""An international readership will welcome this new collection of Boris Pasternak's continually fascinating family correspondence, which gives us the opportunity to delve deeply into the whole of his thoughts and feelings over a poetic and heroic lifetime, Culminating in Doctor Zhivago and the final virulent Challenge to his genius and his courage."--Robert Conquest, author of Courage of Genius: The Pasternak Affair and The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties" ""This magnificent collection offers us a glimpse into aspects of Pasternak's life that had previously escaped our attention.
Faithfully translated and carefully annotated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater, these letters help us better understand the poet's special place in twentieth-century literary and political life."--Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov, professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of California, Los Angeles, and close friend of Boris Pasternak's" ""Boris Pasternak is acknowledged as one of the greates poets of the twentieth century. This is a volume of his correspondence with his parents and sisters. The introduction and the translations are exceptionally fine: they bring back to life a brilliant, thoughtful, decent writer and his extraordinary family. Pasternak's persecution in the dark night of stalinism and its aftermath is painfully revealed. The letters are searingly honest and always uplifting.
What a Wonderful artist!"--Robert Service, professor of Russian history at Oxford University and author of Stalin: A Biography and Trotsky: A Biography" ""This sensitively translated and informatively annotated collection is a guide-book both to the life and mind of a great writer and to the purgatory that was Europe's twentieth century." --Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European studies at the University of Oxford" "Best known in the West for his epic novel Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak is most celebrated in Russia as a poet--perhaps the most influential Russian poet of the twentieth century. This and many less well-known facts of Pasternak's life come to light in this selection of correspondence with his family from 1921 to 1960, translated into English for the first time." "Pasternak was born into a prominent Jewish family in Moscow, where his father, Leonid, was a professor at the Moscow School of Painting and his mother, Rosalia, was an acclaimed concert pianist.
The highly cultural environment of his parents' home was open to such guests as Rachmaninov, Rilke, and Tolstoy; even after their voluntary exile, members of his family were to play a crucial role in Pasternak's life and work. In the early 1920s he wrote largely autobiographical poetry and novellas, but from the mid-1920s on he moved away from personal themes to focus on the meaning of the revolution. In the 1930s and 1940s, Pasternak's works fell out of favor with the authorities and were not printed; he was obliged to earn a living from translations. Despite the appalling difficulties in communication, his ongoing dialogue with his family became ever more important during the last twenty-five years of his life." "World War II and Stalin's wave of mass persecutions after the war led to many interruptions and prolonged suspensions of the family's correspondence.
When Doctor Zhivago brought him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, Pasternak was forced to decline the honor because of official pressure in his home country: the novel was banned in the Soviet Union, and Pasternak was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers. An authentic and penetrating account of Russian life in the turbulent era of revolutions and wars, the story of Yuri Zhivago and his great love, Lara, was partly modeled on Pasternak and his companion, Olga Ivinskaya." "At times equalling the drama and intensity of his fictional work, these letters, along with more than fifty illustrations and photos, offer unprecedented insights into the life and work of one of Russia's literary giants."--Jacket.