Pasternak, Boris (1890–1960) By Swift, Megan
Major Russian poet and writer, Pasternak, was recognized as a leading, original poetic talent with the collection My Sister Life (written 1917, published 1922). My Sister Life is a celebration of the fecundity of nature, of love, artistic creation, and the thrilling experience of revolutionary change. Beginning in the late 1920s, Pasternak felt increasingly isolated and out of step with Soviet literary culture. After 1934 he focussed his talents on literary translation, producing some of the finest translations of Shakespeare into Russian. In 1956 Pasternak completed Doctor Zhivago, his long-dreamed-of novel about an individual hero caught up in revolutionary Russia. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958. An international scandal flared after he at first accepted the distinction and then was pressured by Soviet authorities to refuse it with the words “Considering the meaning this award has been given in the society to which I belong, I must reject this undeserved prize which has been presented to me.” Doctor Zhivago was adapted as a major motion picture by director David Lean in 1965, and again by Giacomo Campiotti in 2002.