Fleishman, Lazar 1944-
Fleishman, Lazar 1944-
PERSONAL: Born May 15, 1944, in Ovrutch, U.S. S.R. (now Ukraine); immigrated to Israel, 1974; immigrated to the United States, 1984; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Solomon (an artist) and Pesja (a physician; maiden name, Halle) Fleishman; married Irene Strelnikova (a library specialist), 1972 (divorced, 1993); married, 2002; wife's name Ekaterina (a literary scholar); children: (first marriage) Raphael, Ella; (second marriage) Arnold. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Attended Latvian State University, 1961–66.
CAREER: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, senior lecturer, 1974–81, associate professor of comparative literature and Slavic studies, 1981–85; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of Slavic studies, 1985–91, chair, 1991–94. Visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley, 1978–79, 1980–81 and 1999, University of Texas at Austin, 1981–82, Yale University and Harvard University, 1984, and Latvian University and Charles University, Prague, 2001; Columbia University, senior research fellow at W. Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union, 1985; Princeton University, visiting fellow, 2003. Organizer of symposia and conferences devoted to the work of Boris Pasternak and Abram Terts.
MEMBER: American Association of Literary Critics and Scholars, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pew Foundation Award, 1986; Guggenheim fellow, 1987; Alexandr von Humboldt Preistrager, 1994, 2000; Boris Pasternak Prize, Moscow, 2004.
Stat'i o Pasternake (title means "Essays on Pasternak"), K-Presse (Bremen, West Germany), 1977.
Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody (title means "Boris Pasternak in the '20s"), Fink Verlag (Munich, Germany), 1981, reprinted, Akademicheskii Proekt (St. Petersburg, Russia), 2003.
(With Robert Hughes and Olga Raevsky) Russkii Berlin, 1921–1923 (title means "Russian Berlin"), YMCA-Press (Paris, France), 1983, reprinted, Russkii Puti (Moscow, Russia), 2003.
Boris Pasternak v tridtsatye gody (title means "Boris Pasternak in the '30s"), Magnes (Jerusalem, Israel), 1984, expanded edition published as Boris Pasternak i literaturnoe dvizhenie 1930-kh godov (title means "Boris Pasternak and the Literary Scene of the 1930s"), Akademicheskii Proekt (St. Petersburg, Russia), 2005.
Poetry and Revolution in Russia, 1905–1930: An Exhibition of Books and Manuscripts, Stanford University Libraries (Stanford, CA), 1989.
Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1990.
Materialy po istorii russkoi i sovetskoi kul'tury. Iz arkhiva Guverouskogo Instituta (title means "Toward the History of Russian and Soviet Culture: Documents from the Hoover Institution Archives"), Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1992.
(With Hans-Bernd Harder and Sergei Dorzweiler) Boris Pasternak's "Lehrjahre," Volumes 1 and 2, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1996.
(With Jurii Abyzou and Boris Raudin) Russkaia Pechat' v Rige (title means "Russian Press in Riga"), Volumes 1-5, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1997.
Operatsiia 'Trest' i Russkaia Zarubezhnaia Perchat' (title means "The Soviet Counter-Intelligence Operation 'Trest' and Russian Press in Exile"), NLO (Moscow, Russia), 2003.
Coeditor, Slavica Hierosolymitana, 1975–81, and Stanford Slavic Studies, 1987–.
Fleishman's writings have also been published in Italian.
SIDELIGHTS: Lazar Fleishman, a scholar devoted to the study of the twentieth-century Russian author Boris Pasternak and his writings, has spent several decades conducting extensive research on the life and work of the renowned literary artist. Fleishman's quest to uncover the motives behind the writer's rhetoric and actions has led him to produce several biographical books on Pasternak, who ranks among the greatest poets and authors of his country's postrevolutionary period. Fleishman's biographical works are meticulously detailed with rare and obscure facts that the scholar has painstakingly culled from various journals, books, letters, eyewitness accounts, and memoirs. Although a few reviewers have faulted Fleishman for his elaborate use of footnotes, others report that such citations provide the reader with information that is necessary for a total study of Pasternak.
Fleishman's early books were published in Russian. Stat'i o Pasternake contains three essays which examine the early writings of Pasternak. Partially drawn from Fleishman's previously published articles, the work discusses the events and philosophies that shaped Pasternak's outlook on life and the world. Fleishman's second book, Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody, delves into the writer's life and career from 1922 through 1931. It provides insight into Pasternak's participation in the literary debates of the era, particularly during his affiliation with poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and members of his literary group, the Left Front of the Arts (LEF). The volume also examines Pasternak's work amid the mounting tensions of the new Soviet state and observes the poet's period of personal crisis as he wavered between his desire to express his artistic freedom and his initial support of the new regime.
In Boris Pasternak v tridtsatye gody, Fleishman continues his analysis of Pasternak's career into the 1930s, particularly 1931 through 1937, when the writer disassociated himself from the LEF group and his involvement in the prevailing literary movement. As a companion volume to Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody, the work charts the poet's fall from grace with Communist officials and his continued inner struggle between personal freedom and Soviet conformity. Several critics noted that the book is as much an analysis of prominent events and figures of 1930s Soviet society as it is a study of Pasternak and his writings. Some reviewers also deemed that an examination of Pasternak's life during this period had been ignored prior to Fleishman's book, but is essential to a complete understanding of the writer and his works. "We learn from this book," wrote Henry Gifford in Times Literary Supplement, "to watch out for the latent opposition in Pasternak's seeming acts of conformity." The critic added that Pasternak's "record is finely vindicated in this sober definitive study."
Fleishman continues his scrutiny of the poet by focusing on the years 1937 through 1960 in his 1990 book, Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics. While the work contains a synopsis of the ideas presented in Fleishman's earlier volumes, it also covers Pasternak's later career, including his writing of the epic novel Doctor Zhivago and his government-coerced refusal of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1958. In compiling this volume, Fleishman "has meticulously reconstructed the literary-historical context against which Pasternak's actions as man and artist are to be understood," noted David Bethea in the New York Times Book Review. The critic added that Fleishman's "every formulation has an air of permanence about it, as though he were erecting his scholarly edifice with only the best time-tested materials."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Polivanov, K., I. Shevelenko, and A. Ustinov, editors, Themes and Variations: In Honor of Lazar Fleishman, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1994.
Canadian-American Slavic Studies, fall-winter, 1982.
Canadian Slavonic Papers, March, 1982.
Library Journal, May 1, 1990, Mary F. Zirin, review of Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics, p. 88.
New York Review of Books, May 31, 1990, review of Boris Pasternak, p. 26.
New York Times Book Review, September 2, 1990, David M. Bethea, review of Boris Pasternak, p. 12.
Russian Review, October, 1980; January, 1987, David M. Bethea, review of Boris Pasternak v tridtsatye gody, p. 82; April, 1989, Charles Isenberg, review of Stanford Slavic Studies, p. 216.
Scottish Slavonic Review, autumn, 1984.
Slavic and East European Journal, Volume 26, number 2, 1982; Volume 30, number 2, 1986; fall, 1990, Gerald Janecek, review of Poetry and Revolution in Russia, 1905–1930: An Exhibition of Books and Manuscripts, p. 380.
Slavic Review, spring, 1989, Nicholas Rzhevsky, review of Stanford Slavic Studies, p. 136.
Times Literary Supplement, December 18, 1981, Henry Gifford, review of Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody, p. 463; August 23, 1985; May 25, 1990, Henry Gifford, review of Boris Pasternak, p. 560.
World Literature Today, winter, 1982, review of Boris Pasternak v dvadtsatye gody, p. 138; spring, 1985, review of Boris Pasternak v tridtsatye gody, p. 283.