Words of the Week 12/2014
re-published by Ralph Kratzer
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak; 10 February 1890 – 30 May 1960, was a Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak’s anthology My Sister, Life, is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language. Furthermore, Pasternak’s translations of stage plays by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and William Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences.
Outside Russia, Pasternak is best known as the author of Doctor Zhivago, a novel which takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Due to its independent minded stance on the socialist state, Doctor Zhivago was refused publication in the USSR. At the instigation of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, Doctor Zhivago was smuggled to Milan and published in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature the following year, an event which both humiliated and enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.