Ivinskaya, Olga (1912–1995)

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Ivinskaya, Olga (1912–1995)

Russian magazine editor. Name variations: Olga Ivinskaia. Born in Russia in 1912; died in Moscow on September 8, 1995; buried in Moscow; lived with Boris Pasternak (1890–1960); married twice; children: two, including Dmitri Vinogradov.

The character Lara in Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize-winning Doctor Zhivago, played by Julie Christie in the 1965 movie, was inspired by Olga Ivinskaya. Born in Russia in 1912, she was a magazine editor for a Moscow literary journal. She was jailed twice, spending more than eight years in Soviet prison camps because of her anti-Soviet activities related to her 14-year affair with Pasternak. Pasternak, an anti-Stalinist writer, was very much out of favor with the Soviet regime. (Throughout their relationship, however, Pasternak never left his second wife Zinaida Nikolaevna Pasternak .)

When Olga met Boris in 1946, she was 34, he was 56. Each had been married twice and had two children. In love even before they met, she once told her mother that seeing Pasternak at a recital had been like "communing with God." While in prison the first time because of her association with him, in 1949 Ivinskaya miscarried

their child. In 1958, when the Communist Party attacked Doctor Zhivago and refused to let Pasternak accept a Nobel Prize for Literature, the couple contemplated double suicide. They were still together when he died two years later.

Olga was then sentenced to eight more years in a labor camp. "She paid dearly for it all," said her son, Dmitri Vinogradov, "but even just before her death she said she had no regrets. She would live that life again and again. She loved him as a man, whether he was a poet or not." Ivinskaya wrote about her life with Pasternak in the book A Captive of Time, published in 1978, and letters between Ivinskaya and Pasternak survive. Doctor Zhivago was not published in Russia until 1988; the movie was not released there until 1994.

suggested reading:

Ivinskaya, Olga. A Captive of Time (also titled A Prisoner of Time), 1978.

"Olga Ivinskaya, 83, Pasternak Muse for 'Zhivago'," in The New York Times Biographical Service. September 1995, p. 1351.

"Undying Love," in People Weekly. December 2, 1996.

related media:

Doctor Zhivago (197 min. film), starring Julie Christie, Omar Sharif, Tom Courtenay, Rod Steiger, Alec Guinness, Ralph Richardson, Rita Tushingham, Geraldine Chaplin , and Siobhan McKenna , screenplay by Robert Bolt, directed by David Lean, MGM, 1965.