Boris Pasternak

(10 February 1890 - 30 May 1960 / Moscow)

Boris Pasternak
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Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian language 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 theatrical translations of Goethe, Schiller, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and William Shakespeare remain deeply popular with Russian audiences.

Outside Russia, Pasternak is best known for authoring Doctor Zhivago, a novel which spans the last years of Czarist Russia and the earliest days of the Soviet Union. Banned in the USSR, Doctor Zhivago was smuggled to Milan and published in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize ... more »

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Boris Pasternak Quotations

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  • ''No deep and strong feeling, such as we may come across here and there in the world, is unmixed with compassion. The more we love, the more the object of our love seems to us to be a victim.''
    Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Doctor Zhivago, ch. 12, sct. 7 (1957).
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  • ''As far as modern writing is concerned, it is rarely rewarding to translate it, although it might be easy.... Translation is very much like copying paintings.''
    Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963). "The onl...
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  • ''It is no longer possible for lyric poetry to express the immensity of our experience. Life has grown too cumbersome, too complicated. We have acquired values which are best expressed in prose.''
    Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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  • ''That's metaphysics, my dear fellow. It's forbidden me by my doctor, my stomach won't take it.''
    Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Ivan Ivanovich, in Doctor Zhivago, ch. 1, sct. 5 (1957).
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  • What is history? Its beginning is that of the centuries of systematic work devoted to the solution of the enigma of death, so that death itself may eventually be overcome. That is why people write sym...
    Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Nikolay Nikolayevich, in Doctor Zhivago, ch. 1, sect. 5 (1957).
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Comments about Boris Pasternak

  • Anonymous (11/1/2018 5:29:00 PM)

    Of course Boris Pasternak hasn't posted any new poets in the past 14 days. The man is dead!

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  • Jay Warier (7/19/2009 11:14:00 AM)

    Could you please include Themes and Variations to enrich the sparse collection? There are some very good poems in there.

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Best Poem of Boris Pasternak

A Dream

I dreamt of autumn in the window's twilight,
And you, a tipsy jesters' throng amidst. '
And like a falcon, having stooped to slaughter,
My heart returned to settle on your wrist.

But time went on, grew old and deaf. Like thawing
Soft ice old silk decayed on easy chairs.
A bloated sunset from the garden painted
The glass with bloody red September tears.

But time grew old and deaf. And you, the loud one,
Quite suddenly were still. This broke a spell.
The dreaming ceased at once, as though in answer
To an abruptly silenced bell.

And I ...

Read the full of A Dream