2016年5月29日 星期日

"Doctor Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak ;Pasternak 一家;Boris Pasternak Interviewed by Olga Carlisle;《齊瓦哥醫生》Dr. ZHIVAGO /藍英年譯《日瓦戈醫生》


Novelist and poet Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born in Moscow, Russian Empire on this day in 1890. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958.
"Gregariousness is always the refuge of mediocrities, whether they swear by Solovyov or Kant or Marx. Only individuals seek the truth, and they shun those whose sole concern is not the truth."

“I don't think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.” 

--from DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1957) by Boris Pasternak
First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times. Pevear and Volokhonsky masterfully restore the spirit of Pasternak's original—his style, rhythms, voicings, and tone—in this beautiful translation of a classic of world literature. READ an excerpt here:http://knopfdoubleday.com/book/127969/doctor-zhivago/


War and Peace by LEO TOLSTOY (OUP, THE WORLD CLASSICS) 第556頁,有關於John Field 1782-1837 的注解:....  Pasternak in An Essay in Autobiography (1959) speaks of Chopin's originality in "using the old idiom of Mozart and Field" for new purpose. (2015)

“I don't think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.”
―from "Doctor Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak
In the grand tradition of the epic novel, Boris Pasternak’s masterpiece brings to life the drama and immensity of the Russian Revolution through the story of the gifted physician-poet, Zhivago; therevolutionary, Strelnikov; and Lara, the passionate woman they both love. Caught up in the great events of politics and war that eventually destroy him and millions of others, Zhivago clings to the private world of family life and love, embodied especially in the magical Lara. First published in Italy in 1957, Doctor Zhivago was not allowed to appear in the Soviet Union until 1987, twenty-seven years after the author’s death. Translated by Manya Harari and Max Hayward. READ an excerpt here: http://knopfdoubleday.com/…/1…/doctor-zhivago/9780679407591/





最近中國出版Boris Pasternak詩全集3冊,很猶豫是否該買下.......


2014.6.21凌晨重看此片---近40年前看的,當然沒什麼印象了。不記得有此劇照。
電影的詩意(景色),肯定與  Pasternak在書中的附詩差別很大。
我們能從影片中知道20世紀初的一些生活狀況;譬如說,莫斯科的街道與街屋,抗議遊行和傳單、快報.......長途火車車廂內50人的排洩物,最快10天清理、消毒一次。 (我希望有鐵路專家告訴我,火車的燃媒是如何補給的?)


故事簡介
描述俄國醫生詩人齊瓦哥,與太太棠雅以及護士拉娜之間的三角愛情故事。
齊瓦哥的父親因為遭受生意夥伴陷害身亡,所以齊瓦哥由叔叔扶養長大,受過良好的高等教育,對青梅竹馬棠雅頗有好感,一日遇見了一位相貌驚為天人的美女拉娜,從此對她留下深刻的印象。
在一次行醫的過程中發現,當年陷害父親身亡的生意夥伴維多竟是拉娜母親的枕邊情人…。
戰爭爆發後,齊瓦哥受到徵召到前線擔任軍醫,在此期間遇見前來尋找失蹤丈夫的拉娜,在拉娜細心的照料之下,兩人日久生情,他該情歸何方呢......?
關於原著作者
  • 帕斯特納克(Boris Pasternak)
幕後紀事

女主角拉娜由琪拉柰特莉(Keira Knightley)飾演,年紀輕輕就在大螢幕嶄露頭角,近期作品有;愛是您愛是我(Love Actually),亞瑟王(King Arthur)。 拍攝此片時年僅17歲,純熟的演出頗有大將之風。 公視曾播映過的影集「孤雛淚」也有她精采的演出。

眼尖的觀眾應該已經發現,飾演拉娜母親情夫的維多,就是侏儸紀公園中那位古生物學家-山姆尼爾(Sam Neill ),在齊瓦哥醫生中對拉娜死纏爛打,使壞的演出令人印象深刻。
官方網站




Yale University Press 新增了 1 張相片。

2014.6 格森:莫斯科正在失去靈魂
  • 我離開莫斯科不過五個月,俄羅斯就發生了巨變:國家處在戰爭中,對異見容忍度降到歷史最低,不允許雙重國籍,經濟前景一片黯淡。所有的人都在討論移民。
藍英年《日瓦戈醫生》= 改名《齊瓦哥醫生》台北:遠景,2014

2008

真敢社講座之講座計畫主持人 卡洛玲子 敬邀書上 偶爾有:「費用:社員250非社員400依例歡迎扔下大鈔喊「免找」!」
她現在在家「自修」。所以跟她講一更大號之故事,博其一笑:

話說昔日. "Leonid Pasternak". Wikipedia article "Leonid Pasternak". )一家多英才,譬如說兒子詩人Boris比父親更有名(著『齊瓦哥醫生』;中國出版的Pasternak 回憶錄集『人和事』(三聯)等),我看過他哥哥亞歷山大的回憶錄(英文) 。
Leonid 1921年離開俄國,1945年客死牛津。在21世紀,她的孫女幫他弄個要預約才能參觀的紀念館。
最有趣的是她的先生「害怕失去他的安寧空間」,這樣說(寫/譯):「我期望著一位沒有膀胱的百萬富翁前來靜靜地參觀,他不用廁所,願意花一根金條購買風景明信片,還說,『不用再找了!』。」【大陸滥譯本【牛津:歷史和文化】 第182頁】






《日瓦戈醫生》譯後記
藍英年
一九五八年我在青島李村鎮勞動鍛煉。勞動鍛煉是一種思想改造措施,但不同於勞動教養和勞動改造,沒有後兩項嚴厲。比如行動自由,工資照常發,星期日照常休 息。只是把參加勞動鍛煉的教師下放到農村,叫他們與農民一起勞動,一邊勞動一邊改造思想。下放不是遣送,而是歡送。下放前召開歡送大會,給每位下放教師戴 一朵大紅花,我就是帶著大紅花下放到李村鎮的。十月下旬的一天,勞動間歇時候我坐在山坡上休息,公社郵遞員送來報紙。頭版是鄭振鐸等先生遇難的消息。第三 版刊登了蘇聯作家協會開除帕斯捷爾納克會籍的報導,因為他寫了反動小說《日瓦戈醫生》。
說來慚愧,我這個人民大學俄語系畢業生竟不知道蘇聯有個叫帕斯捷爾納克的作家。我學過俄國文學史,也學過蘇聯文學史。學了一年,都是蘇聯教師授課(那時叫 蘇聯專家)。老師講授法捷耶夫、西蒙諾夫和蕭洛霍夫等作家,但從未提過帕斯捷爾納克。後來才明白,蘇聯教師講的都是蘇聯主流作家,而帕斯捷爾納克則是非主 流作家。主流作家遵循社會主義現實主義的創作方法,謳歌蘇聯體制,而非主流作家堅持自己的創作原則,雖然為了生存也不得不歌頌史達林和蘇維埃政權,但仍不 能贏得政權的歡心。
人們對不知道的事情往往好奇,我也如此。我想瞭解《日瓦戈醫生》是本什麼書,為何蘇聯對該書作者帕斯捷爾納克大興撻伐。我給在紐約的叔叔寫信,請他給我寄 一本俄文版的《日瓦戈醫生》來。讀者讀到這裡未免產生疑竇:大躍進年代一個中國教師竟敢給身在美國紐約的叔叔寫信,並請他給寄一本在蘇聯受到嚴厲批判的小 說。就算我一時頭腦發昏,可書能寄到嗎?那時不像今天,大陸也不同於臺灣,所以得解釋兩句。叔叔是上世紀二十年代赴法留學生,後滯留法國。一九四七年考入 聯合國秘書處任法語譯員。叔叔不問政治,與國共兩黨素無瓜葛。一九四九年叔叔回國探望長兄時,某機關請他寄科技書。書寄到我名下,我收到後給他們打電話, 讓他們來取。叔叔痛快地答應了,不斷給我寄科技書。我收到後給某機關打電話,他們立即來取。我就是在這種情況下向叔叔提出請求的。叔叔收到我請他寄《日瓦 戈醫生》的信後,便在科技書裡加了一本密西根大學出版的原文版《日瓦戈醫生》。封面是烈火焚燒一棵果實累累的蘋果樹。我翻閱了一下,覺得難懂,便放下了。 那時我尚不知道詩人寫的小說不好讀,也不知道帕斯捷爾納克是未來派的著名詩人。不久,中國報刊緊隨蘇聯開始批判《日瓦戈醫生》。《日瓦戈醫生》在中國也成 為一本反動的書。但我敢斷定,那時中國沒有人讀過《日瓦戈醫生》,包括寫批判文章的人。蘇聯讀過《日瓦戈醫生》的也不過西蒙諾夫等寥寥數人,連黨魁赫魯雪 夫也沒讀過,所以後來他才說:如果讀過《日瓦戈醫生》就不會發動批判帕斯捷爾納克的運動了。
光陰荏苒,數年後我已調離青島,在花樣翻新的政治運動中沉浮。感謝命運的眷顧,在一次次運動中都僥倖漏網,但終於沒逃過「文革」一劫,被紅衛兵小將揪出 來,關入牛棚。關入牛棚的人都有被抄家的危險。我家裡沒有「四舊」,藏書也不多,較為珍貴的是一套十九世紀俄文版的《果戈里選集》。抄就抄了吧,雖心疼, 但不至於惹麻煩。可《日瓦戈醫生》可能惹事。燒了吧,捨不得,留著吧,擔心害怕。我和內子多次商量怎?處理這本書。我推斷紅衛兵未必聽說過這本書,斷然決 定:把《日瓦戈醫生》夾在俄文版的馬列書籍當中,擺在最顯眼的地方,紅衛兵不會搜查。事實證明我的判斷是正確的,紅衛兵果然沒搜查馬列書籍,《日瓦戈醫 生》保住了。
上世紀八十年代初,我開始為人民文學出版社翻譯俄國作家庫普林的作品,常到出版社去,與編輯熟了。那時譯者與編輯的關係是朋友關係,不是利害關係。沒事也 可以到編輯部喝杯茶,聊聊天。大概是一九八三年五月的一天,我又到編輯部喝茶,聽見一位編輯正在高談闊論。他說世界上根本沒有俄文版的《日瓦戈醫生》,只 有義大利文版的。其他文字的版本都是從義大利文轉譯的。他的武斷口吻令我不快,我對他說:「不見得吧!有俄文版本。」他反問我:「你見過?」我說:「不但見過,而且我還有俄文版的《日瓦戈醫生》呢。」我的話一出口,編輯部的人都驚訝不已。著名翻譯家、外文部主任蔣路說:「你真有?」我說:「你們不信,明天 拿來給你們看。」第二天我把書帶去,大家都看到了。蔣路當場拍板:「你來翻譯,我們出版。」其實我沒動過翻譯《日瓦戈醫生》的念頭。因為我已經粗粗翻閱 過,覺得文字艱深,比屠格涅夫、契訶夫的文字難懂得多。我說:「我一個人翻譯不了,還得請人。」蔣路說:「你自己找合作者吧。」我請人民教育出版社的老編輯張秉衡先生合譯,張先生慨然允諾。沒簽合同,只有口頭協定,我和張先生便動手翻譯《日瓦戈醫生》。可以說翻譯這本書是打賭打出來的。
一動手就嘗到帕斯捷爾納克的厲害了。這位先生寫得太細膩,一片樹葉,一滴露珠都要寫出詩意。再加上獨特的想像力,意識流,超越故事情節的抒懷,翻譯起來十 分困難。但既然答應了,已無退路,只好硬著頭皮譯下去。進度自然快不了,不覺到了一九八三年底。出版社的一位室主任忽然把我叫到出版社。他沒問翻譯進度, 開口就談清除精神污染運動。什?人道主義呀,異化呀,我們大家都要好好學習呀。他的話我已經在報刊上讀過。我問他《日瓦戈醫生》還譯不譯。他沒回答,又重複了剛才說過的話。我理解他如說不譯就等於出版社毀約,毀約要支付相應補償。他不說譯,實際上就是不準備出版了。我把自己的想法告訴張先生,我們停筆了。
當時我並不瞭解何謂「清除精神污染運動」,只把它當成一次普通運動;首先想到的是自己有沒有「精神污染」。我覺得沒有,如有就是翻譯這本「反動」小說。我 還得介紹一下來去匆匆的「清除精神污染運動」,不然大陸以外的人不清楚是怎?回事。簡單說是中共理論界兩位頂尖人物甲和乙爭風吃醋。一九八三年三月為紀念 馬克思誕辰一百周年,頂尖人物乙作了一個《人道主義與異化問題》的報告。第一次談到政黨的異化問題。這也是馬克思的觀點,在理論上沒有問題。報告反映不錯,引起頂尖人物甲的嫉妒,因為報告不是他作的。甲把乙的「異化」與吉拉斯的《新階級》聯繫在一起。吉拉斯是南斯拉夫共產黨的領導人,鐵托的副手。吉拉斯因提出民選政府的建議與鐵托決裂,一九四七年他寫了《新階級》,談的也是異化問題。《新階級》的主要論點是:共產黨原來是無產階級先鋒隊,但社會主義國家 的共產黨已經「異化」為官僚特權的「新階級」。一九六三年世界知識出版社出版供批判用的《新階級》的中譯本。乙是否看過不得而知,但看這本書並不困難,連 我都看過,像乙那樣地位的人看這類書易如反掌。但乙的觀點絕非吉拉斯的觀點。把乙的報告說成宣傳吉拉斯的觀點必然引起最高領導人的震怒,於是便有了無疾而 終的「清除精神污染」運動。
出版社不催我們,我們就不譯了。但十二月的一天,人民文學出版社的副總編輯帶著三個編輯突然造訪寒舍。副總編輯一進門就找掛曆,在某月某日下劃了個勾,對 我說這天《日瓦戈醫生》必須交稿,人民文學出版社要在全國第一個出版。我一聽傻眼了,離他規定的時間僅有一個多月,我們能譯完嗎?副總編輯接著說,每天下 午有人來取稿,我們採取流水作業,責編已經下印刷廠了。我和張先生像上了弦似地幹起來,每天工作十幾小時,苦不堪言。下午五點左右編輯來取稿,總笑嘻嘻地 說:「我來取今天的譯稿。」一個月後《日瓦戈醫生》果然出版,創造了出版史上的奇蹟。出版社為了獎勵我們,付給我們最高稿酬:千字十四元人民幣。後來各地 出版社再版的都是這個本子。每次見到再版的《日瓦戈醫生》我都有幾分羞愧,因為譯文是趕出來的,蓬首垢面就同讀者見面了。我一直想重譯,但重譯《日瓦戈醫 生》是件繁重的工作,我心有餘悸,猶豫不決。二○一二年北京十月出版社提出出版《日瓦戈醫生》,我決定趁此機會重譯全書,不再用張先生的譯文。張先生是老 知識份子,國學基礎深厚,但與我的文風不完全一致。這裡不存在譯文優劣問題,只想全書譯文保持一致。第十七章日瓦戈詩作,我請谷羽先生翻譯,谷羽先生是翻 譯俄蘇詩歌的佼佼者。我每天以一千字左右的速度翻譯,不能說新譯文比舊譯文強多少,但不是趕出來的,而是譯出來的。臺灣遠流出版社願意出版繁體字本,我很 感激。遠流出版社提議把《日瓦戈醫生》改譯為《齊瓦哥醫生》。既然臺灣讀者已經習慣《齊瓦哥醫生》,約定俗成,我當然尊重,入鄉隨俗嘛。
帕斯捷爾納克出身於知識份子家庭,父親是畫家,曾為文豪托爾斯泰的小說《復活》畫過插圖。母親是鋼琴家,深受著名作曲家魯賓斯坦喜愛。帕斯捷爾納克不僅對 文學藝術有精湛的理解,還精通英、德、法等三國語言。他與來自工農兵的作家自然格格不入。蘇聯內戰結束後莫斯科湧現出許多文學團體,如拉普、冶煉場、山隘 派、列夫、謝拉皮翁兄弟等。帕斯捷爾納克與這些團體從無往來。他們也看不起帕斯捷爾納克。從高爾基算起,蘇聯作協領導人沒有一個喜歡帕斯捷爾納克的。高爾 基不喜歡他,批評他的詩晦澀難懂,裝腔作勢,沒有反映現實;帕斯捷爾納克也不喜歡高爾基,但高爾基對他仍然關心。關心俄國知識份子,幫他們解決實際困難, 這是高爾基的偉大功績。帕斯捷爾納克依然我行我素,自鳴清高,孤芳自賞。但因為他為人坦誠,仍贏得不少作家的信任。
一九三四年八月蘇聯召開第一次作家代表大會。不知為何布爾什維克領導人布哈林竟把不受人愛戴的帕斯捷爾納克樹立為蘇聯詩人榜樣,而那時他只出過一本詩集 《生活啊,我的姊妹》。樹立帕斯捷爾納克為詩人榜樣,拉普等成員自然不服,但史達林默認了。史達林所以容忍帕斯捷爾納克,是因為他從不拉幫結夥,不會對史 達林構成威脅。第二年,帕斯捷爾納克「詩人榜樣」的地位,被死去的馬雅可夫斯基代替了。
有兩件事表明帕斯捷爾納克狷介耿直的性格。一九三三年十一月詩人曼德爾施塔姆因寫了一首諷刺史達林的詩而被逮捕。女詩人阿赫瑪托娃和帕斯捷爾納克分頭營 救。帕斯捷爾納克找到布哈林,布哈林立刻給史達林寫信,信中提到「帕斯捷爾納克也很著急!」那時帕斯捷爾納克住在公共住宅,全住宅只有一部電話。一天帕斯 捷爾納克忽然接到史達林從克里姆林宮打來的電話。史達林告訴他將重審曼德爾施塔姆的案子。史達林問他為什?不營救自己的朋友?為營救自己的朋友,他,史達 林,敢翻牆破門。帕斯捷爾納克回答,如果他不營救,史達林未必知道這個案子,儘管他同曼德爾施塔姆談不上朋友。史達林問他為什?不找作協。帕斯捷爾納克說 作協已經不起作用。帕斯捷爾納克說他想和史達林談談。史達林問談什?,帕斯捷爾納克說談生與死的問題,史達林掛上電話。但這個電話使帕斯捷爾納克身價倍 增。公共住宅的鄰居見到他點頭哈腰;出入作協,有人為他脫大衣穿大衣;在作協食堂請人吃飯,作協付款。另一件事是帕斯捷爾納克拒絕在一份申請書上簽名。一 九三七年夏天,大清洗期間,某人奉命到作家協會書記處徵集要求處決圖哈切夫斯基、亞基爾和埃德曼等紅軍將帥的簽名。帕斯捷爾納克與這幾位紅軍將帥素無往 來,但知道他們是內戰時期聞名遐邇的英雄。圖哈切夫斯基是蘇聯五大元帥之一,曾在南方、烏拉爾地區與白軍作戰,亞基爾和埃德曼是內戰時期的傳奇英雄,為布 爾什維克最終奪取政權立下汗馬功勞。現在要槍斃他們,並且要徵集作家們的簽名。作家們紛紛簽名,帕斯捷爾納克卻拒絕簽名。帕斯捷爾納克說,他們的生命不是 我給予的,我也無權剝奪他們的生命。作協書記斯塔夫斯基批評帕斯捷爾納克固執,缺乏黨性。但集體簽名信《我們決不讓蘇聯敵人活下去》發表後,上面竟有帕斯 捷爾納克的名字。帕斯捷爾納克大怒,找斯塔夫斯基解釋,斯塔夫斯基說可能登記時弄錯了,但帕斯捷爾納克不依不饒。事情最終還是不了了之。
帕斯捷爾納克是多情種子,談他的生平離不開女人。這裡只能重點介紹一位與《日瓦戈醫生》有關的女友伊文斯卡婭。帕斯捷爾納克的妻子季娜伊達是理家能手,但 不理解帕斯捷爾納克的文學創作,兩人在文學創作上無法溝通。此刻伊文斯卡婭出現了。一九四六年他們在西蒙諾夫主編的《新世界》編輯部邂逅。伊文斯卡婭是編 輯還是西蒙諾夫的秘書說法不一。伊文斯卡婭是帕斯捷爾納克的崇拜者,讀過他所有的作品。帕斯捷爾納克欣賞伊文斯卡婭的文學鑒賞力和她的容貌、體型、風度。 兩人相愛了。帕斯捷爾納克的一切出版事宜都由她代管,因為妻子季娜伊達沒有這種能力。
戰後帕斯捷爾納克的詩作再次受到作協批評。作協書記蘇爾科夫批評他視野狹窄,詩作沒有迎合戰後國民經濟恢復時期的主旋律。帕斯捷爾納克的詩作無處發表,他 只好轉而翻譯莎士比亞和歌德的作品以維持生活。戰後他開始寫《日瓦戈醫生》。寫好一章就讀給丘科夫斯基等好友聽,也在伊文斯卡婭寓所讀給她的朋友們聽。帕 斯捷爾納克寫《日瓦戈醫生》的事傳到作協。作協為阻止他繼續寫《日瓦戈醫生》,於一九四九年十月把伊文斯卡婭送進監獄,罪名是夥同《星火》雜誌副主編?造 委託書。帕斯捷爾納克明知此事與伊文斯卡婭無關,但無力拯救她,便繼續寫《日瓦戈醫生》以示抗議。伊文斯卡婭在監獄中受盡折磨,在繁重的勞動中流產了。這 是她與帕斯捷爾納克的孩子。伊文斯卡婭一九五三年被釋放。帕斯捷爾納克的一切出版事宜仍由她承擔。一九五六年帕斯捷爾納克完成《日瓦戈醫生》,伊文斯卡婭 把手稿送給《新世界》雜誌和文學出版社。《新世界》否定小說,由西蒙諾夫和費定寫退稿信,嚴厲譴責小說的反蘇和反人民的傾向。文學出版社也拒絕出版小說。 一九五七年義大利出版商、義共黨員費爾特里內利通過伊文斯卡婭讀到手稿,非常欣賞。他把手稿帶回義大利,準備翻譯出版。費爾特里內利回國前與帕斯捷爾納克 洽商出版小說事宜,後者提出必須先在蘇聯國內出版才能在國外出版。伊文斯卡婭再次找蘇聯出版機構洽商,懇求出刪節本,把礙眼的地方刪去,但仍遭拒絕。蘇聯 意識形態掌門人蘇斯洛夫勒令帕斯捷爾納克以修改小說為名要回手稿。帕斯捷爾納克按蘇斯洛夫的指示做了,但義大利出版商費爾特里內利拒絕退稿。費爾特里內利 是義共黨員。蘇斯洛夫飛到羅馬,請義共總書記陶里亞蒂助一臂之力。哪知費爾特里內利搶先一步退黨,陶里亞蒂無能為力。費爾特里內利一九五七年出版了義大利 文譯本,接著歐洲又出版了英、德、法文譯本。《日瓦戈醫生》成為一九五八年西方的暢銷書,但在蘇聯卻是一片罵聲。報刊罵他是因為蘇斯洛夫丟了面子。群?罵 是因為領導罵,但誰也沒讀過《日瓦戈醫生》。帕斯捷爾納克的不少作家同仁不同他打招呼。妻子季娜伊達嚇得膽戰心驚。只有伊文斯卡婭堅決支援帕斯捷爾納克, 安慰他說小說遲早會被祖國人民接受,並把一切責任攬在自己身上。伊文斯卡婭與帕斯捷爾納克不僅情投意合,而且還是事業上的絕好搭檔。
蘇斯洛夫把伊文斯卡婭招到蘇共中央,讓她交代帕斯捷爾納克與義大利出版商的關係。伊文斯卡婭一口咬定手稿是她交給義大利出版商看的,與帕斯捷爾納克無關。 蘇斯洛夫召見伊文斯卡婭後,對帕斯捷爾納克的批判升級。無知青年在帕斯捷爾納克住宅周圍騷擾,日夜不得安寧。伊文斯卡婭找到費定,請他轉告中央,如果繼續 騷擾帕斯捷爾納克,她便和帕斯捷爾納克雙雙自殺。這一招很靈驗,但只持續到一九五八年十月二十三日。
十月二十三日這一天,瑞典文學院把一九五八年度諾貝爾文學獎授予帕斯捷爾納克,以表彰他在「當代抒情詩和偉大的俄羅斯敘述文學領域所取得的巨大成就」。隻 字未提《日瓦戈醫生》。帕斯捷爾納克也向瑞典文學院發電報表示感謝:「無比感激、激動、光榮、惶恐、羞愧。」當晚帕斯捷爾納克的兩位作家鄰居,丘科夫斯基 和伊萬諾夫到帕斯捷爾納克家祝賀。次日清晨第三位鄰居、作協領導人費定來找帕斯捷爾納克,叫他立即聲明拒絕諾貝爾獎,否則將被開除出作家協會。費定叫帕斯 捷爾納克到他家去,宣傳部文藝處處長卡爾波夫正在那裡等候他。帕斯捷爾納克不肯到費定家去,暈倒在家裡。帕斯捷爾納克甦醒過來馬上給作協寫信:「任何力量 也無法迫使我拒絕別人給與我的--一個生活在俄羅斯的當代作家的,即蘇聯作家的榮譽。但諾貝爾獎金我將轉贈蘇聯保衛和平委員會。我知道在輿論壓力下必定會 提出開除我作家協會會籍的問題。我並未期待你們公正對待我。你們可以槍斃我,將我流放,你們什麼事都幹得出來。我預先寬恕你們。」帕斯捷爾納克態度堅決, 決不拒絕領獎。但他與伊文斯卡婭通過電話後,態度完全變了。他給瑞典文學院拍了一份電報:「鑒於我所歸屬的社會對這種榮譽的解釋,我必須拒絕接受授予我 的、我本不配獲得的獎金。勿因我自願拒絕而不快。」他同時給黨中央發電報:「恢復伊文斯卡婭的工作,我已拒絕接受獎金。」但一切為時已晚矣。在團中央第一 書記謝米恰斯內的煽動下,一群人砸碎帕斯捷爾納克住宅的玻璃,高呼把帕斯捷爾納克驅逐出境的口號。直到印度總理尼赫魯給赫魯雪夫打電話,聲稱如果不停止迫 害帕斯捷爾納克,他將擔任保衛帕斯捷爾納克委員會主席,迫害才終止。
一九六○年帕斯捷爾納克與世長辭,他的訃告上寫的是「蘇聯文學基金會會員」,官方連他是詩人和作家都不承認了。
《日瓦戈醫生》的主題簡單說,是俄國知識份子在社會變革風浪的大潮中沉浮與死亡。時間跨度從一九○五年革命、第一次世界大戰、十月政變、內戰一直到新經濟 政策。俄國知識分子個人的命運不同,有的流亡國外,有的留在國內,留在國內的遭遇都很悲慘。我簡單介紹日瓦戈、拉拉等幾位主要人物。尤里.日瓦戈父親是大 資本家,但到他這一代已破產。日瓦戈借住在格羅梅科教授家,與教授女兒東妮婭一起長大,後兩人結為夫妻。日瓦戈醫學院畢業後到軍隊服役,參加了第一次世界 大戰。他看到俄軍落後、野蠻、不堪一擊。他支援二月革命,並不理解十月政變,卻讚歎道:「多麼了不起的手術!巧妙的一刀就把多年發臭的潰瘍切除了!」「這 是前所未有的事,這是歷史的奇蹟……」但十月政變後的形勢使他難以忍受。首先是饑餓。布爾什維克不組織生產糧食,也不從國外進口糧食,而是掠奪農民的糧 食。徵糧隊四處徵糧,激起農民的反抗。其他產品也不是生產,而是強制再分配。其次是沒有柴火,隆冬天氣不生火難以過冬。一個精緻的衣櫥只能換回一捆劈柴。 格羅梅科住宅大部分被強佔。他們一家在莫斯科活不下去了。日瓦戈同父異母弟弟勸他們離開城市到農村去。他們遷往西伯利亞尤里亞金市附近的瓦雷金諾,那是東 妮婭外祖父克呂格爾先前的領地。過起日出而作日入而息的日子。日瓦戈被布爾什維克遊擊隊劫持,給遊擊隊當醫生。他看到遊擊隊員野蠻兇殘,隊長吸食毒品,於 是逃出遊擊隊尋找摯愛的女友拉拉。他妻子一家被驅逐出境。他從西伯利亞千里跋涉重返莫斯科,一九二八年猝死在莫斯科街頭。
拉拉是俄國傳統婦女的典型,命蹇時乖,慘死在婦女勞改營中。她是縫紉店主的女兒,但與意志薄弱、水性楊花的母親完全不同。拉拉追求完美,但上中學時被母親 情人科馬羅夫斯基誘姦,醒悟後決定殺死科馬羅夫斯基。拉拉嫁給工人出身的安季波夫,兩人一起離開莫斯科到西伯利亞中學執教。安季波夫知道拉拉的遭遇後,立 志為天下被侮辱和被損害的人復仇。他?開妻子女兒加入軍隊,後轉為紅軍。安季波夫作戰勇敢,很快升為高級軍官,為布爾什維克打天下出生入死,立下汗馬功 勞。但隨著紅軍的節節勝利,紅軍將領安季波夫反而陷入絕境。布爾什維克始終不相信他,又因為他知道的事太多,必須除掉他。安季波夫東躲西藏,終於開槍自 殺。他死了,拉拉已無活路,最後被科馬羅夫斯基誘騙到遠東共和國。
暴力革命毀壞了社會生活,使歷史倒退。作者筆下內戰後的情景十分恐怖:「斑疹傷寒在鐵路沿線和附近地區肆虐,整村整村的人被奪去生命。現實證實了一句話: 人不為己天誅地滅。行人遇見行人互相躲避,一方必須殺死另一方,否則被對方殺死。個別地方已經發生人吃人的現象。人類文明法則完全喪失作用……」在帕斯捷 爾納克看來,那場革命是一切不幸的根源,內戰使歷史倒退,倒退到洪荒年代。
2014年俄文完整中文譯本首次出版,最新且唯一俄文直譯繁體中文版。 195...
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“The most extraordinary discoveries are made when the artist is overwhelmed by what he has to say. Then he uses the old language in his urgency and the old language is transformed from within.”
—Boris Pasternak, born on this day in 1890, The Art of Fiction No. 25, interviewed by Olga Carlisle in “The Paris Review” no. 24 (Summer-Fall 1960): http://bit.ly/1vhrxuj



I decided to visit Boris Pasternak about ten days after my arrival in Moscow one January. I had heard much about him from my parents, who had known him for many years, and I had heard and loved his poems since my...
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Interviews

Boris Pasternak, The Art of Fiction No. 25

Interviewed by Olga Carlisle
Fragment of a letter from Boris Pasternak to a fellow poet:
“The melodic authenticity of most of your work is very dear to me, as is your faithfulness to the principle of melody and to “ascent” in the supreme sense that Alexander Blok gave that word.
"You will understand from a reading of my most recent works that I, too, am under the power of the same influence, but we must try to make sure that, as in Alexander Blok, this note works, reveals, incarnates, and expresses thoughts to their ultimate clarity, instead of being only a reminder of sounds which originally charmed us, an inconsequential echo dying in the air.”

I decided to visit Boris Pasternak about ten days after my arrival in Moscow one January. I had heard much about him from my parents, who had known him for many years, and I had heard and loved his poems since my earliest years.
I had messages and small presents to take to him from my parents and from other admirers. But Pasternak had no phone, I discovered in Moscow. I dismissed the thought of writing a note as too impersonal. I feared that in view of the volume of his correspondence he might have some sort of standard rejection form for requests to visit him. It took a great effort to call unannounced on a man so famous. I was afraid that Pasternak in later years would not live up to my image of him suggested by his poems—lyric, impulsive, above all youthful.
My parents had mentioned that when they saw Pasternak in 1957, just before he received the Nobel Prize, he had held open house on Sundays—a tradition among Russian writers which extends to Russians abroad. As an adolescent in Paris, I remember being taken to call on the writer Remizov and the famous philosopher Berdyayev on Sunday afternoons.
On my second Sunday in Moscow I suddenly decided to go to Peredelkino. It was a radiant day, and in the center of the city, where I stayed, the fresh snow sparkled against the Kremlin’s gold cupolas. The streets were full of sightseers—out-of-town families bundled in peasant-like fashion walking toward the Kremlin. Many carried bunches of fresh mimosa—sometimes one twig at a time. On winter Sundays large shipments of mimosa are brought to Moscow. Russians buy them to give to one another or simply to carry, as if to mark the solemnity of the day.
I decided to take a taxi to Peredelkino, although I knew of an electric train which went from the Kiev railroad station near the outskirts of Moscow. I was suddenly in a great hurry to get there, although I had been warned time and again by knowledgeable Muscovites of Pasternak’s unwillingness to receive foreigners. I was prepared to deliver my messages and perhaps shake his hand and turn back.
The cab driver, a youngish man with the anonymous air of taxi drivers everywhere, assured me that he knew Peredelkino very wellit was about thirty kilometers out on the Kiev highway. The fare would be about thirty rubles (about three dollars). He seemed to find it completely natural that I should want to drive out there on that lovely sunny day.
But the driver’s claim to know the road turned out to be a boast, and soon we were lost. We had driven at fair speed along the four-lane highway free of snow and of billboards or gas stations. There were a few discreet road signs but they failed to direct us to Peredelkino, and so we began stopping whenever we encountered anyone to ask directions. Everyone was friendly and willing to help, but nobody seemed to know of Peredelkino. We drove for a long time on an unpaved, frozen road through endless white fields. Finally we entered a village from another era, in complete contrast with the immense new apartment houses in the outskirts of Moscow—low, ancient-looking log cottages bordering a straight main street. A horse-drawn sled went by; kerchiefed women were grouped near a small wooden church. We found we were in a settlement very close to Peredelkino. After a ten-minute drive on a small winding road through dense evergreens I was in front of Pasternak’s house. I had seen photographs of it in magazines and suddenly there it was on my right: brown, with bay windows, standing on a slope against a background of fir trees and overlooking the road by which we had accidentally entered the town.
Peredelkino is a loosely settled little town, hospitable-looking and cheerful at sunny midday. Many writers and artists live in it year-round in houses provided, as far as I know, for their lifetimes, and there is a large rest home for writers and journalists run by the Soviet Writers’ Union. But part of the town still belongs to small artisans and peasants and there is nothing “arty” in the atmosphere.
Chukovsky, the famous literary critic and writer of children’s books, lives there in a comfortable and hospitable house lined with books—he runs a lovely small library for the town’s children. Constantin Fedin, one of the best known of living Russian novelists, lives next door to Pasternak. He is now the secretary general of the Writers’ Union—a post long held by Alexander Fadeev, who also lived here until his death in 1956. Later, Pasternak showed me Isaac Babel’s house, where he was arrested in the late 1930s and to which he never returned.
Pasternak’s house was on a gently curving country road which leads down the hill to a brook. On that sunny afternoon the hill was crowded with children on skis and sleds, bundled like teddy bears. Across the road from the house was a large fenced field—a communal field cultivated in summer; now it was a vast white expanse dominated by a little cemetery on a hill, like a bit of background out of a Chagall painting. The tombs were surrounded by wooden fences painted a bright blue, the crosses were planted at odd angles, and there were bright pink and red paper flowers half buried in the snow. It was a cheerful cemetery.
The house’s veranda made it look much like an American frame house of forty years ago, but the firs against which it stood marked it as Russian. They grew very close together and gave the feeling of deep forest, although there were only small groves of them around the town.
I paid the driver and with great trepidation pushed open the gate separating the garden from the road and walked up to the dark house. At the small veranda to one side there was a door with a withered, half-torn note in English pinned on it saying, “I am working now. I cannot receive anybody, please go away.” After a moment’s hesitation I chose to disregard it, mostly because it was so old-looking and also because of the little packages in my hands. I knocked, and almost immediately the door was opened—by Pasternak himself.
He was wearing an astrakhan hat. He was strikingly handsome; with his high cheek-bones and dark eyes and fur hat he looked like someone out of a Russian tale. After the mounting anxiety of the trip I suddenly felt relaxed—it seemed to me that I had never really doubted that I would meet Pasternak.
I introduced myself as Olga Andreev, Vadim Leonidovitch’s daughter, using my father’s semiformal name. It is made up of his own first name and his father’s, the short-story writer and playwright, Leonid, author of the play He Who Gets Slappedand The Seven That Were Hanged, etc. Andreev is a fairly common Russian name.
It took Pasternak a minute to realize that I had come from abroad to visit him. He greeted me with great warmth, taking my hand in both of his, and asking about my mother’s health and my father’s writing, and when I was last in Paris, and looking closely into my face in search of family resemblances. He was going out to pay some calls. Had I been a moment later I would have missed him. He asked me to walk part of the way with himas far as his first stop, at the Writers’ Club.
While Pasternak was getting ready to go I had a chance to look around the simply furnished dining room into which I had been shown. From the moment I had stepped inside I had been struck by the similarity of the house to Leo Tolstoy’s house in Moscow, which I had visited the day before. The atmosphere in both combined austerity and hospitality in a way which I think must have been characteristic of a Russian intellectual’s home in the nineteenth century. The furniture was comfortable, but old and unpretentious. The rooms looked ideal for informal entertaining, for children’s gatherings, for the studious life. Although it was extremely simple for its period, Tolstoy’s house was bigger and more elaborate than Pasternak’s, but the unconcern about elegance or display was the same.
Usually, one walked into Pasternak’s house through the kitchen, where one was greeted by a tiny, smiling, middle-aged cook who helped to brush the snow off one’s clothes. Then came the dining room with a bay window where geraniums grew. On the walls hung charcoal studies by Leonid Pasternak, the writer’s painter father. There were life-studies and portraits. One recognized Tolstoy, Gorky, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff. There were sketches of Boris Pasternak and his brother and sisters as children, of ladies in big hats with veils. . . . It was very much the world of Pasternak’s early reminiscences, that of his poems about adolescent love.
Pasternak was soon ready to go. We stepped out into the brilliant sunlight and walked through the evergreen grove behind the house in rather deep snow which sifted into my low-cut boots.
Soon we were on a packed road, much more comfortable for walking although it had treacherous, icy patches. Pasternak took long, lanky steps. On particularly perilous spots he would take my arm; otherwise he gave all his attention to the conversation. Walks are an established part of life in Russia—like drinking tea or lengthy philosophical discussions—a part he apparently loved. We took what was obviously a very roundabout path to the Writers’ Club. The stroll lasted for about forty minutes. He first plunged into an elaborate discussion of the art of translating. He would stop from time to time to ask about the political and literary situations in France and in the United States. He said that he rarely read papers—“Unless I sharpen my pencil and glance over the sheet of newspaper into which I collect the shavings. This is how I learned last fall that there was a near revolution against de Gaulle in Algeria, and that Soustelle was ousted—Soustelle was ousted,” he repeated—a rough translation of his words, emphasizing both approval of de Gaulle’s decision and the similarity in the words as he spoke them. But actually he seemed remarkably well informed about literary life abroad; it seemed to interest him greatly.


Leo Tolstoy, by Leonid Pasternak


From the first moment I was charmed and impressed by the similarity of Pasternak’s speech to his poetry—full of alliterations and unusual images. He related words to each other musically, without however at any time sounding affected or sacrificing the exact meaning. For somebody acquainted with his verse in Russian, to have conversed with Pasternak is a memorable experience. His word sense was so personal that one felt the conversation was somehow the continuation, the elaboration of a poem, a rushed speech, with waves of words and images following one another in a crescendo.
Later, I remarked to him on the musical quality of his speech. “In writing as in speaking,” he said, “the music of the word is never just a matter of sound. It does not result from the harmony of vowels and consonants. It results from the relation between the speech and its meaning. And meaning—content—must always lead.”
Often I found it difficult to believe that I was speaking to a man of seventy; Pasternak appeared remarkably young and in good health. There was something a little strange and forbidding in this youthfulness as if something—was it art?—had mixed itself with the very substance of the man to preserve him. His movements were completely youthful—the gestures of the hands, the manner in which he threw his head back. His friend, the poetess Marina Tsvetaeva, once wrote, “Pasternak looks at the same time like an Arab and like his horse.” And indeed, with his dark complexion and somehow archaic features Pasternak did have something of an Arabic face. At certain moments he seemed suddenly to become aware of the impact of his own extraordinary face, of his whole personality. He seemed to withdraw for an instant, half closing his slanted brown eyes, turning his head away, vaguely reminiscent of a horse balking.
I had been told by some writers in Moscow—most of them didn’t know him personally—that Pasternak was a man in love with his own image. But then I was told many contradictory things about him in the few days I spent in Moscow. Pasternak seemed a living legend—a hero for some, a man who had sold out to the enemies of Russia for others. Intense admiration for his poetry among writers and artists was universal. It was the title character of Doctor Zhivago that seemed most controversial. “Nothing but a worn-out intellectual of no interest whatsoever,” said a well-known young poet, otherwise very liberal-minded and a great admirer of Pasternak’s poetry.
In any event, I found that there was no truth to the charge that Pasternak was an egocentric. On the contrary, he seemed intensely aware of the world around him and reacted to every change of mood in people near him. It is hard to imagine a more perceptive conversationalist. He grasped the most elusive thought at once. The conversation lost all heaviness. Pasternak asked questions about my parents. Although he had seen them but a few times in his life, he remembered everything about them and their tastes. He recalled with surprising exactness some of my father’s poems which he had liked. He wanted to know about writers I knew—Russians in Paris, and French, and Americans. American literature seemed particularly to interest him, although he knew only the important names. I soon discovered that it was difficult to make him talk about himself, which I had hoped he would do.
As we walked in the sunshine, I told Pasternak what interest and admirationDoctor Zhivago had aroused in the West and particularly in the United States, despite the fact that in my and many others’ opinion the translation into English did not do justice to his book.
“Yes,” he said, “I am aware of this interest and I am immensely happy, and proud of it. I get an enormous amount of mail from abroad about my work. In fact, it is quite a burden at times, all those inquiries that I have to answer, but then it is indispensable to keep up relations across boundaries. As for the translators ofDoctor Zhivago, do not blame them too much. It’s not their fault. They are used, like translators everywhere, to reproduce the literal sense rather than the tone of what is said—and of course it is the tone that matters. Actually, the only interesting sort of translation is that of classics. There is challenging work. As far as modern writing is concerned, it is rarely rewarding to translate it, although it might be easy. You said you were a painter. Well, translation is very much like copying paintings. Imagine yourself copying a Malevich; wouldn’t it be boring? And that is precisely what I have to do with the well-known Czech surrealist Nezval. He is not really bad, but all this writing of the twenties has terribly aged. This translation which I have promised to finish and my own correspondence take much too much of my time.”
Do you have difficulty receiving your mail?
“At present I receive all of it, everything sent me, I assume. There’s a lot of it—which I’m delighted to receive, though I’m troubled by the volume of it and the compulsion to answer it all.
“As you can imagine, some of the letters I get about Doctor Zhivago are quite absurd. Recently somebody writing about Doctor Zhivago in France was inquiring about the plan of the novel. I guess it baffles the French sense of order. . . . But how silly, for the plan of the novel is outlined by the poems accompanying it. This is partly why I chose to publish them alongside the novel. They are there also to give the novel more body, more richness. For the same reason I used religious symbolism—to give warmth to the book. Now some critics have gotten so wrapped up in those symbolswhich are put in the book the way stoves go into a house, to warm it up—they would like me to commit myself and climb into the stove.”
Have you read Edmund Wilsons critical essays on Doctor Zhivago?
"Yes, I have read them and appreciated their perception and intelligence, but you must realize that the novel must not be judged on theological lines. Nothing is further removed from my understanding of the world. One must live and write restlessly, with the help of the new reserves that life offers. I am weary of this notion of faithfulness to a point of view at all cost. Life around us is ever changing, and I believe that one should try to change one’s slant accordingly—at least once every ten years. The great heroic devotion to one point of view is very alien to me—it’s a lack of humility. Mayakovsky killed himself because his pride would not be reconciled with something new happening within himself—or around him.”
We had reached a gate beside a long, low wooden fence. Pasternak stopped. He was due there; our conversation had already made him slightly late. I said good-bye with regret. There were so many things that I wanted to ask him right then. Pasternak showed me the way to the railroad station, very close by, downhill behind the little cemetery. A little electric train took me into Moscow in less than an hour. It is the one described so accurately by Pasternak in On Early Trains:

...And, worshipful, I humbly watch
Old peasant women, Muscovites,
Plain artisans, plain laborers;
Young students and suburbanites.

I see no traces of subjection;
Born of unhappiness, dismay,
Or want. They bear their daily trials
Like masters who have come to stay

Disposed in every sort of posture;
In little knots, in quiet nooks;
The children and the young sit still;
Engrossed, like experts, reading books

Then Moscow greets us in a mist
Of darkness turning silver-gray . . .

My subsequent two visits with Pasternak merge in my memory into one long literary conversation. Although he declined to give me a formal interview (“For this, you must come back when I am less busy, next fall perhaps”) he seemed interested in the questions which I wanted to ask him. Except for meals, we were alone, and there were no interruptions. Both times as I was about to leave, Pasternak kissed my hand in the old-fashioned Russian manner, and asked me to come back the following Sunday.
I remember coming to Pasternak’s house from the railroad station at dusk, taking a shortcut I had learned near the cemetery. Suddenly the wind grew very strong; a snowstorm was beginning. I could see snow flying in great round waves past the station’s distant lights. It grew dark very quickly; I had difficulty walking against the wind. I knew this to be customary Russian winter weather, but it was the first real metol—snowstorm—I had seen. It recalled poems by Pushkin and Blok, and it brought to mind Pasternak’s early poems, and the snowstorms of Doctor Zhivago. To be in his house a few minutes later, and to hear his elliptical sentences so much like his verse, seemed strange.
I had arrived too late to attend the midday dinner; Pasternak’s family had retired, the house seemed deserted. Pasternak insisted that I have something to eat and the cook brought some venison and vodka into the dining room. It was about four o’clock and the room was dark and warm, shut off from the world with only the sound of snow and wind outside. I was hungry and the food delicious. Pasternak sat across the table from me discussing my grandfather, Leonid Andreev. He had recently reread some of his stories and liked them. “They bear the stamp of those fabulous Russian nineteen-hundreds. Those years are now receding in our memory, and yet they loom in the mind like great mountains seen in the distance, enormous. Andreev was under a Nietzschean spell, he took from Nietzsche his taste for excesses. So did Scriabin. Nietzsche satisfied the Russian longing for the extreme, the absolute. In music and writing, men had to have this enormous scope before they acquired specificity, became themselves.”
Pasternak told me about a piece he had recently written for a magazine, on the subject of “What is man?” “How old-fashioned Nietzsche seems, he who was the most important thinker in the days of my youth! What enormous influence—on Wagner, on Gorky . . . Gorky was impregnated with his ideas. Actually, Nietzsche’s principal function was to be the transmitter of the bad taste of his period. It is Kierkegaard, barely known in those years, who was destined to influence deeply our own years. I would like to know the works of Berdyayev better; he is in the same line of thought, I believe—truly a writer of our time.”
It grew quite dark in the dining room and we moved to a little sitting room on the same floor where a light was on. Pasternak brought me tangerines for dessert. I ate them with a strange feeling of something already experienced; tangerines appear in Pasternak’s work very often—in the beginning of Doctor Zhivago, in early poems. They seem to stand for a sort of ritual thirst-quenching. And then there was another vivid evocation of a Pasternak poem, like the snowstorm which blew outside—an open grand piano, black and enormous, filling up most of the room:

. . . And yet we are nearest
In twilight here, the music tossed upon
the fire, year after year, like pages of a diary.*

On these walls, as in the dining room, there were sketches by Leonid Pasternak. The atmosphere was both serious and relaxed.
It seemed a good time to ask Pasternak a question which interested me especially. I had heard from people who had seen him while he was working onDoctor Zhivago that he rejected most of his early verse as too tentative and dated. I had difficulty believing it. There is a classical perfection to Themes and Variationsand My Sister, Life, experimental as they were in the 1920s. I found that writers and poets in Russia knew them by heart and would recite them with fervor. Often one would detect the influence of Pasternak in the verse of young poets. Mayakovsky and Pasternak, each in his own manner, are the very symbol of the years of the Revolution and the 1920s. Then art and the revolutionary ideas seemed inseparable. It was enough to let oneself be carried by the wave of overwhelming events and ideas. There were fewer heartbreaking choices to make (and I detected a longing for those years on the part of young Russian intellectuals). Was it true that Pasternak rejected those early works?
In Pasternak’s reply I sensed a note of slight irritation. It might have been because he didn’t like to be solely admired for those poems—did he realize perhaps that they are unsurpassable? Or was it the more general weariness of the artist dissatisfied with past achievements, concerned with immediate artistic problems only?
“These poems were like rapid sketches—just compare them with the works of our elders. Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were not just novelists, Blok not just a poet. In the midst of literature—the world of commonplaces, conventions, established names—they were three voices which spoke because they had something to say . . . and it sounded like thunder. As for the facility of the twenties, take my father for example. How much search, what efforts to finish one of his paintings! Our success in the twenties was partly due to chance. My generation found itself in the focal point of history. Our works were dictated by the times. They lacked universality; now they have aged. Moreover, I believe that it is no longer possible for lyric poetry to express the immensity of our experience. Life has grown too cumbersome, too complicated. We have acquired values which are best expressed in prose. I have tried to express them through my novel, I have them in mind as I write my play.”
What about Zhivago? Do you still feel, as you told my parents in 1957, that he is the most significant figure of your work?
“When I wrote Doctor Zhivago I had the feeling of an immense debt toward my contemporaries. It was an attempt to repay it. This feeling of debt was overpowering as I slowly progressed with the novel. After so many years of just writing lyric poetry or translating, it seemed to me that it was my duty to make a statement about our epoch—about those years, remote and yet looming so closely over us. Time was pressing. I wanted to record the past and to honor in Doctor Zhivago the beautiful and sensitive aspects of the Russia of those years. There will be no return of those days, or of those of our fathers and forefathers, but in the great blossoming of the future I foresee their values will revive. I have tried to describe them. I don’t know whether Doctor Zhivago is fully successful as a novel, but then with all its faults I feel it has more value than those early poems. It is richer, more humane than the works of my youth.”
Among your contemporaries in the twenties which ones do you think have best endured?
“You know how I feel about Mayakovsky. I have told it at great length in my autobiography, Safe Conduct. I am indifferent to most of his later works, with the exception of his last unfinished poem ‘At the Top of My Voice.’ The falling apart of form, the poverty of thought, the unevenness which is characteristic of poetry in that period are alien to me. But there are exceptions. I love all of Yesenin, who captures so well the smell of Russian earth. I place Tsvetaeva highest—she was a formed poet from her very beginning. In an age of affectations she had her own voice—human, classical. She was a woman with a man’s soul. Her struggle with everyday life gave her strength. She strived and reached perfect clarity. She is a greater poet than Akhmatova, whose simplicity and lyricism I have always admired. Tsvetaeva’s death was one of the great sadnesses of my life.”
What about Andrei Bely, so influential in those years?
Bely was too hermetic, too limited. His scope is comparable to that of chamber music—never greater. If he had really suffered, he might have written the major work of which he was capable. But he never came into contact with real life. Is it perhaps the fate of writers who die young like Bely, this fascination with new forms? I have never understood those dreams of a new language, of a completely original form of expression. Because of this dream, much of the work of the twenties which was but stylistic experimentation has ceased to exist. The most extraordinary discoveries are made when the artist is overwhelmed by what he has to say. Then he uses the old language in his urgency and the old language is transformed from within. Even in those years one felt a little sorry for Bely because he was so cut off from the real life which could have helped his genius to blossom.”
What about todays young poets?
“I am impressed by the extent that poetry seems a part of everyday life for Russians. Printings of twenty thousand volumes of poetry by young poets are amazing to a westerner, but actually poetry in Russia is not as alive as you might think. It is fairly limited to a group of intellectuals. And today’s poetry is often rather ordinary. It is like the pattern of a wallpaper, pleasant enough but without real raison dêtre. Of course some young people show talent—for example Yevtushenko.”
Wouldnt you say, however, that the first half of the Russian twentieth century is a time of high achievement in poetry rather than in prose?
“I don’t think that’s so any longer. I believe that prose is today’s medium—elaborate, rich prose like Faulkner’s. Today’s work must re-create whole segments of life. This is what I am trying to do in my new play. I say trying because everyday life has grown very complicated for me. It must be so anywhere for a well-known writer, but I am unprepared for such a role. I don’t like a life deprived of secrecy and quiet. It seems to me that in my youth there was work, an integral part of life which illuminated everything else in it. Now it is something I have to fight for. All those demands by scholars, editors, readers cannot be ignored, but together with the translations they devour my time. . . . You must tell people abroad who are interested in me that this is my only serious problem—this terrible lack of time.”

My last visit with Pasternak was a very long one. He had asked me to come early, in order to have a talk before the dinner which was to be a family feast. It was again a sunny Sunday. I arrived shortly before Pasternak returned from his morning stroll. As I was shown into his study, the house echoed with cheerful voices. Somewhere in the back of it, members of his family were assembled.
Pasternak’s study was a large, rather bare room on the second floor. Like the rest of the house it had little furniture—a large desk near the bay window, a couple of chairs, a sofa. The light coming from the window looking over the large snowy field was brilliant. Pinned on the light gray wooden walls there was a multitude of art postcards. When he came in, Pasternak explained to me that those were all sent to him by readers, mostly from abroad. Many were reproductions of religious scenes—medieval nativities, St. George killing the dragon, Mary Magdalene . . . They were related to Doctor Zhivagos themes.
After his walk, Pasternak looked especially well. He was wearing a collegiate-looking navy-blue blazer and was obviously in a good mood. He sat at the desk by the window and placed me across from him. As on other occasions, the atmosphere was relaxed and yet of great concentration. I remember vividly feeling happyPasternak looked so gay and the sun through the window was warm. As we sat there for two or more hours, I felt a longing to prolong those moments—I was leaving Moscow the next day—but the bright sunlight flooding the room inexorably faded as the day advanced.
Pasternak decided to tell me about his new play. He seemed to do so on the spur of the moment. Quite fascinated, I listened to him—there were few interruptions on my part. Once or twice, unsure of some historical or literary allusion, I asked him for explanation.
“I think that on account of your background—so close to the events of the Russian nineteenth century—you will be interested in the outlines of my new work. I am working on a trilogy. I have about a third of it written.
“I want to re-create a whole historical era, the nineteenth century in Russia with its main event, the liberation of the serfs. We have, of course, many works about that time, but there is no modern treatment of it. I want to write something panoramic, like Gogol’s Dead Souls. I hope that my plays will be as real, as involved with everyday life as Dead Souls. Although they will be long, I hope that they can be played in one evening. I think that most plays should be cut for staging. I admire the English for knowing how to cut Shakespeare, not just to keep what is essential, but rather to emphasize what is significant. The Comédie Française came to Moscow recently. They don’t cut Racine and I feel it is a serious mistake. Only what is expressive today, what works dramatically should be staged.
“My trilogy deals with three meaningful moments in the long process of liberating the serfs. The first play takes place in 1840—that is when unrest caused by serfdom is first felt throughout the country. The old feudal system is outlived, but no tangible hope is yet to be seen for Russia. The second one deals with the 1860s. Liberal landowners have appeared and the best among Russian aristocrats begin to be deeply stirred by western ideas. Unlike the two first plays, which are set in a great country estate, the third part will take place in St. Petersburg in the 1880s. But this part is but a project yet, while the first and second plays are partially written. I can tell you in more detail about those if you like.
“The first play describes life at its rawest, most trivial, in the manner of the first part of Dead Souls. It is existence before it has been touched by any form of spirituality.
“Imagine a large estate lost in the heart of rural Russia around 1840. It is in a state of great neglect, nearly bankrupt. The masters of the estate, the count and his wife, are away. They have gone on a trip to spare themselves the painful spectacle of the designation—by means of a lottery—of those among their peasants who must go into the army. As you know, military service lasted for twenty-five years in Russia in those times. The masters are about to return and the household is getting ready to receive them. In the opening scene we see the servants cleaning house—sweeping, dusting, hanging fresh curtains. There is a lot of confusion, of running around—laughter and jokes among the young servant girls.
“Actually, the times are troubled in this part of the Russian countryside. Soon the mood among the servants becomes more somber. From their conversations we learn that there are hidden bandits in the neighboring woods; they are probably runaway soldiers. We also hear of legends surrounding the estate, like that of the ‘house killer’ from the times of Catherine the Great. She was a sadistic woman, an actual historical figure who took delight in terrifying and torturing her serfs—her crimes so extreme at a time when almost anything was permitted to serf-owners that she was finally arrested.
“The servants also talk about a plaster bust standing high on a cupboard. It is a beautiful young man’s head in eighteenth-century hair dress. This bust is said to have a magical meaning. Its destinies are linked to those of the estate. It must therefore be dusted with extreme care, lest it be broken.
“The main character in the play is Prokor, the keeper of the estate. He is about to leave for town to sell wood and wheatthe estate lives off such sales—but he joins in the general mood instead of going. He remembers some old masquerade costumes stored away in a closet and decides to play a trick on his superstitious fellow servants. He dresses himself as a devil—big bulging eyes like a fish. Just as he emerges in his grotesque costume, the masters’ arrival is announced. In haste the servants group themselves at the entrance to welcome the count and his wife. Prokor has no other alternative but to hide himself in a closet.
“As the count and countess come in, we begin at once to sense that there is a great deal of tension between them, and we find out that during their trip home the count has been trying to get his wife to give him her jewels—all that’s left besides the mortgaged estate. She has refused, and when he threatened her with violence a young valet traveling with them defended her—an unbelievable defiance. He hasn’t been punished yet, but it’s only a question of time before the count’s wrath is unleashed against him.
“As the count renews his threats against the countess, the young valet, who has nothing to lose anyway, suddenly reaches for one of the count’s pistols which have just been brought in from the carriage. He shoots at the count. There is a great panicservants rushing around and screaming. The plaster statue tumbles down from the cupboard and breaks into a thousand pieces. It wounds one of the young servant girls, blinding her. She is ‘The Blind Beauty’ for whom the trilogy is named. The title is, of course, symbolic of Russia, oblivious for so long of its own beauty and its own destinies. Although she is a serf, the blind beauty is also an artist; she is a marvelous singer, an important member of the estate’s chorus of serfs.
“As the wounded count is carried out of the room, the countess, unseen in the confusion, hands her jewels to the young valet, who manages to make his escape. It is poor Prokor, still costumed as a devil and hidden in the closet, who is eventually accused of having stolen them. As the countess does not reveal the truth, he is convicted of the theft and sent to Siberia. . . .
“As you see, all this is very melodramatic, but I think that the theater should try to be emotional, colorful. I think everybody’s tired of stages where nothing happens. The theater is the art of emotions—it is also that of the concrete. The trend should be toward appreciating melodrama again: Victor Hugo, Schiller . . ..
“I am working now on the second play. As it stands, it’s broken into separate scenes. The setting is the same estate, but times have changed. We are in 1860, on the eve of the liberation of the serfs. The estate now belongs to a nephew of the count. He would have already freed his serfs but for his fears of hurting the common cause. He is impregnated with liberal ideas and loves the arts. And his passion is theater. He has an outstanding theatrical company. Of course, the actors are his serfs, but their reputation extends to all of Russia.
“The son of the young woman blinded in the first play is the principal actor of the group. He is also the hero of this part of the trilogy. His name is Agafon, a marvelously talented actor. The count has provided him with an outstanding education.
“The play opens with a snowstorm.” Pasternak described it with large movements of his hands. “An illustrious guest is expected at the estate—none other than Alexandre Dumas, then traveling in Russia. He is invited to attend the premiere of a new play. The play is called The Suicide. I might write it—a play within a play as in Hamlet. I would love to write a melodrama in the taste of the middle of the nineteenth century. . . .
“Alexandre Dumas and his entourage are snowed in at a relay station not too far from the estate. A scene takes place there, and who should the relay-master be but Prokor, the former estate keeper? He has been back from Siberia for some years—released when the countess disclosed his innocence on her deathbed. He has become increasingly prosperous running the relay station. And yet despite the advent of new times, the scene at the inn echoes the almost medieval elements of the first play: we see the local executioner and his aides stop at the inn. They are traveling from the town to their residence deep in the woods—by custom they are not allowed to live near other people.
“A very important scene takes place at the estate when the guests finally arrive there. There is a long discussion about art between Alexandre Dumas and Agafon. This part will illustrate my own ideas about art—not those of the 1860s, needless to say. Agafon dreams of going abroad, of becoming a Shakespearean actor, to play Hamlet.
“This play has a denouement somehow similar to that of the first one. An obnoxious character whom we first meet at the relay station is the local police chief. He is a sort of Sobakevich, the character in Dead Souls who personifies humanity at its crudest. Backstage, after the performance of The Suicide, he tries to rape one of the young actresses. Defending her, Agafon hits the police chief with a champagne bottle, and he has to flee for fear of persecution. The count, however, helps him, and eventually gets him to Paris.
“In the third play, Agafon comes back to Russia to live in St. Petersburg. No longer a serf (we are now in 1880), he’s an extremely successful actor. Eventually he has his mother cured of her blindness by a famous European doctor.
“As for Prokor, in the last play he has become an affluent merchant. I want him to represent the middle class, which did so much for Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. Imagine someone like Schukin, who collected all those beautiful paintings in Moscow at the turn of the century. Essentially, what I want to show at the end of the trilogy is just that: the birth of an enlightened and affluent middle class, open to occidental influences, progressive, intelligent, artistic. . . .”
It was typical of Pasternak to tell me about his plays in concrete terms, like a libretto. He didn’t emphasize the ideas behind the trilogy, though it became apparent, after a while, that he was absorbed in ideas about art—not in its historical context, but as an element ever present in life. As he went on, I realized that what he was describing was simply the frame of his new work. Parts of it were completed, others were still to be filled in.
“At first, I consulted all sorts of documents on the nineteenth century. Now I’m finished with research. After all, what is important is not the historical accuracy of the work, but the successful re-creation of an era. It is not the object described that matters, but the light that falls on it, like that from a lamp in a distant room.”
Toward the end of his description of his trilogy, Pasternak was obviously hurried. Dinnertime was long past. He would glance at his watch from time to time. But, despite the fact that he didn’t have the opportunity to clarify philosophical implications which would have given body to the strange framework of the dramas, I felt I had been witness to a remarkable evocation of the Russian past.

The tales of our fathers sounds like reigns of the Stuarts;
Further away than Pushkin, The figures of dreams.*

As we came down to the dining room, the family already was seated around the large table. “Don’t they look like an impressionist painting?” said Pasternak. “With the geraniums in the background and this mid-afternoon light? There is a painting by Guillaumin just like this. . . .”
Everyone stood as we entered and remained standing while Pasternak introduced me around the table. Besides Mme. Pasternak, two of Pasternak’s sons were there—his oldest son by his first marriage, and his youngest son, who was eighteen or twenty years old—a handsome boy, dark, with quite a strong resemblance to his mother. He was a student in physics at the Moscow University. Professor Neuhaus was also a guest. He is a famous Chopin teacher at the Moscow Conservatory to whom Mme. Pasternak had once been married. He was quite elderly, with an old-fashioned mustache, very charming and refined. He asked about Paris and musicians we knew there in common. There were also two ladies at the table whose exact relationship to the Pasternak family I didn’t learn.
I was seated to the right of Pasternak. Mme. Pasternak was at his left. The table was simply set, covered with a white linen Russian tablecloth embroidered with red cross-stitches. The silverware and china were very simple. There was a vase with mimosa in the middle, and bowls of oranges and tangerines. The hors d’oeuvres were already set on the table. Guests passed them to each other while Pasternak poured the vodka. There were caviar, marinated herring, pickles, macédoine of vegetables . . . The meal progressed slowly. Soon kvass was poured out—a homemade fermented drink usually drunk in the country. Because of fermentation the kvass corks would sometimes pop during the night and wake everybody up—just like a pistol shot, said Mme. Pasternak. After the hors d’oeuvres the cook served a succulent stew made of game.
The conversation was general. Hemingway’s works were discussed. Last winter he was one of the most widely read authors in Moscow. A new collection of his writings had just been published. Mme. Pasternak and the ladies at the table remarked that they found Hemingway monotonous—all those endless drinks with little else happening to the heroes.
Pasternak, who had fallen silent for a while, took exception.
“The greatness of a writer has nothing to do with subject matter itself, only with how much the subject matter touches the author. It is the density of style which counts. Through Hemingway’s style you feel matter, iron, wood.” He was punctuating his words with his hands, pressing them against the wood of the table. “I admire Hemingway but I prefer what I know of Faulkner. Light in August is a marvelous book. The character of the little pregnant woman is unforgettable. As she walks from Alabama to Tennessee something of the immensity of the South of the United States, of its essence, is captured for us who have never been there.”
Later the conversation turned to music. Professor Neuhaus and Pasternak discussed fine points of interpretation of Chopin. Pasternak said how much he loved Chopin—“a good example of what I was saying the other day—Chopin used the old Mozartean language to say something completely new—the form was reborn from within. Nonetheless, I am afraid that Chopin is considered a little old-fashioned in the United States. I gave a piece on Chopin to Stephen Spender which was not published.”
I told him how much Gide loved to play Chopin—Pasternak didn’t know this and was delighted to hear it. The conversation moved on to Proust, whom Pasternak was slowly reading at that time.
“Now that I am coming to the end of A la Recherche du temps perdu, I am struck by how it echoes some of the ideas which absorbed us in 1910. I put them into a lecture about ‘Symbolism and Immortality’ which I gave on the day before Leo Tolstoy died and I went to Astapovo with my father. Its text has long been lost, but among many other things on the nature of symbolism it said that, although the artist will die, the happiness of living which he has experienced is immortal. If it is captured in a personal and yet universal form it can actually be relived by others through his work.
“I have always liked French literature,” he continued. “Since the war I feel that French writing has acquired a new accent, less rhetoric. Camus’s death is a great loss for all of us.” (Earlier, I had told Pasternak of Camus’s tragic end, which took place just before I came to Moscow. It was not written up in the Russian press. Camus is not translated into Russian.) “In spite of differences of themes, French literature is now much closer to us. But French writers when they commit themselves to political causes are particularly unattractive. Either they are cliquish and insincere or with their French sense of logic they feel they have to carry out their beliefs to their conclusion. They fancy they must be absolutists like Robespierre or Saint-Just.”
Tea and cognac were served at the end of the meal. Pasternak looked tired suddenly and became silent. As always during my stay in Russia I was asked many questions about the West—about its cultural life and our daily existence.
Lights were turned on. I looked at my watch to discover that it was long past six o’clock. I had to go. I felt very tired, too.
Pasternak walked me to the door, through the kitchen. We said good-bye outside on the little porch in the blue snowy evening. I was terribly sad at the thought of not returning to Peredelkino. Pasternak took my hand in his and held it for an instant, urging me to come back very soon. He asked me once again to tell his friends abroad that he was well, that he remembered them even though he hadn’t time to answer their letters. I had already walked down the porch and into the path when he called me back. I was happy to have an excuse to stop, to turn back, to have a last glimpse of Pasternak standing bareheaded, in his blue blazer under the door light.
“Please,” he called, “don’t take what I have said about letters personally. Do write to me, in any language you prefer. I will answer you.”

* “The Trembling Piano,” Themes and Variations
* From 1905


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