Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

Poems in this Collection

You are in the wind, which tests with a branch.../Ты в ветре, веткой пробующем...
Out of Superstition/Из суеверья
Oars Pulled In/Сложа весла
Definition of Poetry/Определение поэзия
A Storm, Forever Momentary/Гроза, моментальная навек
Let's scatter our words.../Давай ронять слова...
This is how they start. At two years.../Так начинают. Года в два...
To love some is a heavy cross.../Любить иных - тяжелый крест...
In everything, I want to reach.../Во всем мне хочется дойти...

Timeline for B. L. Pasternak





A gathering of the litterati of Russia in the 1920s.

Cover of Pasternak's memoires of 1905






Pasternak giving toast in 1950s with Akhmatova to his left



At Pasternak's funeral procession

Born to painter Leonid Pasternak and pianist Rozaliya Kaufman in Moscow, where he lived most of his life

Studies music with Scriabin

Studies philosophy at Moscow University

Translates Rilke

Travels to Germany to study Neo-Kantianism at Marburg University with Hermann Cohen

Makes debut with the Lirika poetic group

Publishes first collection Twin in the Stormclouds; joins Sergei Bobrov's Futurist group Tsentrifuga; meets Mayakovsky in the spring

Second collection Over the Barriers published

Publishes My Sister Life, even though the verses had circulated since 1917 and had already earned him a strong reputation. This cycle contain lush and powerful imagery, which contrasts with the disciplined quatrain metrics and often idiomatic language; publishes prose piece "Zhenya Luver's Childhood"; marries Evgeniya Lurie

Publishes collection Themes and Variations; joins the Lef group, but only for a short time

Publishes "Aerial Ways," his first piece critical of the Revolution, a movement he initially supported

Reconstructs own memories and publishes The Year 1905 (see left)

Publishes Lieutenant Schmidt, also set in 1905, describes, in anapestic verse, the hero in Christ-like manner, a symbol that appears throughout his later poetry

Publishes Spektorsky, on which he had worked since 1924, a novel in verse describing his own life before the revolution; writes Safe Conduct, an autobiographical record of those who had influenced his artistic development, was criticized by orthodox proletarian critics for its bourgeois individualism; divorces Lurie and takes up with Zinaida Neigauz, with whom he traveled to Georgia, where he met and developed friendships with a number of Georgian writers

Georgian experience influences collection Second Birth, in which Pasternak strove toward a new simplicity in his verse

Is a leading speaker at the First Congress of Writers

Travels to Paris as part of Soviet delegation

Publishes On Early Trains

Publishes Breadth of Earth

Publishes translation of Goethe's Faust

Completes novel Doctor Zhivago, which contains a cycle of poetry, ostensibly the work of the novel's hero, at its conclusion

Zhivago is published in Italy after having been rejected for publication by Soviet censors; publishes more transparent verse collection When the Weather Clears

He is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and forced to refuse the prize by officialdom; he endures a terrible slander campaign and is sentenced to internal exile

Dies in Peredelkino and thousands attend his funeral



Pasternak (standing) with his family






Pasternak with family





Pasternak and Akhmatova in the 1940s




Pasternak's residence in Peredelkino



Links to other Pasternak sites

From a site devoted to Hamlet, several essays, translations and recordings that treat the Zhivago/Hamlet connection (English)
Стихия: Лучшая поэзия (Russian)
A extensive citation pertaining to the publication of Doctor Zhivago from E. Pasternak's biography (1997) (Russian)
A university-level "study guide" of Pasternak's life and work (Russian)
A pretty banal site announcing a Pasternak Exhibit in Hoover Pavilion (English)
The press release issued by the Swedish Academy announcing Pasternak's 1958 Nobel Prize
A SAMPLE OF TEXT ANALYSIS (Based on B.Pasternak's poem Winter Night)
A translation by E. Bonver of Akhmatova's poem "To B. Pasternak"
Pasternak at Friends & Partners
Excerpts from entry on Pasternak in V. Terras' Handbook of Russian Literature (English)