On they went singing 'Eternal Memory', and whenever they stopped, the sound of their feet, the horses and the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing...Doctor Zhivago is the epic novel of Russia in the throes of revolution and one of the greatest love stories ever told. Yuri Zhivago, physician and poet, wrestles with the new order and confronts the changes cruel experience has made in him and the anguish of being torn between the love of two women.
One of the 20th century's must-read novels: a love story set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution, told in prose so lyrical it is on the brink of becoming poetry.
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born in Moscow in 1890. His first two ebullient collections of poetry, A Twin in the Clouds and Above the Barriers appeared in 1912 and 1917 respectively. But it was not until 1922, with the appearance of My Sister, Life that he triumphantly achieved his own distinctive voice. He was married in 1921, and again in 1934, and lived most of his life in Moscow. In the twenties and thirties he began writing fiction, including The Childhood of Luvers and The Last Summer, as well as attempting more epic poetry in an effort to stay in touch with the literary requirements of the new regime. The results included Nineteen Five, Lieutenant Schmidt and Spetorsky. At about this time, he began translating European literature into Russian; his translations of Shakespeare and Goethe are regarded as masterpieces of the translator's art. Second Birth, published in 1932, appeared to mark a new beginning. However, it was not until the early forties that this truly came about. The clear, restrained, but still evocative style of On Early Trains would serve him well for his last works: Poems 1955-1959, An Essay in Autobiography and his masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 but, after a savage campaign of denunciation, was forced to renounce the award. He died on 30 May 1960.