Boris Pasternak – outstanding writer
The Russian poet, novelist, and translator Boris Pasternak was the foremost writer of the Soviet period.
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born on February 10, 1890, in Moscow. His parents and their friends provided an artistic, musical, and literary environment that nurtured Pasternak’s creative aspirations. His father, Leonid O. Pasternak, was a prominent painter, and his mother, Rosa F. Kaufman, was an accomplished concert pianist. Boris began to study musical composition at the age of 13 and soon abandoned music for philosophy.
In 1909 he enrolled the philosophy faculty of Moscow University. In 1912 Pasternak traveled to Marburg and extended his travels to Italy before returning to Moscow.
Pasternak published his first two books of poetry A Twin in the Clouds in 1914 and Over the Barriers in 1917. The events of the 1917 Russian Revolution and the subsequent civil war (1917-1921) caused Pasternak to reexamine the substance of his art. This reexamination culminated in the novel Doctor Zhivago (1957).
In in the early 1920s he married and a son, Evgeny, was born. Later he married Zinaida N. Neuhaus.
The most oppressive period in Soviet history began in 1936, and a reign of terror marked the next few years. Many of Pasternak’s friends became victims of the Great Terror. The poet himself fell from grace and survived by mere chance. Translating became a means of material survival for him during the darkest years of Soviet history.
Pasternak’s participation in World War II was minimal. He served for a time as an aerial spotter in Moscow, made one trip to the front, and was evacuated from Moscow in the face of the German invasion.
The culmination of his artistic career was Doctor Zhivago. In 1956 Soviet authorities refused to publish the novel and in 1957 it was published in the West. Over the next two years the novel was translated into twenty-four languages. Pasternak was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize for his achievement, but critical reaction within the Soviet Union forced him to decline the award. Doctor Zhivago was published in the Soviet Union only posthumously, in 1988.
During the last decade of his life, Pasternak’s most distinct poetic achievement was When the Weather Clears, a collection of poetry from 1959.
Pasternak died on May 30, 1960.
Biography of Boris Pasternak cannot be complete without a description of his personal life. The poet was married twice, the first time – in his youth, the second time – in adulthood. He had a third love.
All his women were muses, gave happiness and were happy with him. His creative nature caused inconstancy in personal relationships. He did not descend to adultery, but he also could not be faithful to a single woman.
His first wife Eugene Lurie was an artist. Boris met her in 1921 and considered their meeting symbolic. During that period Pasternak finished work on the story Childhood. The heroine of the work was a young artist called Eugene. So the girl became his wife and muse. Boris was really happy, they had a first-born son, Eugene. Relations deteriorated when the poet began to correspond with Marina Tsvetaeva.
Later Boris met Zinaida Neuhaus. She was only 32, he was already 40, she had a husband and two children. Neuhaus was a good hostess and dedicated herself to the family without any rest. Despite the parting, Pasternak always helped his former family.
The second marriage was also happy. The caring wife provided peace and comfortable conditions for work. The second son of the poet Leonid was born. The happiness lasted for ten years. Then Boris began to stay in Peredelkino and gradually moved away from the family. At that time, he met Olga Ivinskaya, new muse and editor of New World magazine. Boris did not want to leave his wife, so he repeatedly tried to break up with Olga. In 1949, for communication with the disgraced poet, Ivinskaya was arrested and sent to camp for 5 years. Throughout these years, he helped her mother and children.
In 1952, Boris was hospitalized with a heart attack. After returning from the camps, Olga worked for Pasternak as an unofficial secretary. They did not part for the rest of his life.