Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Poets and Poems: Boris Pasternak and “February”

Perhaps it was the watery eyes of Omar Sharif, the beauty of Julie Christie, the fierceness of Alec Guiness, or the wounded look of Geraldine Chaplin. What it was, I was a young teenager when I was pulled into the movie version of Doctor Zhivago, directed by David Lean. It was one of the movies rarely made today – a big movie, with dozens of characters, stories and sub-stories. It was an epic film based on an epic literary work that had only recently been published.

Published in Russian in Italy and forbidden in the author’s own country.

The movie pulled me to the novel by Boris Pasternak, and I read it when I was all of 14. It’s a love story, actually several love stories, set against the backdrop of World War I, the Russian Revolution and Civil War, and the long Soviet night that followed. Pasternak received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, largely on the strength of Doctor Zhivago and his poetry, but the Soviet regime forced him to refuse the honor.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Painting of Boris Pasternak and his brother by his father, Leonid Pasternak.

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