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Book Title: Doutor Jivago|
Date of issue: 2008
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Boris Pasternak
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 592 KB
Edition: Sextante Editora
Read full description of the books Doutor Jivago:There was no way I could ever escape reading Doctor Zhivago. After all, I'm a proud daughter of a literature teacher; this book earned the Nobel Prize for Boris Pasternak; and it has been staring at me from the top of my to-read pile for years with quiet accusation.
And so, reader, I finally read it.
Doctor Zhivago is an interesting novel. It is very character-centered but is absolutely *not* character-driven. It is an epochal novel focused on the particularly turbulent, violent and uncertain but yet future-defining era in Russian history - the time frame around the Russian Revolution and the following years of brutality and confusion in the Russian Civil War. The driving forces of the story are the frequently senseless and almost always cruel historical events, a greater force against which the efforts and intentions and agency itself of the characters are pathetically, frustratingly helpless and futile. It is really a story of individual fates trampled under the relentlessly rolling forward bulldozer of history.What may surprise some people who via the phenomenon of 'cultural osmosis' may know of this story as one of the greatest stories of forbidden and doomed love ever written (or something of similar sort, a misunderstanding perhaps perpetuated by the 1960s screen adaptation of this book), the love story is a quite small part of the overall plot. Don't read it for the pangs of unrequited love or the tension of the love triangle - the disappointment is sure to come if those are your expectations.Boris Pasternak, with the bravery not encouraged in the Soviet Union, seemed to be not only acutely aware of the historical forces relentlessly driving the lives of his compatriots but also - which was definitely unacceptable and a few years prior to the completion of the novel, under the ever-increasing paranoia of Josef Stalin's rule, would have been in the best-case scenario punished by quite a few years in GULAG concentration camps in the depths of Siberia - recognized the absolute senselessness of so much if what had happened. His courage in expressing such views paid off in the form Nobel Prize that he was successfully pressured to reject back in 1958; the Nobel Prize that was given as we know now not just for the merits of the novel itself but for what it represented - a daring slap in the face of the Soviet system both despised and feared in the Western world.While I'm at it, I'd like to make sure I get across that while being quite skeptical about the October Socialist Revolution and its consequences, Pasternak was definitely not even close to being starry-eyed or wearing rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia when it came to the old way of living in Russia, the world shattered by the events of the revolution. He never leaves a doubt that the old world order needed to be changed, that the change was both necessary and organically expected; but the direction the change took was painfully brutal and, perhaps, less than ideal, and those who have suffered from such a radical change were perhaps the best people Russia had at that time - but their value has not made them any less vulnerable to the unrelenting march of time and dictatorship of proletariat.
"It's only in bad novels that people are divided into two camps and have nothing to do with each other. In real life everything gets mixed up! Don't you think you'd have to be a hopeless nonentity to play only one role all your life, to have only one place in society, always to stand for the same thing?"Yes, Pasternak clearly had strong views on what has happened and continued to happen. No surprise he used his novel to express them. Therefore you do get pages and pages of beautifully expressed opinions in the form of passionate speeches. These pages are both wonderful since they are so insightful and interesting and full of understanding of internal and external conflicts that go into the formation of these opinions - as well as actually detrimental to the novel in the way we usually think of novels, since there is little dialog as such, most of it replaced by passionate oration. These speeches hinder the narrative flow and introduce early on the feeling of artificialness, never allowing you to forget that this novel is a construction that serves the author's purpose rather than being an organic story. "No single man makes history. History cannot be seen, just as one cannot see grass growing. Wars and revolutions, kings and Robespierres, are history's organic agents, its yeast. But revolutions are made by fanatical men of action with one-track mind, geniuses in their ability to confine themselves to a limited field. They overturn the old order in a few hours or days, the whole upheaval takes a few weeks or at most years, but the fanatical spirit that inspired the upheavals is worshiped for decades thereafter, for centuries." The character development also suffers from the focus on the greater external events. I could never shake off the feeling that the characters were present as merely the vehicles for driving the story to where the author wanted it to go; they never developed into real people for me, instead remaining the illustrations of Pasternak's points and the mouthpieces for his ideas. In short, to me even 600 pages in, they remained little but obedient marionettes. Besides, what I found a bit distracting and ringing of contrivance was the sheer amount of coincidences and unbelievable run-ins into each other that all his characters experienced in the vast reaches of the Russian empire with more frequency that one would expect from neighbors in a tiny village. The web of destiny with these improbable consequences tends to disintegrate into the strings holding up puppets, and that's unfortunate in such a monumental book.
And Pasternak's prose - it left me torn. On one hand, his descriptions are apt and beautiful, making scenes come to life with exceptional vividness. On the other hand, his descriptors and sentences frequently tend to clash, marring otherwise beautiful picture. The reason these occurrences stand out so much to me is perhaps the knowledge of Pasternak's absolute brilliance as a poet, so easily seen in the collection of poems accompanying this novel. It's amazing to me to see the level of mastery he shows in his verse - the poem 'A Winter Night' colloquially known as simply "The Candle Burned" after its famous refrain is one of the best poems I know, honestly, and "Hamlet" is made of pure perfection - and therefore a bit disappointing to see it not always repeated in his prose.Sadly, despite my way-too-long obsessive internet search I could not come across a translation of these poems that came even close to doing justice to their brilliance. It's very unfortunate, but I guess some things need to be experienced only in the original. A good reason to learn Russian, right?And yet despite the imperfections and the unevenness there is still something in this novel that reflects the genius talent that created it. There is still something that did not let me put this book aside even when I realized I did not love it as much as I had hoped. The greatness is still there, despite the flaws, and it remains something to be admired.
Read information about the authorBoris Leonidovich Pasternak was born in Moscow to talented artists: his father a painter and illustrator of Tolstoy's works, his mother a well-known concert pianist. Though his parents were both Jewish, they became Christianized, first as Russian Orthodox and later as Tolstoyan Christians. Pasternak's education began in a German Gymnasium in Moscow and was continued at the University of Moscow. Under the influence of the composer Scriabin, Pasternak took up the study of musical composition for six years from 1904 to 1910. By 1912 he had renounced music as his calling in life and went to the University of Marburg, Germany, to study philosophy. After four months there and a trip to Italy, he returned to Russia and decided to dedicate himself to literature.
Pasternak's first books of verse went unnoticed. With My Sister Life, 1922, and Themes and Variations, 1923, the latter marked by an extreme, though sober style, Pasternak first gained a place as a leading poet among his Russian contemporaries. In 1924 he published Sublime Malady, which portrayed the 1905 revolt as he saw it, and The Childhood of Luvers, a lyrical and psychological depiction of a young girl on the threshold of womanhood. A collection of four short stories was published the following year under the title Aerial Ways. In 1927 Pasternak again returned to the revolution of 1905 as a subject for two long works: "Lieutenant Schmidt", a poem expressing threnodic sorrow for the fate of the Lieutenant, the leader of the mutiny at Sevastopol, and "The Year 1905", a powerful but diffuse poem which concentrates on the events related to the revolution of 1905. Pasternak's reticent autobiography, Safe Conduct, appeared in 1931, and was followed the next year by a collection of lyrics, Second Birth, 1932. In 1935 he published translations of some Georgian poets and subsequently translated the major dramas of Shakespeare, several of the works of Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, and Ben Jonson, and poems by Petöfi, Verlaine, Swinburne, Shelley, and others. In Early Trains, a collection of poems written since 1936, was published in 1943 and enlarged and reissued in 1945 as Wide Spaces of the Earth. In 1957 Doctor Zhivago, Pasternak's only novel - except for the earlier "novel in verse", Spektorsky (1926) - first appeared in an Italian translation and has been acclaimed by some critics as a successful attempt at combining lyrical-descriptive and epic-dramatic styles.
Pasternak lived in Peredelkino, near Moscow, until his death in 1960.
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