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Boris Pasternak

Boris Pasternak

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (1890–1960) was a Russian poet, novelist, composer, and literary translator.

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. Pasternak is the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel whose plot takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War.

Doctor Zhivago was rejected for publication in the USSR, but the manuscript was smuggled to Italy and was first published there in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1958, an event that enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which forced him to decline the prize. In 1989, Pasternak's son Yevgeny finally accepted the award on his father's behalf. Doctor Zhivago has been part of the main Russian school curriculum since 2003.

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