Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (Russian: Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к,; 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1890 – 30 May 1960), the famed Russian novelist and poet was the son of gifted artists: his father a painter and illustrator of Tolstoy’s works, his mother a well-known concert pianist. Pasternak’s education began in a German Gymnasium in Moscow and went on to the University of Moscow. Pasternak took up the study of musical composition for six years from 1904 to 1910. By 1912 he had abandoned music as his profession in life and departed to the University of Marburg, Germany, to learn about philosophy. After four months there and a trip to Italy, he came back to Russia and decided to commit himself to literature.
Composed in 1917, Pasternak’s first book of poems, My Sister, Life, was published in Berlin in 1922 and soon became an important collection in the Russian language. Pasternak’s translations of stage plays by Goethe, Schiller, Calderón de la Barca and Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences.
Pasternak is best known as the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel that takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Doctor Zhivago was forbidden for publication in the USSR and the manuscript had to be secretly trafficked to Italy for publication. Pasternak was bestowed with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an occasion that infuriated the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He was required to decline the prize, though his descendants were able to accept it in his name in 1988. Doctor Zhivago has been part of the Russian school curriculum since 2003.
“Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel.”
“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”
“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary
“Even so, one step from my grave, I believe that cruelty, spite, The powers of darkness will in time Be crushed by the spirit of light.”
“An unshared happiness is not happiness.”
“And remember: you must never, under any circumstances, despair. To hope and to act, these are our duties in misfortune.”
“What for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but the irresistible power of unarmed truth.”
“No bad man can be a good poet”.
“As for the men in power, they are so anxious to establish the myth of infallibility that they do their utmost to ignore truth.”