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Doctor Zhivago (1957)

by Boris Pasternak

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,567128589 (3.87)1 / 615
First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet-physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Yuri Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the White Army and the Bolshevik Reds of the Russian civil war. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times.… (more)
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» See also 615 mentions

English (115)  French (3)  Yiddish (2)  Hebrew (2)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
Yuri Zhivago se relaciona com duas mulheres, sua esposa Tonya e sua amante Lara. Sobre o pano de fundo da Primeira Guerra Mundial, da Revolução Bolchevique e a subsequente guerra civil na Rússia vemos o impacto da história sobre os personagens.

Zhivago luta para manter sua individualidade em um momento em que os indivíduos são considerados como buchas de sacrifício pela Rússia czarista em sua guerra contra a Alemanha, enquanto aqueles que sobrevivem se veem empurrados para uma sociedade incipiente, governada pelos bolcheviques que consideram conceitos como individualismo como ultrapassado e perigoso.

Zhivago e aqueles próximos a ele são meros atores na enorme convulsão social em que estão sendo arrastados, mas Pasternak os tira da obscuridade para dissecar suas psiques e colocar uma perspectiva humana nos tempos em que vivem. Enquanto milhões morrem durante guerras e fome, Zhivago fica dividido entre seu amor por Tonya e Lara e as traições que isso inevitavelmente traz. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Sep 17, 2021 |
A book of intense, atmospheric moments set against the tumultuous backdrop of 20th century Russian history. Although worthy of being regarded a classic, this didn't feel like anything in the thread of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. I tend to prefer novels that do more with fewer characters rather than the oversprawling saga as written. I haven't seen the movie, but maybe that cuts to the heart of the story more directly. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Aug 22, 2021 |
More than 50% through and I’m officially DNFing this book. I’m not interested in the characters, their motivations, the politics, or the posturing & drama. A bit confusing to read, especially in the beginning. I’m disappointed that this didn’t work out for me because I’ve heard about the movie (which I also was not a fan of) since I was a kid.

It didn’t work out for me, but I hope it works for someone else!

*All thoughts and opinions are my own.* ( )
  The_Literary_Jedi | Aug 18, 2021 |
Classics
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
Reading the novel Dr. Zhivago with memories of Dr. Zhivago the movie will cause you to misunderstand what is going on. This is not the tragic love story portrayed by movie stars. Pasternak is painting a different picture. His characters are of two types. The first, vividly described like individual leaves in the sunlight or the rain, appear only briefly and then are gone. Some of these may reappear much later, as they fall from their branches. The second, such as Zhivago, Lara, and Tonia, flow through the novel acting as the trees, giving it the hint of a plot allowing the reader to wander through the landscape. But it is the forest that is important, the overall chaos of the Russian revolution. The love story is between Pasternak and Russia itself, and is told in the only way such a huge story could be told.
Surprisingly, for such a masterpiece, this book seems to break all the rules of good writing taught to modern authors. Its omniscient point of view allows Pasternak to tell instead of show, although he wraps his philosophical, political, and religious lectures within dialogue. It doesn’t seem to matter much who is speaking. You must figure it out from the context. Along with the lectures comes another common feature of Russian novels, the names. However, the biggest fault with my copy was the translation. Translating poetry is an almost futile task, and Pasternak’s descriptions of people and places are overwhelmingly poetical. Therefore, once in a while the translation is too literal with very odd results that could not possibly be what the author intended.
Reading this novel is not for the faint of heart, but the experience will be unforgettable. ( )
  drardavis | Mar 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
At the beginning of his novel Pasternak deliberately deprives the Zhivago family of its wealth, as a kind of symbolic prelude to the revolution that is to come. Like so much else in the novel it happens as arbitrarily as if in a fairy tale: the rich king suddenly becomes a poor beggar. “There was a Zhivago factory, a Zhivago bank, Zhivago buildings, a Zhivago necktie pin,…and at one time if you said ‘Zhivago’ to your sleigh driver in Moscow, it was as if you had said: ‘Take me to Timbuctoo!’ and he carried you off to a fairy tale kingdom.” This wealth of gold both symbolizes and contrasts with the wealth of life which will be the precious gift and possession of the son, the hero of the novel...

Tossed about like corks in the tumult, people are thrown up against one another in all sorts of unexpected ways and places. The ruthless partisan commander turns out to be the same young officer we used to know, rumored to have been killed in an attack on the Austrian entrenchments in 1916. The old Swiss lady walking past the trolley in which Zhivago has his fatal heart attack was the former governess of a noble Russian whom he had known briefly when they both worked at a hospital during the war. And this final coming together is in any case unknown to both parties, without apparent significance. And yet everything in life has significance, just because it is life, the thing itself, and not the abstract vision of how it ought to be for which the tyrants of ideology drench the world in blood. As Zhivago observes, you must live, you cannot always be making preparations for living—a sharp comment on the Communist promise that everything is going to be wonderful, some day in the future.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Review of Books, John Bayley (Mar 7, 1991)
 
Those who expect some kind of counter-revolutionary or anti-Soviet journalism from Dr Zhivago will be disappointed. It is not, in that sense, a political novel at all, although it is entirely about the effects of the revolution of 1905, the First World War, the 1917 revolution and the last war, upon a group of families of the upper-class intelligentsia and others. Pasternak is apolitical. His temper is Christian; Marxism is dismissed scornfully as half-baked folly and pomposity...

There is no cliche of invention in Pasternak; there is no eccentricity either. He has the eye of nature. Another refreshing quality is the freedom from the Anglo-American obsession with sex. In love, he is concerned with the heart. It is hard to imagine an English, French or American novel on Pasternak’s subject that would not be an orgy of rape or creeping sexuality.

Dr Zhivago is a great mound of minutely observed particulars and this particularity is, of course, expressive of his central attitude - his stand for private life and integrity.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Yorker, V.S. Pritchett
 
Doctor Zhivago has no doubt been much read—like other books that promise to throw some light on the lives of our opposite numbers in the Soviet Union—out of simple curiosity. But it is not really a book about Russia in the sense that the newspaper accounts of it might lead the reader to expect; it is a book about human life, and its main theme is death and resurrection...

Doctor Zhivago will, I believe, come to stand as one of the great events in man’s literary and moral history. Nobody could have written it in a totalitarian state and turned it loose on the world who did not have the courage of genius. May his guardian angel be with him! His book is a great act of faith in art and in the human spirit.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Yorker, Edmund Wilson
 

» Add other authors (135 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pasternak, Borisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harari, ManyaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayward, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konkka, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pasternak Slater, AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pasternak Slater, NicolasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pasternak, LeonidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prins, AaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheepmaker, NicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slater, MayaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zveteremich, PietroTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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.
After two or three stanzas that came pouring and several metaphors by which he was himself surprised, the work took possession of him, and he began to feel the presence of what is called inspiration. At such moments the correlation of the forces that govern artistic genius have as it were been turned upside down. It is no longer the man and the state of his soul, for which he is seeking expression, that are in the ascendancy now, but the language. his instrument of expression. Language, the home and dwelling of beauty and meaning, itself begins to think and speak for man and turns wholly into music, not in the sense of outward, audible sounds, but by virtue of the power and momentum of its inward flow. Then, like the current of a mighty river polishing stones and turning wheels by its very movement, the flow of speech creates in passing, by the force of its own laws, rhyme and rhythm and countless other forms and formations, still more important and until now undiscovered, unconsidered and unnamed.
The rising sun had cast the long dewy shadow of trees in loops over the park grounds. The shadow was not black but dark gray like wet felt. The heady fragrance of the morning seemed to come from this damp shadow on the ground, with strips of light in it like a girl’s fingers. Suddenly a streak of quicksilver, as shiny as the dew on the grass, flowed by him a few paces away. It flowed on and on and the ground did not absorb it. Then, with an unexpectedly sharp movement, it swerved aside and vanished.
He began to write down the legend of St George and the Dragon in lyrical form. He started with broad, spacious pentameter, but its harmony, derived from the metre itself, and independent of the sense, annoyed him by its slick, humdrum sing-song. He gave up the pompous rhythm and the caesura and cut down the lines to four beats, as you cut out useless words in prose.... The writing was livelier but still too verbose. He forced himself to shorter lines. Now the words were crammed in their tetrameters and he felt wide awake, roused, excited; the right words to fill the shot lines came, prompted by the measure.... He heard the horses' hoofs ringing on the surface of the poem as you hear the trotting of a horse in one of Chopin's Ballades.
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Book. Do not combine with film.
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First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet-physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Yuri Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the White Army and the Bolshevik Reds of the Russian civil war. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times.

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