago, translated by Pietro Zveteremich (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1957); Russian version published as Doktor Zhivago (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1958; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1958); translated by Max Hayward and Manya Harari as Doctor Zhivago (London: Collins & Harvill, 1958; New York: Pantheon, 1958); first complete authorized edition, with introduction by Evgenii Borisovich Pasternak (Moscow: Knizhnaia palata, 1989);
Kogda razguliaetsia (Paris: Izdatel’stvo liubitelei poezii B. L. Pasternaka, 1959);
Sochineniia, 4 volumes, edited by Gleb Struve and B.A. Filippov (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961)-comprises volume 1, Stikhi i poemy, 1912-1932; volume 2, Proza 1915-1958: Povesti, rasskazy, avtobiograficheskie proizvedeniia; volume 3, Stikhi 1936-1959; Stikhi dlia detei; Stikhi, 1912-1957, ne sobrannye v knigi avtora; and Stat’i i vystupleniia; and volume 4, Doktor Zhivago;
Stikhotvorenüa i poemy (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1961);
Stikhotvorenüa i poemy, edited by Lev A. Ozerov (Moscow:Sovetskii pisatel’,1965)-includes “Nabroski”;
Stikhi, edited by Zinaida Pasternak and Evgenii Pasternak (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1966);
Slepaia krasavitsa (London: Collins & Harvill, 1969; London: Flegon, 1969); translated by Hayward
and Harari as The Blind Beauty: A Play (London: Collins & Harvill, 1969; New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969);
Sonata for Piano, edited by N. Bogoslovsky (Moscow, 1979);
Vozdushnye puti: Proza raznykh let, edited by Evgenii Pasternak and Elena Vladimirovna Pasternak (Moscow:Sovetskii pisatel’, 1982)-includes Liudi i polozheniia;
Izbrannoe, 2 volumes, edited by Evgenii Pasternak and Elena Pasternak (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1985);
Sobranie sochinenii, 5 volumes, edited by Evgenii Pasternak, Elena Pasternak, Konstantin Mikhailovich Polivanov, and V.M. Borisov, introduction by Dmitrii Sergeevich Likhachev (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1989-1992);
Boris Pasternak ob iskusstve (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1990);
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy, 2 volumes, edited by Evgenii Pasternak and V.S. Baevsky, introduction by Vladimir N. Al’fonsov, Biblioteka poeta, Bol’shaia seriia (Leningrad: Sovetskii pisatel’, Leningradskoe otdelenie, 1990);
Boris Pasternaks Lehrjahre: Neopublikovannye filosofskie konspekty i zametki, edited by Lazar’ Fleishman, Hans-Bernd Harder, and Sergei Dorzweiler, Stanford Slavic Studies, volume 11 (Stanford, Cal.: Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University, 1996);
Polnoe sobranie sochinenii s prilozheniiami, 11 volumes, edited by Diana Vartkesovna Tevekelian (Moscow: Slovo, 2003-2005).
Editions in English: Selected Writings (New York: New Directions, 1949);
Selected Poems, translated by J. M. Cohen (London: Benn, 1958);
Poems, translated by Lydia Pasternak Slater (Fairwarp, U.K.: P. Russell, 1958; revised and enlarged, 1959);
An Essay in Autobiography, translated by Manya Harari (London: Collins & Harvill, 1959);
I Remember: Sketch for an Autobiography, translated by David Magarshak (New York: Pantheon, 1959);
The Last Summer, translated by George Reavey (London: Peter Owen, 1959);
The Poetry of Boris Pasternak, 1914-1960, translated by Reavey (New York: Putnam, 1959);
Poems, translated by Eugene M. Kayden (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959);
Prose and Poems, translated and edited by Stefan Schimanski, introduction by Cohen (London: Benn, 1959);
Poems, 1955-1959, translated by Michael Harari (London: Collins & Harvill, 1960);
Fifty Poems, translated by Slater (London: Allen & Unwin, 1963);
The Poems of Doctor Zhivago, translated by Donald Davie (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1965);
Collected Short Prose, translated and edited by Christopher Barnes (New York: Praeger, 1977);
My Sister-Life and A Sublime Malady, translated by Mark Rudman with Bohdan Boychuk (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis, 1983);
Selected Poems, translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France (New York: Norton, 1983);
Pasternak on Art and Creativity, translated and edited by Angela Livingstone (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985);
The Voice of Prose, translated and edited by Barnes (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1986)-includes “Suboctave Story”;
The year 1905, translated by Richard Chappell (London: Spenser, 1989);
Second Nature, translated by Andrei Navrozov (London: Peter Owen, 1990);
Selected Writings and Letters, translated by Catherine Judelson (Moscow: Progress, 1990);
People and Propositions, translated and edited by Barnes (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1990);
My Sister-Life, translated by Rudman and Boychuk (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1992).
OTHER: “Vassermanova reaktsiia,” in Rukonog (Moscow: Tsentrifuga, 1914), pp. 33–38;
“Chernyi bokal,” in Vtoroi sbornik Tentrifugi. Piatoe tuboizdanie (Moscow: Tsentrifuga, 1916), pp. 39–44;
“Gorod. Otryvki tselogo,” in Liren’ (Moscow, 1920);
“V nashu prozu” [from “Deviat’sot piatyi god”], in Polovod’e. Literaturnyi al’manakh (Moscow & Leningrad: Molodaia gvardiia, 1926), pp.160-161;
“Dvadtsat’ strof s predisloviem,” in Pisateli-Krymu (Moscow, 1928);
“Zametki k perevodam iz Shekspira,” in Literaturnaia Moskva (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1956).
TRANSLATIONS: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Tainy (Moscow: Sovremennik, 1922);
Heinrich von Kleist, Razbityi kuvshin, Prints Fridrikh Gomburgskii, Semeistvo Shroffenshtein, and Robert Giskar, in his Sobranie sochinenii, 2 volumes, edited by Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev and Vil’gelm Aleksandrovich Zorgenfrei (Moscow & Petrograd: Vsemirnaia literatura, 1923), pp.19–148, 149–169;
Ben Jonson, “Al’khimik,” in Dramaticheskie proizvedeniia (Moscow & Leningrad: Academia, 1931), pp. 301–564;
Vazha-Pshavela, Zmeeed (Tbilisi: Zakgiz, 1934);
Poety Gruzii (Tbilisi: Zakgiz, 1935);
Gruzinskie liriki (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1935);
Izbrannye perevody (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1940);
William Shakespeare, Gamlet, prints datskii (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1941);
Kleist, Razbityi kuvshin (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1941);
Shakespeare, “Zima,” in Ballady i pesni angliiskogo naroda, edited by M. M. Morozov (Moscow & Leningrad: DETGIZ, 1942), pp. 48–50;
Shakespeare, Romeo i Dzhul’etta (Moscow: Vsesoiuznoe upravlenie po okhrane avtorskikh prav, 1943);
Shakespeare, Antonii i Kleopatra (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1944);
Shakespeare, Otello-venetsianskii mavr (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1945);
Gruzinskie poety (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1946);
Nikoloz Baratashvili, Stikhotvoreniia (Moscow: Pravda, 1946);
Gruzinskie poety. Izbrannye perevody (Tbilisi: Zaria vostoka, 1947);
Shakespeare, Genrikh Chetvertyi (Moscow: DETGIZ, 1948);
Sándor Petöfi, Izbrannoe (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1948);
Shakespeare, Korol’ Lir (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1949);
Shakespeare, V. Shekspir v perevode Borisa Pasternaka, 2 volumes, edited by Morozov (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1949);
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1953);
Friedrich von Schiller, Mariia Stivart (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1958);
Stikhi o Gruzii. Gruzinskie poety. Izbrannye perevody (Tbilisi: Zaria vostoka, 1958);
Antologiia gruzinskoi poezii (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1958);
Kleist, Dramy. Novelly (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1969);
Ne ia pishu stikhi. Perevody iz poezii narodov SSSR, edited by E. S. Levitina (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’,1991).
SELECTED PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONSUNCOLLECTED: “Prelude,” in “Boris Pasternak, the Musician-Poet and Composer,” by Christopher Barnes, Slavica Hierosolymitana, 1 (1977): 330-335;”
“Con moto” , in “Boris Pasternak as Composer,”
by Barnes, Performance, 6 (1982): 14;
“From the Zhivago Cycle,” translated by Barnes, Russian Review, 58 (1999): 298-309.
Boris Pasternak ranks among the greatest writers of twentieth-century Russia. To native speakers of Russian he is perhaps best known and loved for his verse; nonnative speakers are rarely familiar with Pasternak’s poetry because of the difficulties in translating it. In 1958 Pasternak became the second Russian writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature-Ivan Alekseevich Bunin was the first, in 1933-and he is known outside the Russian-speaking world primarily for his novel Doktor Zhivago (1958; translated, 1958). European and American readers often believe that he won the Nobel Prize for his novel, but they often forget that the Nobel committee noted first his outstanding achievements in verse. He was cited “for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition.”
Pasternak scholars are able to draw on a wealth of information provided by his biographers. Yet, because of his own autobiographical works, scholars at first faced a challenge in compiling such information. As Christopher Barnes, Boris A. Kats, and other scholars have pointed out, Pasternak led readers astray in his autobiographical essays, in the many autobiographical references found in his other works of prose as well as in his poetic works, and even in his voluminous correspondence. Despite his statement in the autobiographical essay Okhrannaia gramota (1931; translated as “Safe Conduct,” 1958) against seeing life as “the life of the poet,” Pasternak recounted his own life from the point of view of a writer. He embellished, omitted, and transposed events for the sake of the narrative or a point he wished to make. He told his life through metaphors, and if the events did not serve his metaphors, he altered those events. Therefore, only because of the scrupulous attention of his biographers is one able to reconstruct the events of his life.
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born in Moscow on 29 January 1890 (10 February, New Style). He was the first of four children born to artist Leonid Osipovich Pasternak and pianist Rozaliia Izidorovna (Kofman) Pasternak. Both parents were Jewish natives of Odessa, his father from a relatively poor family and his mother from a middle-class home. For professional reasons the couple decided to settle in Moscow and were married there on 14 February 1889. Their first apartment was on Tverskaia Street, near the old Triumphal Gate. The house remains standing to this day and bears a plaque commemorating Pasternak’s birth. This working-class and lower-middle-class district is depicted in Doktor Zhivago as the neighborhood where Larisa (Lara) Gishar and Pasha Antipov live.
Pasternak’s family lived frugally on what Leonid Pasternak made from the sales of his paintings and private painting lessons, as well as on Rozaliia Pasternak’s income from piano lessons. The family’s financial circumstances improved when in 1894 Leonid Pasternak, despite his Jewish background, was invited to teach at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. Pasternak once wrote (in a 1926 letter to poet and friend Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva) that his mother sacrificed a concert career for her children. But, according to Evgenii Borisovich Pasternak, his son and biographer, Rozaliia Pasternak continued to practice for several hours a day and perform in solo and chamber recitals (in both private and public venues) for as long as her health permitted. After a scare in 1895, when Pasternak and his brother, Aleksandr, became gravely ill for a brief time, she stopped playing in public for ten years. Apparently, her decision to end her public concerts was a source of guilt for the children. Pasternak’s image of his mother’s sacrifice is one manifestation of a persistent theme throughout his work-that of women’s difficult lot.
Art and music were a constant part of Pasternak’s upbringing, and the careers that his siblings chose reflected this atmosphere. Aleksandr became an architect. Pasternak’s sisters, Lidiia (later known as Lydia Pasternak Slater) and Zhozefina (later known as Josephine Pasternak) also wrote, but their literary achievements never approached those of their oldest brother. The careers of Pasternak’s parents brought the family into contact with renowned artists, musicians, and writers of the period, including Leo Tolstoy and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Meetings with both writers are featured in Pasternak’s literary autobiographies Okhrannaia gramota and Liudi i polozheniia (1982, People and Positions). Both Leonid and Rozaliia Pasternak encouraged their son’s early pursuits in various directions, including art and music. They wished him to be well educated, regardless of his future career path, and enrolled him in the Fifth Classical Gymnasium. Although they preferred to send him to a German school in Moscow, they knew that graduation with a gold medal (the equivalent of receiving an A in every subject) from a state gymnasium was a prerequisite for Jews to study at Moscow University without being subject to a 3 percent admissions quota. There was also a quota for Jews in the state schools, and because of this restriction Pasternak was unable to enroll until 1901-a year later than the typical age of enrollment at ten.
The summer of 1903 was momentous for Pasternak. He met composer Aleksandr Nikolaevich Skriabin, the family’s neighbor in Obolenskoe, outside Moscow, where the Pasternaks rented a dacha in the summer. On 6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration, Pasternak broke his leg in a fall from a horse; he had been imitating female bareback riders, whom his father was then painting. For Pasternak this incident signified the birth of music in him. In a prose fragment he wrote ten years later, he recalled that after the accident, in a delirium, he heard the three-beat syncopated rhythm of the gallop and fall. He noted in Liudi i polozheniia that this injury kept him from being drafted; he did not mention directly, however, the resulting limp, which he had for the rest of his life and tried to conceal. In addition, two local deaths and one near death occurred that summer, events reflected in his later writing: the accidental death or suicide of a man who fell onto the railroad tracks at Obolenskoe station; the death of a youth as he saved a young woman from drowning; and the woman’s attempt at suicide after learning of her savior’s demise. The motif of drowning women appears in Pasternak’s early work. The railroad death appears in Doktor Zhivago as the suicide of Andrei Zhivago, the father of the hero Iurii Zhivago, at the beginning of the novel.
Wanting to become a composer, Pasternak studied music seriously throughout his teens. Leonid and Rozaliia Pasternak were delighted with their son’s ambition and arranged for private lessons in music theory and composition. Pasternak also studied piano, but he claimed that he never achieved the technical facility that would have allowed him to become a professional performer. Throughout these years he received a solid education, but his literary tendencies did not become apparent until he was nineteen.
Living in the center of Moscow, the Pasternak family witnessed the revolutionary wave that swept that city and St. Petersburg in 1905. Pasternak later conveyed the excitement he felt as a teenager at seeing the revolution in his own neighborhood in his long poem, written in 1925 or 1926 and titled simply “Deviat’sot piatyi god” (1927, The Year 1905). Concerned for the family’s safety in the face of instability and the threat of pogroms, the Pasternaks left for Berlin, where both parents were able to carry on their professional pursuits. Arriving there in January 1906, they stayed in Germany for eight months. The sojourn gave the young Pasternak the chance to improve his German and to increase his familiarity with German literature.
Upon the family’s return to Moscow, Pasternak continued his studies at the gymnasium, as well as his private lessons in music theory and composition. He graduated, with the necessary gold medal, from the gymnasium in 1908. He was admitted to Moscow University, where he decided to study law, as his father had done; this course of study was deemed easy enough to leave time for other pursuits more relevant to the young composer. Rozaliia Pasternak resumed her concert career and gave public concerts from 1907 to 1911, when a heart condition forced her to stop performing outside the home. At some point during this period, probably in 1909, when Pasternak was in his first year at the university, he began to attend the meetings of the literary and artistic salon “Serdarda,” where he first participated as a musician.
Despite Pasternak’s dramatic account in Okhrannaia gramota of his decision not to become a professional composer despite receiving Skriabin’s approval, the break was actually more gradual, as Evgenii Borisovich Pasternak and Boris A. Kats have pointed out. Pasternak’s 1909 piano sonata was completed in June, several months after his February 1909 meeting with Skriabin. Moreover, there is evidence in his letters of a recurring desire to return to music even as late as 1916, three years after his graduation from the university. Throughout his life Pasternak’s verse and prose demonstrated his profound love of music-thematically and, as several scholars have observed, sometimes structurally. Skriabin played a role in Pasternak’s next life step as well. When the two men saw each other in February 1909, the composer advised Pasternak to abandon the study of law and pursue a degree in philosophy. In the 1909-1910 academic year Pasternak was admitted to the Faculty of History and Philosophy at the university.
Around this time, probably after deciding against a career as a composer, Pasternak began to write. His first fragments in verse and prose, which he hid from his friends and family, date from 1909. Pasternak’s early verse and prose reflect his philosophical studies, his reading of Russian and French symbolist works-as well as the works of German Romantics and Rilke-and his love for music. His first poems are conservative in form and tend toward dense, scholarly language that is reminiscent, as Barnes and others have noted, of the Russian symbolist style. In a 1969 contribution to Trudy po znakovym sistemam (Studies in Semiotics) Iurii Mikhailovich Lotman shows in his studies of Pasternak’s early verse fragments that he worked like a prose writer, building his poems around phrases that appealed to him and altering form to suit content.
Pasternak’s early prose fragments, on the other hand, as Lazar’ Fleishman has discussed, constitute what Roman Jakobson called in a 1935 article for Slavische Rundschau (Slavic Review) a “poet’s prose.” More experimental than his early poetry, they generally are without plot and read like improvisations. Sentences tend to be either tremendously long or in enigmatic fragments. Characters with symbolic names walk the streets of Moscow, meditate on art and inspiration, and describe the natural world and urban landscape as an animated, personified universe. These prose fragments, first published in the 1970s and 1980s, provide the reader with valuable information about Pasternak’s developing aesthetic system. The surrounding world that acts upon the writer, the notion of objects that have souls, the image of creativity as the splitting of oneself into two parts (one that dies off and another that comes alive and calls out to an unknown force)–all of these features remained with Pasternak, in more veiled and poetically sophisticated form, throughout his life.
Throughout his childhood and youth, Pasternak had had a close relationship with his cousin in St. Petersburg, Ol’ga Mikhailovna Freidenberg. Around 1910 this relationship reached its peak. He occasionally visited her and her family in St. Petersburg. Her rejection of his advances ended his hopes for romance, but their friendship endured. They continued to correspond until his death, and their letters, published in both Russian and English, reveal much about Pasternak’s perception of literature, art, and the creative process.
In 1911 Pasternak’s family moved to an apartment on Volkhonka Street, in a building (now partly demolished) located next to the Museum of Fine Arts; they occupied this apartment for the next two decades. At this time Pasternak finally settled into a writing career and was involved in several Moscow literary circles. Through the Serdarda salon, now transformed into a literary circle called “Lirika” (meaning lyric poetry or lyricism), Pasternak met the poet and critic Sergei Pavlovich Bobrov, with whom he had a close if difficult professional relationship during the next several years. Bobrov was an active organizer, though not a diplomatic person, and he played a role in launching Pasternak’s career. In Moscow, at gatherings of the literary-philosophical circle associated with the publishing house Musaget, Pasternak met some of the leading writers and critics of the symbolist movement, which—though already beginning its decline—was still the reigning trend in Russian literature.
Disillusioned with the uninspiring way that philosophy was taught by some of his professors at Moscow University, Pasternak decided to study under Hermann Cohen, a leader of the neo-Kantian school, at Marburg University in the summer of 1912. During this time abroad Pasternak decided against philosophy as a profession. He writes openly of his rejection in Okhrannaia gramota and hints at it in his poem “Marburg” (published in 1917 in Poverkh bar erov [Over the Barriers]). In both works he also describes a concurrent unsuccessful proposal of marriage to a family acquaintance, Ida Vysotskaia, when she came to visit in June 1912. In both works he bids farewell to love and philosophy and embraces poetry; in “Marburg,” in particular, the speaker appears to have made this decision in one fateful night. In fact, as Barnes and Evgenii Pasternak have disclosed in their respective biographies on the poet, events ran a more gradual and logical course. When Vysotskaia visited Pasternak in Marburg, he asked her to marry him; she refused, and he accompanied her and her sister to Berlin. Upon Pasternak’s return to Marburg, Cohen-knowing the difficulties that Jews faced in their pursuits of academic careers in Russia-invited Pasternak to continue at Marburg University and complete a doctorate in philosophy. He declined, however; after completing his summer semester, he joined his family in Italy and then returned to Moscow. Thus, unlike his depiction of this period in his poetry and prose, Pasternak in actuality sensed only gradually in Marburg that he did not care for the life of an academic. (In a 19 July letter to his friend Aleksandr [Shura] Shtikh he referred to career academics as “beasts of intellectualism.”) Although Pasternak completed his studies at Moscow University in the 1912-1913 academic year, he began devoting himself to literature.
On 10 February 1913, at a Musaget meeting, Pasternak read a paper that became the first significant statement of his aesthetic views. What remains of “Sivolizm i bessmertie” (Symbolism and Immortality) is only an abstract, but it effectively summarizes the philosophical approach that influenced his writing. Pasternak posits the notion of subjectivity as a generic element that exists outside the individual and lives beyond each person’s death. The poet, in search of this “free subjectivity” outside and beyond himself, behaves like objects in the surrounding world. Thus, already in 1913 Pasternak articulated one of the fundamental aspects of his aesthetic system: the notion of the passive poet-someone who is a mere vessel of inspiration and at one with things around him or her.
In April 1913, just as he was completing his university studies, several of Pasternak’s poems were published in the almanac Lirika, named after the literary group; this almanac, or miscellany, was the first publication by the group. Yet, Lirika drew little reaction; as Fleishman notes in Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics (1990), there was an “epidemic of poetry” around 1910, and such publications were legion. That summer, just after graduation, Pasternak wrote the rest of the poems that composed his first complete book of poetry, Bliznets v tuchakh (1914, Twin in the Clouds). This collection of twenty-one poems reveals a voice of startling originality and, from the point of view of Pasternak’s poetic predecessors, some eccentricity. His verse mixes stylistic registers and introduces colloquialisms, dialect, rarely used words, technical words, and foreign words—even in rhyming position. Aspects of Pasternak’s mature style are evident in these poems, such as the notion of blending with the universe and the poet’s tendency to be hidden behind objects and events in the surrounding world.
In autumn 1913 Pasternak moved to modest lodgings in Moscow, away from his parents’ apartment. In January 1914 he, Bobrov, and Nikolai Nikolaevich Aseev formed a group called “Tsentrifuga” (Centrifuge). They announced to Lirika their break from them and became one of the Futurist alliances that rivaled the main Futurist group, the Cubo-Futurists, whose star poet was Vladimir Vladimirovich Maiakovsky. Tsentrifuga distinguished itself among Futurist groupings as the one whose poets most openly acknowledged their debts to literary tradition, both Russian and foreign. While the Cubo-Futurists issued a demand to cast out various poets from the “ship of modernity” in their famous manifesto, “Poshchechina obshchestvennomu vkusu” (A Slap in the Face of Public Taste), published in a miscellany of the same name in 1913, verses by Tsentrifuga poets featured prominent citations from the works of their literary ancestors. Valerii Iakovlevich Briusov noted this contrast in a 1914 article in Russkaia mysl’ (Russian Thought), in which he was the first to call them Futurists.
Futurist politics were highly fractious, and Bobrov was eager to involve Tsentrifuga in the fray. In March 1914 he founded the Tsentrifuga publishing house and immediately published his essay “Liricheskaia tema” (The Lyric Theme) as a pamphlet. In April he published the almanac Rukonog (Brachiopod, in Vladimir Markov’s translation), which included verse by Tsentrifuga and other poets. It also had three Futurist poems by Pasternak that never reappeared during his lifetime. More significant from the point of view of Futurist politics, however, was the publication in Rukonog of Pasternak’s only truly polemical article, “Vassermanova reaktsiia” (The Wasserman Test), in which he attacked various Futurist rivals. Pasternak was later embarrassed by the tone of his article and never republished it. Yet, as Fleishman has argued, this article is critical to an understanding of a key concept in Pasternak’s work, clarified by Jakobson in his groundbreaking 1935 study of Pasternak’s poetics, “Randbemerkungen zur Prosa des Dichters Pasternak” (Marginal Notes on the Prose of the Poet Pasternak, published in Slavische Rundschau). In “Vassermanova reaktsiia,” Pasternak criticizes the Futurist poet Vadim Shershenevich for using metaphors in his verse that are based on “sviaz’ po skhodstvu” (associative connection by similarity), while only “sviaz’ po smezhnosti” (connection by continguity) is justifiable as a true metaphor. Jakobson decoded Pasternak’s notion of “contiguity” as metonym and saw it as the defining trait of Pasternak’s poetic system, in which things are associated with each other, can replace one another, and the part can represent the whole. This trait, he argued, distinguishes Pasternak’s innovative poetics from that of the symbolists, whose primary literary device was metaphor. Thus, in his 1914 article Pasternak put forth a principle of fundamental importance to his work.
Rukonog also includes a Tsentrifuga “charter,” written by Bobrov, which called all Futurists—except Maiakovsky and Velimir Khlebnikov—mediocrities, traitors, and cowards. This denunciation prompted a meeting, and several poets, including Maiakovsky, convened at a café. What happened the next day, after the meeting, was a turning point in Pasternak’s career. By accident he met Maiakovsky at another café, and the Cubo-Futurist recited his long poem Vladimir Maiakovsky: Tragediia (1914, Vladimir Maiakovsky: A Tragedy) to Pasternak. After this episode Pasternak became an admirer of Maiakovsky and his work, and traces of Maiakovsky’s verse were evident in Pasternak’s poetry for at least the next five to ten years.
In the summer of 1914 Pasternak was invited to stay with the family of the poet Jurgis Baltrusaitis at their summer home and tutor their eleven-year-old son. Pasternak worked on a commission for Baltrusaitis—a translation of Heinrich von Kleist’s play Der zerbrochene Krug (1811, The Broken Pitcher). Pasternak was fond of Kleist and in 1911 had written a paper on him that remained unfinished and unpublished during Pasternak’s lifetime. He wrote another article on Kleist to accompany his translation of the play, but it has been lost. The play, which Pasternak translated as Razbityi kuvshin and which appeared in the journal Sovremennik (The Contemporary) in 1915, was not staged, however, because the Moscow Chamber Theater refused to put on a German play—a refusal stemming from the political climate of the time.
As the prospect of war loomed, the mood that summer was grim. In July 1914 Pasternak was called to the draft office, but he was deemed unsuitable for active duty because of his shortened leg, a result of his 1903 riding accident. He reacted to World War I by writing about the nightmares of war in poems such as “Durnoi son” (Bad Dream), “Artillerist stoit u kormila...” (The artillery man stands by the helm...), and “‘Osen.’ Otvykli of molnii...” (“Autumn.” Unaccustomed to lightning...), all of which were first collected in 1917 in Poverkh bar’erov; another poem, “Sochel’nik” (Christmas Eve), hints at war.
In the winter of 1914-1915 Pasternak met the five Siniakova sisters through Maiakovsky and Aseev, and he fell in love with Nadezhda Mikhailovna Siniakova. Nadezhda and her sisters had a reputation as bohemians; they had come from Khar’kov to Moscow in order to pursue careers in the arts, and several of them became romantically involved with Futurist poets. According to Pasternak’s commentators, many of his poems from the period from 1914 to 1916 reflect his relationship with Nadezhda Siniakova.
During that winter Pasternak wrote his first significant piece of prose fiction, a story titled “I1 tratto di Apelle” (The Apelles Mark, first published in znamia truda: Vremmenik [The Banner of Labor: Annals], 1918; published as “Apellesova cherta” in the book Vozdushnye puti [Aerial Ways], 1933). The name Apelles refers to a Greek painter who lived during the reign of Alexander the Great. In his commentary in volume four of the 1989-1992 Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works), Evgenii Pasternak explains that the cherta, or mark, of the title is a thin brush stroke left by Apelles as a sign of his mastery in an artistic rivalry. The story is about a fictional character named Heinrich Heine and his meeting with an Italian poet, Emilio Relinquimini (in Russian, Relinkvimini), whose name, with an added n (Relinquiminni), appeared in Pasternak’s early prose sketches. “Apellesova cherta,” a story that addresses romantic and artistic rivalry and revenge, has been interpreted by scholars as a reflection of Pasternak’s rivalrous relationship with Maiakovsky and his reckoning with the “Romantic manner,” which he wrote against in Okhrannaia gramota.
Scholars disagree about the identity of Pasternak’s character Heine–whether he meant to portray his version of the real Heine, or whether the name was merely an emblem for the great German writer. As Heine biographer Jeffrey L. Sammons has written, the actual Heine considered his body of work the swan song of Romanticism and himself both its final representative and murderer. Heine was therefore important to Pasternak as a model for coping with his own literary ancestors. As Fleishman asserts in Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics, however, this anti-Romantic polemic is not nearly as strong as it becomes in Pasternak’s later work. Fleishman sees the story in part as an examination of the tenuous line between art and reality. For Evgenii Pasternak, writing in Boris Pasternak: Materialy dlia biografii (1989, Boris Pasternak: Materials for Biography), “Apellesova cherta” represents Heine as both the ordinary and the immortal, reflected in the everyday world of the twentieth century.
In 1915 Pasternak moved in with the family of a German manufacturer, Moritz Philipp, in order to tutor their son. In Moscow on 28 May of that year, in an antiGerman pogrom, Pasternak’s books and papers were destroyed, and some of his manuscripts were lost. Also in 1915 he wrote a second theoretical article, “Chernyi bokal” (The Black Goblet), for Bobrov’s Vtoroi sbornik Tsentrifugi (Second Centrifuge Miscellany), published in 1916. The black goblet is the equivalent of the sign on cardboard boxes that reads, “this end up”-a call for caution with delicate materials. The essay is a call for art for art’s sake and opposes those who bring art down to the level of temporary squabbles, who use art for political purposes both grand and petty. Pasternak aims criticism at, among others, Futurists in love with contemporaneity and speed. He argues instead for a poetry of eternity.
In January 1916 Pasternak took an office job in a chemical factory in Vsevolodo-Vil’va, located in the Ural Mountains. According to Barnes in Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography (1989, 1998), the move was most likely an attempt to avoid the draft. Pasternak’s friend Konstantin Loks wrote that although Pasternak would not have been called up because of his disability, he mistakenly thought he might be, and he felt that work related to the war effort could delay or prevent conscription. Pasternak liked the change of scene, and impressions of his half year in the Urals appeared later in his writings. A brief trip to Ekaterinburg, for example, is reflected in the setting of his story “Detstvo Liuvers” (The Childhood of Liuvers, written between 1917 and 1918, published in 1922 in Nashi dni [Our Days]); other impressions appear in the parts of Doktor Zhivago that take place in the Urals. In this remote setting Pasternak began to miss music, and in February 1916, in a letter to his parents, he asked them to send sheet music. He settled down to write full-time in March but produced little. His efforts included several stunning landscape poems and an article on William Shakespeare, the manuscript of which has been lost. Pasternak returned to Moscow in June 1916 and began to gather poems written within the last two years for his next book of verse, Poverkh bar’erov. These poems show the influence of Maiakovsky and of Futurist poetics. Poverkh bar’erov received much more favorable critical attention than had his first book of verse. Most important to Pasternak, his father liked it; previously, Leonid Pasternak had expressed disapproval of his son’s career choice and early writing efforts.
In October, Pasternak left Moscow again to take a job similar to the one in Vsevolodo-Vil’va. He traveled to a place called Tikhie gory (Quiet Mountains), on the river Kama, west of the Urals, and worked there in a chemical plant at a job arranged for him by an acquaintance he had met in the Urals, a biochemist named Boris II’ich Zbarsky, who became a socialist revolutionary. Pasternak’s job involved saving from conscription local workers whose civilian work was necessary for the war effort. In December 1916 he himself was permanently released from military service. That fall he worked on translations of verse and of a play, Chastelard (1865), by A. C. Swinburne; however, he did not complete the project. During his stay in Tikhie gory, Pasternak also wrote several poems that appeared in his collection Temy i variatsii (1923, Themes and Variations), and fragments of longer poems titled “Gorod” (The City, published with the subtitle “Otryuki tselogo” [Excerpts], 1920) and “Nabroski: Fantaziia o bizhnem” (1965, Sketches: Fantasy about Someone Close). These long poems were never completed. In addition, he wrote an ecstatic review of Maiakovsky’s poetry collection Prostoe kak mychanie (1916, Simple as Mooing), as well as a review of Aseev’s Oksana (1916).
In the winter of 1916 Pasternak wrote (but did not finish) a story that recalled aspects of his life in Berlin ten years earlier, such as the romantic flights of fancy and horror in the tales he had read there and his experiences listening to organ music, a sound unfamiliar to most Russians. In “Istoriia odnoi kontroktavy” (translated as “Suboctave Story,” 1986), a peculiar Gothic piece that was not published in Pasternak’s lifetime, an organist inadvertently murders his small son. The boy crawls inside the instrument and quickly gets entangled in its workings; he dies as his father, absorbed in the music, plays the organ, not realizing until too late what has happened. The narrator expresses sympathy for the father, an artist in a provincial town of philistines who reject him as a murderer and pariah. Later, Pasternak was so ashamed of the story that he tried to burn it. His son saved the manuscript, however, and published it in Israel in 1977, many years after Pasternak died, in the journal Slavica Hierosolymitana.
Pasternak went back to Moscow in March 1917 as soon as he learned about the February uprising. Liberal reactions—including those of the Pasternak family—to the February Revolution were highly positive. The ecstatic reception of the first revolution and Pasternak’s new romantic relationship with Elena Vinograd are reflected in his third book of verse, Sestra moia zhizn’ (1922; translated as My Sister Life and Other Poems, 1976). He had met Vinograd, the cousin of his close friend Shura Shtikh, in 1909. She was engaged to another acquaintance, Sergei Listopad (the son of philosopher Lev Shestov), who was killed in action. After Listopad’s death, a romance began between Pasternak and Vinograd.
Sestra moia zhizn’ is Pasternak’s most cohesive book of poetry and, by many accounts, his most successful. It consists of fifty poems divided into titled cycles, or chapters, of two to six poems each. The book describes his romance with Vinograd in Moscow, his visit to her in Saratov province, urban and rural landscapes in the spring and summer, and Moscow street demonstrations in favor of the regime led by Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky; the verses in this collection also examine the nature of poetry and the creative process. Sestra moia zhizn’ was not published until 1922—primarily because of printing and other logistical difficulties stemming from the Russian Civil War. Reactions to the book were swift and ecstatic: it firmly established Pasternak’s career. Yet, writers with more conservative tastes, such as the émigre poet Vladislav Khodasevich and the émigré critic Vladimir Weidlé, disliked its modernist complexity, which they perceived as shallow mannerism. In addition, Communist critics in 1922 and afterward wrote disparagingly of Pasternak’s apparent lack of political engagement in his work.
Pasternak conveyed the political situation of these years in an unfinished verse drama on which he worked in the summer of 1917. “Dramaticheskie otryvki” (Dramatic Fragments), published in Znamia truda in 1918, juxtaposes the revolutionary views of Maximilien Robespierre and the philosophical musings of Louis de Saint-Just, who sees revolution as a creative act of self-sacrifice. It is also a battle of reason and emotion. The reader can see Pasternak siding with Saint-Just and recoiling at the cold calculations of Robespierre. Barnes notes the importance of this unfinished work as a precursor of the political arguments in Doktor Zhivago.
During the years 1917 to 1921 Pasternak was busy writing poems (for his fourth book of verse, Temy i variatsii) and short prose works, some of which rank among his best. In the autumn of 1917 he wrote the story “Detstvo Liuvers,” about a girl’s coming of age (Liuvers is the Russian rendering of the French and English word “louvers,” referring to a type of window blind). Angela Livingstone writes in Boris Pasternak: Dok-tor Zhivago (1989) that this story is “generally regarded as Pasternak’s prose masterpiece.” It stands out because of the clarity of its language, vision, and moral message; its perceptiveness in the psychological portrayal of a sensitive girl on the edge of womanhood; and its modernist statements about the relationship of the word and the thing. The heroine, who has the androgynous name Zhenia Liuvers, matures in three different ways: intellectually, by matching things with their names; physically, when she experiences her first menstrual period; and emotionally, by becoming aware of the fates of other people—ranging from her mother, who miscarried after witnessing an accident, to a stranger who was killed in that accident. Zhenia has many traits in common with Pasternak’s sensitive male writer-heroes. In both verse and correspondence he wrote of his sympathy with “women’s lot,” and this story, which takes place in an overwhelmingly female world, is one of his most eloquent expressions of such empathy. The story continues the tradition of Russian narratives about childhood (by Tolstoy, for example) yet departs from it in its modernist sensibilities. “Detstvo Liuvers” is written in a language unusually clear for early Pasternak. It was well received by writers such as Iurii Nikolaevich Tynianov and Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin.
In his story “Pis’ma iz Tuly” (Letters from Tula, written in 1918, published in 1922 in Shipovnik [Wild Rose]), Pasternak explores the contrast between true art and imitation, or falsehood, through the letters of a poet who observes actors playing falsely in art and life. The poet-narrator realizes the moral significance of art and his obligation to be truthful to it and thus to himself. The same thing happens in the second part of the story to an old actor who goes through his gestures, replaying an episode from his past, and realizes that he is only the medium for a higher force. Written in both epistolary and diary form, “Pis’ma iz Tuly” expresses Pasternak’s views on inspiration: the writer plays a passive role and must therefore be receptive.
Another 1918 story, “Bezliub’e” (Lovelessness), originally a chapter from an unfinished novella and first published in the journal Znamia truda, is based on Pasternak’s return from the Urals to Moscow in 1917, during which, at one point, he took a long sleigh ride to the train station in Kazan’ together with socialist revolutionary Zbarsky. The story centers on the dedication of a man for whom the dream of revolution is dearer than his life. The revolutionary and his traveling companion are reflections of Zbarsky and Pasternak himself; as Barnes points out in the translated collection The Voice of Prose (1986), the characters serve as prototypes for the opposition of Antipov and Zhivago in the novel.
During this period Pasternak drafted one of his most quoted essays on art, “Neskol’ko polozhenii” (Several Propositions), written in December 1918 and revised in 1922, the same year it was published in Sovremennik. In this essay he makes explicit his notion of the passive artist: art is a “sponge,” not a “fountain”; a book is unaware of anything outside of itself. Pasternak compares the oblivion of art to a mating grouse, which is aware only of its need to reproduce and therefore to sing. He also writes on the role of conscience in art and of the unity of art across the ages. Proud of “Neskol’ko polozhenii,” Pasternak had intended to make it the first in a collection of art essays, titled “Quinta essentia” (Fifth Essence), but this piece was the only one he finished.
The years from 1918 to 1921 were extremely difficult for all Russians. Muscovites, including Pasternak, suffered many privations. Temy i variatsii, his next book of verse, includes poems that portray the difficulties, illnesses, and fears of this period. Evgenii Pasternak views Sestra moia zhizn’ and Temy i variatsii as opposite sides of the same coin. If in the former, he asserts (in Boris Pasternak: Materialy dlia biografii), nature imagery is full of life, in the latter it is often rendered artificial or mechanical through settings such as a pleasure garden, or through metaphors such as a watch. One of the illnesses in this book is the revolution; the illness from which the poet suffers, as described in the cycle “Boleza’,” is blended metonymically with that of the post-October regime in verse so difficult that the censors bypassed such references. In these years financial difficulties and the virtual impossibility of publishing creative work also forced Pasternak to turn to translation assignments for income; translation work supported him for the rest of his life.
Pasternak’s parents and sisters left for Berlin in 1921, after the civil war had ended. Pasternak and his brother, Aleksandr, decided to stay and remained in two of the family’s rooms in the apartment on Volkhonka; they gave the other rooms to acquaintances, rather than wait for them to be occupied by strangers during this era of communalization. That year Pasternak met Evgeniia (Zhenia) Vladimirovna Lur’e, who became his first wife; she had moved to Moscow from Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) to study art and establish her career. They were married in Petrograd in February 1922.
In 1922 Pasternak made two significant acquaintances: he met fellow poets Osip Emil’evich Mandel’shtam and Tsvetaeva. Mandel’shtam, a Petersburg poet, had moved to Moscow that year. Their acquaintance grew into a distant friendship, one based on mutual respect combined with an awareness of their strong personal and artistic differences. They continued to meet and correspond until Mandel’shtam was exiled to Voronezh in 1934. In 1922 Pasternak also received a copy of Tsvetaeva’s collection Versty: Stikhi (1921, Mileposts: Poems) and was in awe of it. He and Tsvetaeva had met before only in passing. He wrote her to praise her work, but by this time she had left Moscow for Berlin. Soon afterward she read Sestra moia zhizn’ and wrote the essay “Svetovoi liven” (A Downpour of Light, published in 1922 in the journal Epopeiia [Epos]), a work of art in its own right. Pasternak and Tsvetaeva struck up a correspondence.
In August 1922 Pasternak and his wife left for Berlin. Pasternak took his manuscript for Temy i variatsii to Berlin, intending to publish it there; it came out, published by Gelikon, at the beginning of 1923. At this time Berlin was a center of Russian culture abroad, almost as vital as Paris. Many Russian writers lived in Berlin, and despite the shock of seeing its postwar conditions, the stay there was pleasant for Pasternak. He and his wife planned to stay for a year but left for Russia early, in March 1923, because of her pregnancy. Their son, Evgenii Pasternak, was born in Moscow that September.
In 1924 Pasternak again turned to short prose fiction with his story “Vozdushnye puti” (published the same year in Russkii sovremennik [The Russian Contemporary]). As Larissa Rudova indicates in Understanding Boris Pasternak (1997), this story anticipates Doktor Zhivago, particularly in the way the 1917 Revolution is treated in the plot of the novel. Writing in The Voice of Prose, Barnes notes that in “Vozdushnye puti” Pasternak applies a greater harshness to his depiction of the Bolshevik era. The love triangle in the story also resembles the one in Doktor Zhivago, although the gender roles are the opposite of those in Pasternak’s novel. In this twopart story a woman’s son is kidnapped. The heroine, Lelia, persuades her lover, Polivanov, that the child is his, and both he and her husband search for the boy, who is found. In the second part the boy, now grown, has been arrested by the Bolsheviks. Once again Lelia appeals to Polivanov, now a Red Army officer, to save him. But the appeal comes too late: her son has already been executed. The prose in this story is much more complex and elliptical than that of “Detstvo Liuvers” or “Pis’ma iz Tuly.” As in a later story, “Povest” (A Tale, first published in full in Novyi mir [The New World], 1929), the plot of “Vozdushnye puti” is difficult to follow, and the style is reminiscent of Pasternak’s verse technique. The story shows his growing interest in the fate of the individual in history. According to Evgenii Pasternak in Boris Pasternak: Materialy dlia biografii, the original draft, which was longer, has been lost. Pasternak was asked to shorten the story for publication, and Barnes notes in his biography of the poet that it was also cut by censors.
Pasternak continued to write verse in the 1920s, though not at nearly the same rate as in the 1910s. He wrote some landscape poems, as well as verse dedicated to Tsvetaeva and Anna Andreevna Akhmatova. Mainly, however, his verse in the 1920s turned toward epic forms. In 1923 he wrote his first major long poem, “Vysokaia bolezn’” (Lofty Malady, first variant published in 1924 in the journal LEF), about the linked illnesses of revolution and art. In this dark era writers such as Pasternak and Mandel’shtam could see that their age was over, and Pasternak writes in “Vysokaia bolezn” of artists, including himself, depicting their own demise. He revised the poem substantially and published it anew in 1928 in the journal Novyi mir: there he describes Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, without naming him, in a manner that is at once ecstatic and frightening. A second epic poem of the 1920s is “Deviat’sot piatyi god,” about his experiences as a teenager witnessing the 1905 Revolution. This work is not merely a memoir, however. In order to re-create the spirit of the events that occurred in 1905, Pasternak researched materials from the era, and the poem is written in a style reminiscent of a documentary.
During this time, after a lapse of several years, Pasternak resumed his correspondence with Tsvetaeva. In late March 1926 he read in manuscript form her new “Poema kontsa” (Poem of the End), published that year in the miscellany Kovcheg (The Ark). On the same day that he received Tsvetaeva’s poem, a letter from his father came, in which he wrote that Rilke had read and liked Pasternak’s work. Pasternak wrote Rilke a letter thanking him and expressing his debt to the poet’s own work. He asked Rilke to send a copy of his Duineser Elegien (1923, Duino Elegies) to Tsvetaeva, whose work Pasternak praised. Rilke did so, and a three-way correspondence among the poets developed. This exchange is one of the most extraordinary epistolary events in twentieth-century Russian literature. It provides a rich source of information on the poets’ thoughts about art, their own and others’ work, and the essence of creativity and its sources. It also reveals significant biographical information about Pasternak and Tsvetaeva. The extraordinary three-way correspondence was in part romantic: Pasternak and Tsvetaeva exchanged what could be considered love letters, and Tsvetaeva’s letters to the already ailing Rilke were also passionate. After a period of intense correspondence, by September 1926 the writers had fallen into an awkward silence, and Pasternak and Tsvetaeva resumed writing to each other only after Rilke’s death at the end of that year. Pasternak’s and Tsvetaeva’s letters from 1926 to 1928 include discussions of plans for him to visit her or even to join her in emigration, although the plans never came to fruition for various reasons, both personal and professional. The two poets continued to exchange letters, with decreasing intensity after 1928, until 1935.
In the summer of 1926 Pasternak’s wife and son went to visit his family in Germany; Evgeniia Pasternak also hoped to be cured of the tuberculosis she had contracted during the Russian Civil War. Their marriage, a stressful relationship between two artists, had been strained further by his correspondence with Tsvetaeva. Evgeniia Pasternak returned to Moscow with their son in October 1926, and the family resumed living together in their cramped quarters at the Volkhonka apartment.
Pasternak’s next epic poem, “Leitenant Shmidt” (1927, Lieutenant Schmidt), recounts another event of 1905: a naval mutiny against the tsarist officer of a ship, led by the lieutenant of the title, who was tried and executed. Pasternak conducted research on this incident, quoting extensively from some of the documents. Schmidt, like Pasternak’s other revolutionary heroes, is of a philosophical turn of mind, and, in Christ-like fashion (expressed through a biblical quotation), he is prepared to sacrifice himself for the sake of his fellow men and a higher cause. Pasternak dedicated the work to Tsvetaeva; he wrote the dedication in verse, with her name in an acrostic. Yet, she was disappointed in the weakness of the protagonist. Once he learned of her low opinion of the poem, he asked to have the dedication removed. Furthermore, the acrostic had put him in political trouble, since the mention of Tsvetaeva’s name was no longer permitted in Soviet publications.
Pasternak wrote a novel in verse, Spektorsky, between 1925 and 1931. It was published serially in various journals (Krug [The Circle], Kovsh [The Ladle], Krasnaia nov’ [Red Virgin Soil], and Novyi mir) from 1925 to 1930 and subsequently came out in a separate edition in 1931. Spektorsky is closely related to his fragmentary poem “Dvadtsat’ strof s predisloviem” (Twenty Stanzas with an Introduction, written in 1925, published in 1928), from which it developed, and to his unfinished work in prose “Tri glavy iz povesti” (1922, Three Chapters from a Story) and “Povest’.” The action of “Povest’” takes place during the gap of time left in Spektorsky; thus, the two works can be considered interlocking. All three works have autobiographical elements. The title character of Spektorsky is a Moscow intellectual, someone who would have been Pasternak’s contemporary. The protagonist feels isolated in a changing world and in his romantic pursuits, including an affair with another character, Maria Il’ina-among whose prototypes, as Pasternak himself acknowledged, was Tsvetaeva. The poet recognized herself and certain settings in the story. As Fleishman notes in Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics, the work emerges in frag- mentary fashion; the plotline and the characterization of the hero are only vaguely defined.
The plot of Pasternak’s 1929 story “Povest’” is also vague. Its hero has the same name, Spektorsky. “Povest” tells the story of a young writer who has romantic liaisons with two utterly different women: a Danish woman residing as a companion in the household where he works as a tutor, and a prostitute named Sashka. His opposite, or foil, is a man of the new age named Lemokh. During the course of “Povest” the protagonist works on his own story, which concerns an artistic hero named Y3 (Igrek Tretii) who sells himself to the highest bidder in order to support the women, both enslaved in different ways. Here again Pasternak writes of the opposition between intellectual and revolutionary, developing a theme that became increasingly important to him-artistic martyrdom. This theme had appeared in earlier works, such as in Temy i variatsii, and it became more pronounced and persistent through the years.
At this time, with the writing of Okhrannaia gramota, which he had begun in 1927, Pasternak moved from the implicitly autobiographical to the explicitly autobiographical. In this long essay he formulates his professional coming-of-age in terms of his meetings with three mentors: first with Skriabin (music), then with Cohen (philosophy), and finally with Maiakovsky (literature). His 1900 meeting with Rilke, to whose memory he dedicated the work, serves as an introduction. As Evgenii Pasternak and his wife, Elena Vladimirovna Pasternak, note in the 1989-1992 Sobranie sochinenii, Pasternak had begun Okhrannaia gramota with the intention, conceived before Rilke’s death in 1926, of writing an article about Rilke and had conducted research about the poet’s life. Rilke’s death changed the focus of Okhrannaia gramota, but his work remained the original inspiration.
Although Okhrannaia gramota cannot be treated literally as an autobiography, it provides a path toward an understanding of Pasternak’s emergence as a poet. He wrote it at the midpoint of his career-a time when, under tremendous societal pressure and internal strain, he was reassessing his work. From this work forward he declared open war on what he idiosyncratically labeled the “romantic manner.” He explains this stance in Okhrannaia gramota as “the treatment of one’s life as the life of a poet.” He means, among other things, the self-consciousness and hyperbole of his own age, which includes his symbolist predecessors and his Futurist contemporaries. Pasternak had fought for years against Maiakovsky’s influence in his work, and his personal relations with Maiakovsky soured throughout the 1920s, as the Cubo-Futurist had become the poet of the October Revolution. Like the revolutionary Antipov in Doktor Zhivago, Maiakovsky became a victim of crushed ideals. He realized by the late 1920s that he was falling out of step with the course of Soviet history, which caused him great despair. More personal issues led him to commit suicide in 1930.
Pasternak’s critical reassessment of his writings prompted him in 1928, while working on Okhrannaia gramota, to revise many of the poems from his first two books, Bliznets v tuchakh and Poverkh bar’erov. He tried to rid them of “romantic” elements, including foreign words, openly autobiographical references, and hyperbolic intonation. Elena Pasternak argues in a 1970 contribution to Russkoe i zarubezhnoe iazykoznanie(Russian and Foreign Linguistics) that the poet sought to clarify his work with these 1928 revisions. Fleishman contends in Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody (1981, Boris Pasternak in the 1920s), however, that Pasternak often made his poems more obscure. Both assessments are correct, if one looks at the revisions from different points of view. Pasternak does make his verse obscure or vague by omitting associative links, references to the lyrical “I,” and other elements that might help the reader trace a line of thought; through opacity he distances himself from the reader. On the other hand, he saw the revisions as a clarification of his aesthetics, and from this point of view they accomplish the task of erasing the poetic “I,” which he saw as a sign of the “romantic manner.”
In 1930 Pasternak’s personal life underwent a significant change. That summer his family rented a dacha close to those of his brother and sister-in-law and two couples who were family friends. One of these friends was the pianist Genrikh Gustavovich Neigauz and his wife, Zinaida Neigauz. Pasternak fell in love with Zinaida Neigauz, and that autumn in Moscow he confessed his love to her, her husband, and Evgeniia Pasternak. He and Neigauz remained friends, but the marriages of both men broke up in 1931. In February 1931 Pasternak separated from his wife, and in May he saw her and their son off to Germany, where his relatives took care of her. Later that month he traveled with a brigade of writers to the Urals for about two weeks on an assignment to visit industrial sites, but he left before the end of the project and returned to Moscow in early June. In July he traveled to Georgia with Zinaida Neigauz. Evgeniia Pasternak returned with their son to Moscow at the end of 1931. Professional prospects in 1930s Germany were grim; she was in tight financial straits. Around this time Pasternak married Zinaida Neigauz, and in the spring of 1932, according to Evgenii Pasternak in Boris Pasternak: Materialy dlia biografii, he settled with her in a cramped apartment (then called the Herzen House, now known as the Literary Institute) located on Tverskoi Boulevard. In September 1932 Evgeniia Pasternak agreed to switch apartments, and Pasternak, his new wife, and her children moved into the rooms on Volkhonka.
Pasternak’s next major book of verse, his fifth to be published, reflected both personal and aesthetic changes. Vtoroe rozhdenie (Second Birth) was written between 1930 and 1932 and appeared as a book in 1932. In it he expresses his desire to re-create himself as a poet and simplify his work so that all his readers would be able to understand it. These poems are clearer in meaning than both his earlier poems and the 1928 revisions of his youthful verse. Yet, much in these poems remains obscure, though not to the extent of the riddles posed in his earlier work.
After this book Pasternak’s poetic output declined sharply. The release of Vtoroe rozhdenie coincided with the formation of the Union of Soviet Writers (Writers’ Union), a development that, as Fleishman notes in Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics, Pasternak did not celebrate with his colleagues. During the 1930s and in subsequent decades, he earned his living through translations. He turned his attention first to the work of Georgian poets, including his friends Titsian Tabidze and Paolo Yashvili. The translation of these poets’ work was politically savvy on Pasternak’s part; to the Russian public he was bringing poetry from the homeland of Joseph Stalin, the current Communist leader, and he had to translate odes to Stalin by Yashvili and Nikoloz Mitsishvili in order to defend them from political criticism. His efforts on their behalf were in vain: they eventually perished in the Stalinist purges. The project also came from his sincere love of Georgia, its poets, and their verse. Pasternak made one more trip to Georgia in connection with his translations. He did not speak or read Georgian but worked with interlinear translations; in what is a fairly common practice in Russian poetic translating, Pasternak worked from a literal Russian translation (done by someone else) of the Georgian verses and turned them into poetic Russian. In 1935 Poety Gruzii (Poets of Georgia), translated into Russian by Pasternak and Nikolai Semenovich Tikhonov, was published. Their renderings of Georgian poetry received positive critical attention.
In May 1934 Mandel’shtam was arrested for composing an anti-Stalinist poem, which he had recited to some trusted acquaintances, including Pasternak. After hearing the poem from Mandel’shtam in the autumn of 1933, Pasternak told him that the poem did not consist of literary fact but was a suicidal act—that he would pretend he had not heard it and that Mandel’shtam should never recite it to anyone else. After Mandel’shtam’s arrest, at the request of his wife, Nadezhda Iakovlevna Mandel’shtam, Pasternak contacted the editor of the newspaper Izvestiia (News) and Politburo member Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, who had some influence with the regime. Mandel’shtam’s sentence was commuted to an exile of three years, first in the provincial town of Cherdyn’ and then in the larger city of Voronezh. Before the second decision to exile the poet in Voronezh, however, Stalin called Pasternak. As Evgenii Pasternak relates in Boris Pasternak: Materialy dlia biografii, the leader assured Pasternak that Mandel’shtam would be all right and then asked Pasternak for his assurances that Mandel’shtam was a “master” of his art; Pasternak replied that the caliber of Mandel’shtam as an artist was not the point and that he would like to talk to Stalin further about life and death. Stalin hung up.
The first Soviet Writers’ Congress took place two months after Stalin’s call to Pasternak, in August 1934, and Maiakovsky’s and Pasternak’s differing roles as literary models, positive or negative, were the subject of debate in speeches by various speakers, including Bukharin, Maksim Gor’ky, and Aleksei Aleksandrovich Surkov. The role of “premier Soviet poet” was bestowed posthumously on Maiakovsky the following year. Fleishman notes in his 1990 biography of the poet that for a few months after the Writers’ Congress, Pasternak was optimistic with regard to the state and his position in the Soviet Union. This mood changed, however, with the assassination on 1 December 1934 of Leningrad party chief Sergey Mironovich Kirov; this event signaled the beginning of the Stalinist terror, which peaked between 1935 and 1937. Writers had already been arrested, but the wave of arrests during the next several years frightened them into silence. By 1935 Pasternak was ill with depression and insomnia.
That year he was sent to Paris to attend the Congress of Writers in Defense of Culture as one of the leading Russian authors. The conference featured writers from all over the world who came to speak out against fascism and for peace. Although Pasternak was ill, he was forced to go, together with the writer Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel, because their Parisian hosts insisted on their presence and that of some other liberal writers. He and Tsvetaeva met briefly in what she called, in a 1935 letter to Anna Tesková, a “non-meeting.” By this time she was considering a return to the Soviet Union, although Pasternak tried to dissuade her by hinting at the current situation there. This trip was Pasternak’s last one abroad. While he was able to visit his sister Zhozefina and her husband briefly as he went through Berlin, he could not visit his parents in Munich during the journey, and he never saw them again. Leonid and Rozaliia Pasternak contemplated going back to Russia when, by 1936, the situation in Germany had become increasingly tense for Jews; they did not entirely understand Pasternak’s coded attempts in his letters to prevent them from returning. In 1938 they resettled in Oxford, England, where his sister Lidiia and her husband were living. Rozaliia Pasternak died there in 1939, and Leonid Pasternak died in 1945.
Somewhat recovered from his illness and feeling optimistic because of a general sense that liberalization was on the threshold (an incorrect feeling, as Fleishman indicates in Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics), Pasternak wrote two pro-Stalin verses at the end of 1935, published in Izvestiia on 1 January 1936: “Ia ponial-vse zhivo... “(I understand-everything is alive...) and “Mne po dushe stroptivyi norov...” (I like the stubborn character...). They are the first poems he had written since the appearance of Vtoroe rozhdenie and reflect his attempts at greater clarity and simplicity. Pasternak acknowledged that he wrote the poems at Bukharin’s suggestion and as part of a sincere attempt to live with the times. The optimism of the period ended a few weeks later with the initiation of the antiformalism campaign, which started with an attack on the composer Dmitrii Dmitrievich Shostakovich. Although Pasternak included the latter poem in his cycle “Khudozhnik” (The Artist, published in Na rannikh poezdakh [On Early Trains], 1943), the former was never reprinted during his lifetime.
During this dark era, in which friends and colleagues of Pasternak were arrested and killed, he began work on what became his novel Doktor Zhivago. The exact year in which Pasternak started writing Doktor Zhivago is difficult to establish. Barnes gives the year 1932 (in Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography), while Fleishman indicates that work began in the 1920s (in Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics). Yet, Evgenii Pasternak and V. M. Borisov, who produced commentary about the novel for the 1989-1992 edition of Pasternak’s collected works, estimate that Doktor Zhivago was started in the winter of 1917-1918, after the completion of Sestra moia zhizn’. According to their report, Pasternak responded in a 1919 questionnaire that he was working on a novel. In essence, works from the 1920s contributed to the novel; he began pieces such as “Detstvo Liuvers” as drafts to a larger work, and themes from much of his prose and verse from that decade appear in the novel. The novel was drafted at first in fragments-“notes” in which the characters were first forming and had names that were changed later; the first coherent set of notes, provisionally titled “Zapiski Patrika” (Patrick’s Notes), date from 1936.
Despite the grim atmosphere of the antiformalism campaign and its aftermath, Pasternak wrote a few poems in the winter of 1936, followed in the summer by a dozen that he dedicated to his friends in Georgia. He wrote them at a dacha in the newly built writers’ colony of Peredelkino, outside Moscow and reachable by commuter train. (He and his family moved to another dacha there in 1939, and Peredelkino became his main residence for the rest of his life.) This cycle of poems, titled “Iz letnikh zapisok” (From Summer Notes), was published in the October 1936 issue of Novyi mir. It reflects his new style and his desire to become a part of the world around him. Continuing a theme from Vtoroe rozhdenie-but with less of a sense of regret-the cycle shows an effort to depart from his tortured intellectual heroes. After the publication of “Iz letnikh zapisok,” Pasternak wrote no verse for four years.
At midnight on 31 December 1936, on the verge of a terrible year, Pasternak’s son with Zinaida Pasternak was born and named Leonid, after Pasternak’s father. In 1937 the Pasternaks moved to a new apartment on Lavrushinsky pereulok. That year his closest Georgian friends, Tabidze and Yashvili, were victims of the terror; the former died in prison, and the latter committed suicide. On 31 December 1937 the first excerpts from Pasternak’s nascent novel were published in Literaturnaia gazeta (The Literary Gazette).
In early 1939 Pasternak began to translate the dramas of Shakespeare, beginning with Hamlet (1604), which he completed at the end of that year. Pasternak’s translations of Shakespeare’s dramas are rendered in contemporary Russian in a style that reflects his classical restraint, begun in the 1930s, but clearly in his own manner. He also translated some of Shakespeare’s sonnets; his rendering of Sonnet 66 was published together with his translation of Hamlet in the journal Molodaia gvardiia (Young Guard) in 1940. The translation of Hamlet appeared as a book in 1941. Pasternak continued to work on Shakespeare translations during the 1940s. His Izbrannye perevody (Selected Translations) appeared in 1940, and he gave public readings of his translations. Fleishman notes in his 1990 biography that such public contact inspired Pasternak, and he returned to writing poetry in the summer of 1940. He produced verse that was increasingly clear, with shorter lines and simpler metaphors and similes. The themes remained much the same as in his earlier work-nature, love, and art. Yet, his later verse possesses a calm reserve generally absent from his exuberant youthful work.
Tsvetaeva returned to Moscow in 1939, and Pasternak helped her find translation work. The German assault on the Soviet Union began in June 1941. Pasternak spent the beginning of the war in Moscow, even serving guard duty on the roof of his apartment building, while his wife and son Leonid were evacuated to the writers’ colony in Chistopol’, in the Tatar Republic. Tsvetaeva also departed for Chistopol’, against Pasternak’s advice, and settled in the nearby town of Elabuga. There she was unable to find work as a writer or translator. On 31 August 1941 Tsvetaeva committed suicide. Pasternak, still in Moscow, found out about her death in early September. In October he left for Chistopol’ to join his family, and in the winter of 1941-1942 he translated Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1599). In 1943, after his return to Moscow, he wrote ’Pamiati Mariny Tsvetaevoi’ (In Memory of Marina Tsvetaeva). Although he recited this poem in public at Moscow State University in 1946, it was not published until 1965, five years after his death.
In 1943 Pasternak published Na rannikh poezdakh. It consisted of the cycles “Voennye mesiatsy” (War Months), “Khudozhnik,” “Putevye zapiski” (Travel Notes), and “Peredelkino.” Barnes notes in Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography that Pasternak was not proud of the book, which was of poor print quality; he had simply pulled together poems already published elsewhere. Pasternak was proud of the cycle “Khudozhnik,” however, and the collection as a whole provides a general picture of his thoughts on nature, art, and war.
Throughout the 1940s Pasternak wrote essays on great artists and on his translations. These articles clarify aspects of his thought expressed in more obscure form in his earlier verse and prose, but they must be interpreted cautiously; his views on his work had changed by this time. “Zametki perevodchika” (Notes of a Translator, written in 1943, published in 1944 in znamia [The Banner]) and “Zametki k perevodam iz Shekspira” (Notes on Shakespeare Translations, written between 1946 and 1956, published in 1956 in the miscellany Literaturnaia Moskva [Literary Moscow]) provide important explanations of his approach to translation, in light of his tendency to depart from the original in order to convey what he considered its essence. Most significant among his articles on artists is his essay on Frédéric Chopin, simply titled “Chopin” (published in 1945 in abridged form in the journal Leningrad; published in 1965 in full in the newspaper Literaturnaia Rossiia), in which he defines realism in an idiosyncratic way: in essence, Pasternak labels “realist” the art of any epoch that he values highly, including the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and of Chopin. Romantic art, according to his measure, is second-rate and marked by falsehood, excess, or pretentiousness. These arguments continue his earlier thoughts against the “romantic manner” but do not concern traditional definitions of Romanticism.
The year 1946 was important in Pasternak’s literary biography for two reasons: he was able to devote himself more fully to writing Doktor Zhivago, and he met 01’ga Vsevolodovna Ivinskaia at the offices of the journal Novyi mir, where she was an assistant to editor in chief Konstantin Mikhailovich Simonov. In 1947 Pasternak and Ivinskaia began an affair that lasted until his death; their only extended time apart was between 1949 and 1954, when she was imprisoned in a Soviet labour camp. She was one of the prototypes-the other was Zinaida Pasternak-for the heroine Lara in Doktor Zhivago. Starting in 1956, Ivinskaia also played intermediary between Pasternak and the Moscow publication world; her errands on his behalf allowed him to stay in Peredelkino and concentrate on his work.
Doktor Zhivago, on which Pasternak concentrated his efforts from 1946 to 1955, continues many of the themes he had been developing since his earliest prose sketches: the fate of a Russian intellectual in a changing world; the passive nature of the artist in his relations with others and in the face of events beyond his control; the relationship of art to history; and the connection between death and birth, particularly the concept of rebirth through art. Doktor Zhivago traces the life of Iurii Andreevich Zhivago, the orphaned son of a dissolute millionaire who has committed suicide. The opening scene is set during the funeral of Zhivago’s mother, who has died of tuberculosis. His mother’s brother, Nikolai Vedeniapin, takes him under his wing; when the uncle departs for Switzerland, he leaves the boy in the care of relatives, the Gromekos, a family of Moscow intellectuals. Brought up by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Gromeko and his wife, Zhivago falls in love with and marries their daughter, Antonina (Tonia). He studies medicine and specializes in diseases of the eye. During World War I, Zhivago is drafted as an army doctor and goes to the front. When he returns to Moscow, his frightened young son slaps him in the face, an act Zhivago takes to be an ill omen. During the Russian Civil War, he, Tonia, and their son leave for the Urals in order to live off the land at the former estate of her mother’s family, the Kruegers. Zhivago’s mysterious and powerful half brother Evgraf, who comes to Moscow from his native Omsk and visits the young family, has advised them to move there. According to Livingstone in Boris Pasternak: Doktor Zhivago, Evgraf is Zhivago’s deus ex machina.
Parallel to Zhivago’s story is that of Lara, the daughter of an impoverished French widow who runs a sewing shop. She grows up in working-class Moscow. So does her future husband, Antipov, whose worker father was exiled for organizing a railway laborers’ strike. Lara is seduced at the age of sixteen by her mother’s paramour, a wealthy lawyer named Viktor Ippolitovich Komarovsky. She finds herself both attracted and repelled by his attention. In a fit of despair, determined to break off their relationship, Lara sneaks into a Christmas party that Komarovsky is attending and shoots him. Although her shot misses Komarovsky and he is not hurt, afterward he keeps his distance from her for fear of scandal. Eventually, she marries Antipov, and they set off to teach in the Urals town of Iuriatin, her birthplace. Their marriage becomes strained when she tells him of her past liaison with Komarovsky. Unable to bear the shadow of Lara’s past and his own feelings of inadequacy, Antipov volunteers for the front, leaving her and their daughter, Katia.
Zhivago and Lara are brought together three times before their affair begins. He first sees her when Lara’s mother attempts suicide out of a suspicion that Komarovsky is attracted to her daughter. Because of the attempted suicide, a neighbor is summoned while giving a concert, attended by Gromeko, Tonia, Zhivago, and a friend. Gromeko accompanies the neighbor to Lara’s home. The young Zhivago goes along and sees both the sordid situation and the exchange of glances between Komarovsky and a schoolgirl who seems older than her years. The second meeting occurs at the Christmas party where Lara attempts to shoot Komarovsky; Zhivago and Tonia are among the attendees. (Before the shooting, on the way to the party Zhivago had passed the window of Antipov’s room at the moment when he and Lara were deciding to marry; Zhivago saw the candle in the window and began to write a poem about it.) At the third meeting Lara and Zhivago are together for a longer period. Lara is a nurse on the front; she has volunteered for such work in order to find Antipov. Zhivago, now an army doctor, and Lara, known as Nurse Antipova, strike up a friendship. While on the front they begin to sense that something more than friendship is happening between them. They drop the subject, however, and he returns to Moscow.
The affair between Zhivago and Lara begins in the Urals, in the town of Iuriatin, near the Krueger estate, where the Zhivagos have settled. He rides regularly to the library, and one day he sees Lara there. He observes her pleasant effect on others, copies her address from a library-book order slip, and visits her in town. They begin a romance that torments him with guilt. On his way home to confess to his wife, now pregnant with their second child, he is stopped by civil-war partisans and forced to serve them as a doctor. He is kept under guard for an extended period but finally escapes and returns by foot to Iuriatin. In Zhivago’s absence Tonia and Lara meet: Lara assists at the delivery of Tonia’s second child, a daughter named Mania (Masha). Shortly thereafter, Tonia and her two children leave Iuriatin. When Zhivago returns, he moves in with Lara, who has remained in Iuriatin with her daughter. (Tonia and her family subsequently are deported, and they move to Paris.) Fearing for their lives–since he is now a deserter–Zhivago, Lara, and Katia go to the Krueger estate to hide for the winter. They have an idyllic life for a brief period, during which he returns to writing poetry. Komarovsky finds them, however, and persuades Zhivago that he can take better care of Lara and her daughter, convincing him to let them go. Zhivago tricks Lara into leaving with Komarovsky by giving her the false impression that he will soon follow them. While Zhivago stays behind, Komarovsky, Lara, and her daughter head to the Russian Far East, where Komarovsky assumes a government position. Zhivago is left alone in despair. At this point Lara’s husband, now called Strel’nikov and a non-Party Red Army commander, arrives. He had used the estate before as a hideout; in danger now that the civil war is coming to a close, he has come to hide again. The two men, who have met before, discuss Lara. That night Strel’nikov kills himself. Zhivago, with nothing else left and warned by Strel’nikov that staying at the estate is dangerous, returns to Moscow by foot.
He moves into a spare room in a building managed by Markel, a former servant to the Gromekos. He soon takes Markel’s daughter, Marina, a telegraph operator, as his common-law wife. Zhivago no longer enjoys the company of his old friends, whom he now considers false and mannered. Evgraf again mysteriously steps in to help: he finds his brother a room where he can live alone and write. The room that Evgraf finds him is the same one in which Antipov and Lara decided to marry-the room in which Zhivago had seen a candle burning on the night of the Christmas party. Zhivago leaves Marina and their child and spends the rest of his life writing. One day, after getting off a bus, he dies of a heart attack on the street. After Zhivago’s death, but not knowing that he has died, Lara returns to Moscow to enroll her daughter in a conservatory or theatrical academy. She visits Antipov’s former room and wanders into Zhivago’s funeral there by accident. She remains in Moscow to help Evgraf sort through Zhivago’s papers, since she knows his work better than anyone else. She asks Evgraf’s advice about finding a lost child. Not long afterward Lara disappears; the narrator assumes that she has been arrested.
On the front during World War II, Zhivago’s friends Misha Gordon and Innokentii Dudorov meet a mysterious girl, Tania, who works as a laundress. A gregarious person, she tells them about her childhood. Her mother left her in the care of an acquaintance in order to protect her from a stepfather who disliked children; she promised to return but did not. Tania’s guardian mistreated her, and she ran away and ended up among the bands of homeless children who wandered about Russia after the civil war. Gordon and Dudorov realize that Tania is the child of Lara and Zhivago, and they bring her to the attention of General Evgraf Zhivago, who looks after Tania. The novel ends five to ten years later, as Dudorov and Gordon recite Zhivago’s poems together; in them they find comfort and a kind of transcendence. The collection of Zhivago’s poems completes the novel.
The improved political climate following Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech in the spring of 1956 gave Pasternak hope that his novel might be published in the Soviet Union, and he submitted typescripts to two journals, Novyi mir and Znamia. His efforts came to no avail, however. In September 1956 it was rejected for publication by Novyi mir. Aware of the risk he was taking, he gave the manuscript to Italian publisher and Communist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli through his emissary, the Italian Communist Party journalist Sergio d’Angelo, who had gone to see Pasternak in May 1956. Barnes and the commentators to a scholarly edition of Doktor Zhivago, published in the 1989-1992 edition of Pasternak’s collected works, assert that Pasternak released a typescript (not yet proofread) merely for examination. Under the impression that he would be able to revise the typescript he had submitted, Pasternak signed a contract with Feltrinelli in June 1956. In the meantime, despite the rejection by Novyi mir, the state publishing house Goslitizdat promised to publish it, and a contract was signed in January 1957. Although Pasternak permitted Feltrinelli, at the latter’s request, to publish the novel in Italian translation, he warned that publication abroad prior to the planned appearance of the novel in the Soviet Union could have dire consequences for him. Religious poems from the novel appeared anonymously in the émigré journal Grani (Borders) in 1957, and excerpts from the novel were published in the Polish journal Opinie (Opinions), from a typescript Pasternak had given to the journal; the publication sparked Soviet criticism, and the journal closed. The Soviet authorities forced Pasternak to send a telegram to Feltrinelli instructing him to stop publication, but the writer sent a private letter contradicting the telegram. The entire novel appeared on 22 November 1957 in Italian translation and sold out that day. The frenzy of the Western press over this publication was countered by Soviet silence, and the promised edition of the novel did not appear in the Soviet Union. The publishing house Mouton brought out the first Russian edition; it appeared in the Netherlands in 1958 with the Feltrinelli imprint (at the insistence of the Italian publisher, who stopped the print run after fewer than one hundred copies). In January 1959 Feltrinelli released its own Russian edition without giving Pasternak the chance to correct it. Pasternak wrote his friend, the Slavist Jacqueline de Proyart, to whom he entrusted matters related to publication in the West, that he was deeply upset by the errors in it. Thus began her own efforts to have a corrected edition published from a clean manuscript Pasternak had given her in 1957.
Pasternak’s fame abroad increased tremendously with the 1958 publication of Doktor Zhivago in Russian and with translations of the novel into major European languages. The novel remained unpublished in the Soviet Union until 1988, when it came out in four issues of Novyi mir one of the landmark cultural events to occur during perestroika. Separate editions soon followed, including one published in the same year as its serial appearance; the textological difficulties of the work were resolved only with this book version. The scholarly edition appeared in 1990 as volume three of Pasternak’s five-volume Sobranie sochinenii (1989-1992). The novel was adapted for motion pictures in 1965, in a production directed by David Lean, and was adapted as a miniseries for British television in 2003.
Literary analysis and criticism on Doktor Zhivago is vast and varied–so vast that there are works and portions of works devoted to summarizing the scholarship. Notable among these overviews are those of Livingstone, Neil Cornwell, and Munir Sendich. Importantly, however, scholarship on the novel appeared entirely outside the Soviet Union until its 1988 publication in Russia. Some early Western studies criticized the novel for its lack of a logical progression of events, its inexplicable use of time, its unbelievable coincidences, and its monologic language in which only variants of Pasternak’s own voice are present. Other critics noted that these are in fact features of Pasternak’s poetic system: the inexplicable temporal shifts reflect ones that are present in his early poetry, and the coincidences reflect his view of the unity of all things. The monologic voice has been interpreted as the equivalent of a poet’s lyrical “I.” To Pasternak’s defenders the novel makes sense if read as a kind of poem in prose and through the lens of Pasternak’s earlier work and aesthetic statements. Many studies of Doktor Zhivago from the 1960s and 1970s focus on the philosophical and literary antecedents of the novel. Scholars have studied its formal and symbolic structure, including the relationship of prose to poetry in the work. Later criticism on Doktor Zhivago has concentrated on its riddles: its references, use of dialect and folk motifs, and specific coincidences. Biographers and critics have also studied the connection of Pasternak’s other works to the novel, juxtaposing it with his earlier poetry and prose in order both to clarify aspects of the novel and to show the unity of Pasternak’s aesthetic system. Studies of the novel since it began receiving assessments have also examined prototypes for the main characters and subtextual sources, from its smallest details to its overall philosophy.
Shortly after Pasternak finished writing Doktor Zhivago, another burst of creativity came over him. In 1955 the state publishing house Goslitizdat approached him about compiling a collection of verse from his entire career. He wrote his second autobiographical essay, Liudi i polozheniia, in 1956 initially as an introduction to this proposed volume. He began to revise his earlier verse, following the criteria he had established for his later verse–brevity and simplicity. He also began to write new poems for the collection. What emerged was the beginning of a new book of poems, Kogda razguliaetsia (When the Weather Clears), completed in 1959 and published that year in Paris. Liudi i polozheniia is the memoir of a writer toward the end of his career who wishes to revise the record and examine his life from a literary distance. Pasternak attempts to correct what he now sees as aesthetic errors in his first autobiography. The essay is written in a different tone, with less emphasis on his painful breaks with his mentors and more focus on his connections to other writers, including Blok and Rilke. Pasternak continues his criticism of what he calls “romanticism” but from a more distanced point of view. Because he states a dislike for his work prior to 1940 and calls it mannered, the memoir is problematic if one takes it as an explanation of his entire body of work. Moreover, it is full of instances of poetic license with regard to biographical details. Liudi i polozheniia is interesting, nonetheless, both as an idiosyncratic account of his life and as a work of literature.
In October 1958, the same year that the first English translation of Doktor Zhivago appeared, Pasternak received the Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he had been nominated every year from 1946 to 1950 and again in 1957. At first he accepted the prize in a rapturously appreciative telegram. A vicious campaign began against him, however, and he was expelled from the Writers’ Union, despite his protest that the award was an honor not only to him but to Russian literature, and his stated willingness to donate the prize money to the Soviet Peace Fund. Although the Nobel citation generally praised Pasternak’s poetry and contribution to the epic tradition, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that the award was for Doktor Zhivago, which the Soviet Union had condemned; this perception did not please Khrushchev. Pasternak was forced to reject the prize and did so regretfully in a second telegram, which Evgenii Pasternak quotes in Boris Pasternak: The Tragic years, 1930-1960 (1990): “In view of the meaning which the award made to me has acquired in the society to which I belong, I am obliged to decline it. Do not take my voluntary renunciation amiss.” Yet, the press campaign against him did not stop. He was advised to write a letter to Khrushchev, begging that he not be expelled from the country. Such a letter would prevent exile, according to Pasternak’s friends, so he signed a letter to Khrushchev that had been written by Ivinskaia and others. In exchange for a second statement of contrition, also prepared by Ivinskaia and others and meant for publication in the newspaper Pravda (Truth), he was allowed to continue his correspondence with writers and readers in the West. Finally, at Ivinskaia’s suggestion and with her help, he wrote Khrushchev another, more personal, letter asking to be allowed to resume professional translations and earn a living. In 1959 this work became possible again for Pasternak, although his case was not helped when a poem he had written in January, “The Nobel Prize,” was published in English in the Daily Mail on 11 February 1959 after Pasternak had entrusted it to journalist Anthony Brown. The poem, as quoted by Barnes, expresses Pasternak’s frustration over the prize situation:
Did I commit a heinous crime?
A murder, or some evil deed?
At the beauty of my land
I merely made the whole world weep.
Pasternak was summoned to the office of chief prosecutor R. A. Rudenko and threatened with arrest if he continued to have contact with foreigners.
That same year Pasternak began writing his last work, a play titled slepaia krasavitsa (1969; translated as The Blind Beauty, 1969), which he was not able to finish. It is about the fate of peasants on a Russian estate in the middle of the nineteenth century, before and after emancipation. The “slepaia krasavitsa” of the title is a peasant girl, Lusha, who is blinded by pieces of a plaster bust that is shattered when the master of the estate tries to shoot his valet. (According to Pasternak’s plans, as related to Olga Andreyev Carlisle and published in her Voices in the Snow: Encounters with Russian Writers , Lusha’s son, a talented serf actor who would gain his freedom after the 1861 emancipation of the serfs, was to bring a great doctor from abroad to heal his mother.) Pasternak suggests that Lusha’s blindness represents the blindness of Russia, a condition that potentially could be cured only with the emancipation of the serfs. Pasternak studied historical sources for the play, as he had for his epic poems and for Doktor zhivago. Concerns for the fate of his country and a fascination with its history occupied him to the end of his life.
In the last years of his life Pasternak corresponded regularly with foreign writers and others interested in his work. He found such contact encouraging, although the writing of so many letters exhausted him physically. Soviet authorities, aware of the extent and value of this correspondence, used his right to receive mail from abroad as a means of control. During and after the scandal of the Nobel Prize, they alternately took away and returned his right to foreign correspondence. Accounts of his epistolary friendships, such as Renate Schweitzer’s Freundschaft mit Boris Pasternak (1963, Friendship with Boris Pasternak), provide valuable information about his late-life aesthetic views: his letters are often clearer than his statements in verse or in belletristic prose.
Pasternak had a heart attack in May 1960, after which he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on 30 May 1960. His funeral in Peredelkino on 2 June was attended by hundreds, although there was no official announcement of it. He is buried in the cemetery at Peredelkino, and his dacha there is now a museum in his honor.
After Pasternak died, Ivinskaia was arrested again and sentenced to eight years in a prison camp. She served a part of her sentence and was released in 1963. Prior to her arrest, agents of the Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopastnosti (KGB, State Security Committee) seized from her the manuscript for Pasternak’s Slepaia krasavitsa. Ivinskaia died in 1995.
Soon after the death of Boris Pasternak, the official attitude toward him once again took a liberal turn. In 1961 a collection of his poems came out, and in 1965 a scholarly edition of his collected verse was published in the “Biblioteka poeta” (Poet’s Library) series, with an introduction by Andrei Donatovich Siniavsky. Also in 1961 the first complete edition of Pasternak’s works was published by the University of Michigan Press, the authoritative edition until the appearance of his 1989-1992 Sobranie sochinenii. Scholarship on Pasternak flourished abroad and continued to grow in the West in the 1970s and 1980s. Several international congresses devoted to his work were held in Europe and the United States during these two decades, and proceedings from the conferences have appeared in multiple volumes. In the Soviet Union during this same period, before perestroika, Pasternak’s position was ambiguous. In 1990, however, the coincidence of the freedoms permitted by perestroika and the centenary of Pasternak’s birth produced a second boom of scholarship on him. Many superb studies on Pasternak appeared in the Soviet Union and abroad at this time. His work continues to attract considerable scholarly attention. A more complete scholarly edition of his writings, Polfoe sobranie sochinenii s prilozheniiami (Complete Collected Works), was published between 2003 and 2005.
Letters to Georgian Friends, translated by David Magarshack (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968);
Perepiska s Ol’goi Freidenberg (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980); translated by Elliot Mossman and Margaret Wettlin as The Correspondence of Boris Pasternak and Olga Freidenberg, 1910-1954, edited by Mossman (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982); republished as Pozhiznennaia priviazannost’: Perepiska s Ol’goi Freidenberg, edited by Evgenii Borisovich Pasternak and Elena Vladimirovna Pasternak (Moscow; Art-Fleks, 2000);
A. Efron-B. Pasternaku: Pis’ma iz ssylki (1948-1957) (Paris: YMCA-Press, 1982);
Letters, Summer 1926, by Pasternak, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva, translated by Wettlin and Walter Arndt, edited by Evgenii Pasternak, Elena Pasternak, and Konstantin Markovich Azadovsky (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985); Russian version published as Pis’ma 1926 goda (Moscow: Kniga, 1990); enlarged as Dykhanie liriki (Moscow: Art-Fleks, 2000);
Perepiska Borisa Pasternaka, edited by Evgenii Pasternak and Elena Pasternak, introduction by Lidiia Iakovlevna Ginzburg (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1990);
Pis’ma B. L. Pasternaka k zhene Z. N. Neigauz Pasternak, edited by K. M. Polivanov (Moscow: Dom, 1993);
Boris Pasternak i Sergei Bobrov: Pis’ma chetyrekh desialetii, edited by M. A. Rashkovskaia, Stanford Slavic Studies, volume 10 (Stanford, Cal.: Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University, 1996);
Pis’ma k roditeliiam i sestram, 2 volumes, edited by Evgenii Pasternak and Elena Pasternak, Stanford Slavic Studies, volumes 18-19 (Stanford, Cal.: Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University, 1998);
Sushchestvovan is tkan’ skvoznaia: Perepiska s Evgeniei Pasternak s dopolnitel nymi pis’mami k E. B. Pasternaku i ego vospominaniiami (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 1998);
B. Pasternak: Biografiia v pis’makh, edited by Evgenii Pasternak and Elena Pasternak (Moscow: ArtFleks, 2000);
Dushi nachinaiut videt’: Pis’ma 1922-193 6 godov, by Pasternak and Tsvetaeva, edited by E. B. Korkina and I. D. Shevelenko (Moscow: Vagrius, 2004).
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Troitsky, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak 1890–1960: Bibliografiia (New York: AllSlavic, 1969);
Grigorii Demianovich Zlenko and Natal’ia Nikolaevna Chernego, Boris Pasternak: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’ (Odessa: Odesskaia gosudarstvennaia nauchnaia biblioteka imeni A. M. Gor’kogo, 1990);
Munir Sendich and Erika Greber, Pasternak s Doctor Zhivago: An International Bibliography of Criticism (1957-1985) (East Lansing, Mich.: Russian Language Journal, 1990);
Sendich, Boris Pasternak: A Reference Guide (New York: G. K. Hall, 1994);
N. G. Zakharenko, ed., Russkie pisateli (Poety): Sovetskii period: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’ (St. Petersburg: Rossiiskaia natsional’naia biblioteka, 1995).
Gerd Ruge, Pasternak: A Pictorial Biography, translated by Beryl and Joseph Avrach (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959);
Guy de Mallac, Boris Pasternak: His Life and Art (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981);
Ronald Hingley, Pasternak: A Biography (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1983);
Evgenii Borisovich Pasternak, Boris Pasternak: Materialy dlia biografii (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1989);
Christopher Barnes, Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography, 2 volumes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, 1998);
Evgenii Pasternak, Boris Pasternak: The Tragic Years, 1930-1960, translated by Michael Duncan, with poetry translated by Ann Pasternak Slater and Craig Raine (London: Collins & Harvill, 1990);
Lazar’ Fleishman, Boris Pasternak: the Poet and His Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990);
Evgenii Pasternak, Boris Pasternak: Biografiia (Moscow: Tsitadel’, 1997);
Evgenii Pasternak and Elena Pasternak, Zhizn’ Pasternaka: Dokumental’noe povestvovanie (St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2004);
Dmitrii Bykov, Boris Pasternak, second edition (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 2006).
Vladimir N. Al’fonsov, Poeziia Borisa Pasternaka (Leningrad: Sovetskii pisatel’, Leningradskoe otdelenie, 1990);
Vadim Solomonovich Baevsky, Boris Pasternak–lirik: Osnovy poeticheskoi sistemy (Smolensk: Trast-Imakom, 1993);
Baevsky, Pasternak (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Moskovskogo universiteta, 1997);
Christopher Barnes, “Biography, Autobiography, and ‘Sister Life’: Some Problems in Chronicling Pasternak’s Early Years,” Irish Slavonic Studies, 4 (1983): 48–58;
Edith W. Clowes, ed., Doctor Zhivago: A Critical Companion (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1995);
Robert Conquest, Courage of Genius: The Pasternak Affair (London: Collins & Harvill, 1966),
Neil Cornwell, Pasternak’s Novel: Perspectives on “Doctor Zhivago” (Keele, U.K.: Essays in Poetics, 1986);
Sergej Dorzweiler and Hans-Bernd Harder, eds., Pasternak-Studien: Beiträge zum Internationalen Pasternak-Kongress 1991 in Marburg (Munich: Otto Sagner, 1993);
Victor Erlich, ed., Pasternak: A Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1978);
Karen Evans-Romaine, Boris Pasternak and the Tradition of German Romanticism (Munich: Otto Sagner, 1997);
Lazar’ Fleishman, Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1981);
Fleishman, “Fragmenty ’futuristicheskoi’ biografii Pasternaka,” Slavica Hierosolymitana, 4 (1979): 79–113;
Fleishman, “Problems in the Poetics of Pasternak,” PTL: A Journal for Descriptive Poetics and Theory of Literature, 4 (1979): 43–61;
Fleishman, ed., Boris Pasternak and His Times (Berkeley, Cal.: Berkeley Slavic Specialties, 1989);
Fleishman, ed., Poetry and Revolution: Boris Pasternak’s My Sister Life, Stanford Slavic Studies, volume 21 (Stanford, Cal.: Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University, 1999);
Anna Kay France, Boris Pasternak’s Translations of Shakespeare (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978);
Henry Gifford, Pasternak: A Critical Study (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977);
Olga Raevsky Hughes, The Poetic World of Boris Pasternak (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974);
Ol’ga Vsevolodovna Ivinskaia, V Plenu Vremeni: Gody s Borisom Pasternakom (Paris: Fayard, 1978); translated by Max Hayward as A Captive of Time: My Years with Pasternak (New York: Doubleday, 1978);
Boris A. Kats, ed., Muzyka v tvorchestve, sud’be i dome Borisa Pasternaka: Sbornik literaturnykh, muzykal’ nykh i izobrazitel’nykhtrudov (Leningrad: Sovetskii kompozitor, Leningradskoe otdelenie, 1991);
Angela Livingstone, Boris Pasternak: Doktor Zhivago (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989);
Livingstone, “Some Affinities in the Prose of the Poets Rilke and Pasternak,” Forum for Modern Language Studies, 19 (January 1983): 274–284;
Anna Ljunggren, Juvenilia B. Pasternaka: 6 fragmentov o Relikvimini (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1984);
Lev Loseff, ed., Boris Pasternak 1890-1990: Centennial Symposium, Norwich Symposia in Russian Literature and Culture, volume 1 (Northfield, Vt.: Russian School of Norwich University, 1991);
Iurii Mikhailovich Lotman, “Stikhotvoreniia rannego Pasternaka i nekotorye voprosy strukturnogo izucheniia teksta,” Trudy po znakovym sistemam, no. 4 (1969): 206–238;
Anna Majmieskulow, ed., Poetika Pasternaka: Pasternak’s Poetics (Bydgoszcz: Wydawnictwo Uczelniane wsp w Bydgoszcze, 1990);
Guy de Mallac, “Pasternak’s Critical-Esthetic Views,” Russian Literature Triquarterly, 6 (1973): 502–532;
Zoia Maslenikova, Portret Borisa Pasternaka (Moscow: Sovetskaia Rossii, 1990);
Elliot Mossman, “Pasternak’s Prose Style: Some Observations,” Russian Literature Triquarterly, 1 (1971): 386–398;
Mossman, “Pasternak’s Short Fiction,” Russian Literature Triquarterly, 2 (1972): 279–302;
Nils Åke Nilsson, ed., Boris Pasternak: Essays (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1976);
Katherine Tiernan O’Connor, Pasternak’s ’My Sister Life:’ The Illusion of Narrative (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis, 1988);
Aleksandr Leonidovich Pasternak, Vospominaniia (Munich & Vienna: Wilhelm Fink-Ferdinand Schöningh, 1983; enlarged edition, Moscow: Progress Traditsiia, 2002); translated by Lydia Pasternak Slater as A Vanished Present: The Memoirs of Alexander Pasternak, edited by Pasternak Slater (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984);
Elena Vladimirovna Pasternak, “Rabota Borisa pasternaka nad tsiklom ’Nachal’naia pora,” Russkoe i zarubezhnoe iazykoznanie, 4 (1970): 124–141;
Pasternak and M. I. Feinberg, eds., Vaspomminatiia o Borise pasternake (Moscow: Slovo, 1993);
Leonid Osipovich Pasternak, Zapiski raznykh let, edited by Zhozefina Pasternak (Moscow: Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1975); translated by Jennifer Bradshaw as The Memoirs of Leonid Pasternak (New York: Quartet, 1982);
Zinaida Nikolaevna Pasternak, Vtoroe rozhdenie: Pis’ma k Z. N. Pasternak (Moscow: GRIT/Dom-muzei B. Pasternaka, 1993);
Dale Plank, Pasternak’s Lyric: A Study of Sound and Imagery (The Hague: Mouton, 1966);
Krystyna Pomorska, Themes and Variations in Pasternak’s Poetics (Lisse, Belgium: Peter de Ridder Press, 1975);
Darlene Reddaway, “Pasternak, Spengler, and Quantum Mechanics: Constants, Variables, and Chains of Equations,” Russian Literature, 26 (1992): 37–70;
Mary F. Rowland and Paul Rowland, Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967);
Larissa Rudova, Pasternak’s Short Fiction and the Cultural Vanguard (New York: Peter Lang, 1994);
Rudova, Understanding Boris Pasternak (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1997);
Rima Salys, “Izmeritel’naia edinitsa russkoi zhizni: Pushkin in the Work of Boris Pasternak,” Russian Literature, 9 (1986): 347–392;
Jean Marie Schultz, “Pasternak’s ’Zerkalo’,” Russian Literature, 13 (1983): 81–100;
Renate Schweitzer, Freundschaft mit Boris Pasternak (Vienna: Kurt Desch, 1963);
D. Segal, “Pro Domo Sua: The Case of Boris Pasternak,” Slavica Hierosolymitana, 1 (1977): 199–250;
Igor’ Pavlovich Smirnov, Roman tain “Doktor Zhivago” (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 1996);
Kiril Taranovsky, “On the Poetics of Boris Pasternak,” Russian Literature, 9 (1981): 339–358;
Jane Taubman, “Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak: Towards the History of a Friendship,” Russian Literature Triquarterly, 2 (Winter 1972): 303–321;
Victor Terras, “Boris Pasternak and Romantic Aesthetics,” Papers on Language & Literature, 3 (Winter 1967): 42–56;
Terras, “Boris Pasternak and Time,” Canadian Slavic Studies, 2 (Summer 1968): 264–270;
Afiani Tomilina and N. G. Tomilina, A za mnoiu shum pogoni: Boris Pasternak i vlast’. Dokumenty 1956–1972 (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2001);
Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva, “Epos i lirika v sovremennoi Rossii,”. Novyi grad, 6–7 (1933);
Tsvetaeva, “Poety s istoriei i poety bez istorii,” in her Sobranie sochinenii, volume 5 (Moscow: Terra, 1997), pp. 75–106;
Tsvetaeva, “Svetovoi liven’,” Epopeia, 3 (1922);
Iurii Nikolaevich Tynianov, “Promezhutok,” in his Arkhaisty i novatory (Leningrad: Priboi, 1929), pp. 541–580.
Most of Boris Pasternak’s papers are in the Pasternak family archive in Moscow, under the care of Evgenii Borisovich Pasternak and Elena Vladimirovna Pasternak, and in the Pasternak Trust in Oxford, England. Elsewhere in Moscow, Pasternak’s papers are archived at the Institute of World Literature (IMLI), fond 120; the Russian State Library (RGB) in the Department of Manuscripts, fond 386 (the Valerii Iakovlevich Briusov archive); the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (RGALI), fond 379; the State Literary Museum (GLM), fond 143, osnovnoi fond (basic archive) 4840. In St. Petersburg, collections of Pasternak’s papers can be found at the Russian National Library (RNB), fonds 474 and 60. They are also located at the Georgian Literary Museum in Tbilisi. In the United States, archives of Pasternak’s papers are housed at the Houghton Library of Harvard University; at Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University; at Amherst College (in the Thomas P. Whitney Collection); and in the I. T. Holtzman Collection at the Hoover Institution Archive at Stanford University.