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Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Doctor Zhivago (1957)

by Boris Pasternak

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (73)  Yiddish (2)  French (2)  Hebrew (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (80)
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Apparently in a country as physically huge as Russia, you can't go anywhere without previously knowing the entire village as well as the prominent political and revolutionary characters in the news. I was hoping for a love story and ended up with two characters accidentally running into each other repeatedly. Meh. ( )
  bethanyinthetaiga | Apr 8, 2014 |
"proved a good travel-book as it is all written in such short episodes you can break off anywhere. I was on the whole disappointed in it – never really felt involved with any of the characters which I think is a fatal flaw in a novel. The poetic descriptive sections about weather & seasons I thought very good." ( )
  SylviaPlathLibrary | Apr 6, 2014 |
I have to thank my mother for this one. Her original hardcover edition (probably from the BOMC) had lain around the house for years. She was donating books before moving and I snagged this. The movie barely skims the surface of this beautiful book. After reading this I read Pasternak's poetry, tried to read Sholokhov. This book deepened my appreciation for both Tolstoi (of course) and Henry James.
  FKarr | Feb 2, 2014 |
I finally got around to read ‚Doctor Schiwago‘. Despite a helpful list of the main persons prefacing this first German edition it is not easy to keep a mental track of them and all the others. The Russian convention of polite address by first name and patronymic adds a further difficulty. I am re-reading the book as long as the persons are fresh in my memory.

P. tells the life-story of Jurij Andréitsch Schiwago from the age of 13 or 14 in 1903 until his death in the summer of 1929 with a short prolog and an epilog set in 1943: Doktor Schiwago: born, as Pasternak around 1890, Physician and, as P. Intellectual and Poet. Interwoven with Schiwago’s life-story Pasternak pictures the turbulent times of the civil war during the transition of his country from Russia to the Soviet Union and gives a vivid description how people from many walks of life trying to weather the great storm of the revolution.

Although we are witness to the innermost thoughts of Schiwago, we don’t see everything always through his eyes alone; we are also told the thoughts and feelings of many of the other persons. In this the narrative is conventional, not so in other ways. In the first book threads are taken up which are later knotted (sich verknoten) to form a net of encounters.

Many of these are chance encounters: This makes this vast country shrink and look more like some region small enough to meet by chance. This compositional device holds the events together but makes me very conscious of it as an artifice – much more so than I would like. Could Pasternak have avoided it? It is not up to me to answer this.

Narration of situations and encounters (Handlung) is interspersed by Gesprächen: Monologe, Dialoge, philosophische, emotionale:

Nikolai Nikolaitsch: a short discours about life, art, science in human history (1.Buch, 1:V, S.16-18).
Nikolai Nikolaitschs Ansichten über die Judenfrage von Gordon ausgesprochen (1.Buch, 4:XII, 146-148)
Beschreibung einer Sommernacht: „Es war, als erwache die Erde zum Bewußtsein“ (1.Buch, 5:VI, 166)
Im geheimnisvollen Schnellzug: Jurijs Gedanken und Gespräch mit dem jungen Jäger über die Wirren des Krieges und die kommende Revolution (1.Buch, 5:XV-XVI)
Jurijs trunkene Rede zu seinen Freunden über die kommende Revolution; sein „Bewußtsein der Ohnmacht angesichts der Zukunft“ (1.Buch, 6:VI, 214-215)
Jurijs Ablehnung des Marxismus as unwissenschaftlich und nicht objektiv im Gespräch mit Samdewjatov. (2.Buch, 1:IV, 308); die bolschewistische Revolution as ‚historische Notwendigkeit‘? (V, 311).
Sein Tagebuch über das Leben in Warykino (2:I-IX, 330-343), dort: über Puschkin und die ‚Sprache‘ des Kunstwerkes (2:IV,335-6) und Puschkin u. Tschechov gegenüber Gogol, Tolstoi u. Dostojewskij (VII, 340); dann: Wie wird man zu einem Gelehrten? Wie zu einem Künstler? „Nur die Irrtümer seiner Vorgänger haben aus Faust einen Gelehrten gemacht. Um einen Schritt vorwärts zu machen, muß man sich gegen Irrtümer der Vorgänger auflehnen.“ „Zum Künstler dagegen wurde Faust durch das Beispiel seiner Lehrmeister. Man entwickelt sich weiter durch die Nachahmung und Nachfolge von Vorbildern, die man verehrt.“ (VII, 339) Gut gesagt! Meine eigenen Erfahrungen lehrten mich ähnliches. (I-14) ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Jan 29, 2014 |
Dr. Zhivago is a panoramic view of Russia beginning with the Bolshevik Revolution and ending with Lenin’s first economic program. It is the story of Yuri Zhivago and Lara, two individuals thrown together by circumstances who fall madly in love with each other. Zhivago, before he can choose between his wife/son and Lara, is abducted by the revolutionary army and is forced to serve with them for several years. When he returns his wife and children are gone; but he does find Lara and they pick up where they left off. To flee the revolution they move far away into the frozen tundra into the frozen ruins of a once bourgeoise palace. Lara is left alone by the revolutionaries because he husband is powerful in the Red Army. However, once he dies, she has no protection for either her daughter, herself or Yuri. A scoundrel finds them and offers to spirit Lara and her daughter away, warning Yuri that he will only bring Lara trouble because Yuri’s family supported the Czar. Yuri says he will follow at a later date, but to protect Lara he does not do this. Lara is forced to leave her daughter with a railroad station operator’s wife when she must flee. Lara and her daughter never see each other again. Yuri makes it to Moscow on foot and lives in poverty, still writing poetry. He even marries again and has two children. He dies at an early age, probably about 40, with Lara always on his mind and in his heart. Zhivago was a poet so news of his death spread and Lara attends the funeral. This is a love that was epic and able to withstand wars, armies, the bitter cold, starvation, etc. A great read, especially for somebody who is interested in Russian history. Although both Yuri and Lara die, the “hope” lives on, through their daughter, Tanya.

Dr. Zhivago is not an easy read. Firstly, Pasternak is a poet and this is the work of a poet and sometimes has to be deciphered. Secondly, it is long, but well worth the time and effort. Be sure to savor this book. ( )
1 vote tess_i_am48 | Jan 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (98 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pasternak, Borisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harari, ManyaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayward, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheepmaker, NicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On they went, singing "Rest Eternal," and whenever they stopped, their feet, the horses, and the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing.
The fear known as spymania had reduced all speech to a single formal, predictable patter. The display of good intentions in discourse was not conductive to conversation.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679774386, Paperback)

n celebration of the 40th anniversary of its original publication, here is the only paperback edition now available of the classic story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Yuri Zhivago, doctor and poet, lives and loves during the first three decades of 20th-century Russia.

» see all 16 descriptions

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