Doctor Zhivago Paperback – 3 Oct 2002
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"The best way to understand Pasternak's achievement in Doctor Zhivago is to see it in terms of this great Russian literary tradition, as a fairy tale, not so much of good and evil as of opposing forces and needs in human destiny and history that can never be reconciled . . . [Zhivago is] a figure who embodies the principle of life itself, the principle that contradicts every abstraction of revolutionary politics."--from the Introduction by John Bayley
The best way to understand Pasternak s achievement in Doctor Zhivago is to see it in terms of this great Russian literary tradition, as a fairy tale, not so much of good and evil as of opposing forces and needs in human destiny and history that can never be reconciled . . . [Zhivago is] a figure who embodies the principle of life itself, the principle that contradicts every abstraction of revolutionary politics. from the Introduction by John Bayley" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A new translation of one of the greatest love stories ever told, in a beautiful gift edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The characters find themselves drawn into the First World War, the February and October Russian Revolutions, the Russian Civil War and the Second World War. The main themes of the book are how families become torn apart and distorted by the demands of fighting and of Communist Party discipline; in the latter case we see versions of Doublethink as well as a deadening of individuals' critical consciences.
This novel has moments of sporadic brilliance but is patchy and not particularly strong in any one of the things it tries to do. As for the love affairs, well, perhaps I'm being a little unfair, but old Z seems to form a deep loving relationship with each woman he is in proximity with. If that's material for a love story, well all right, but then a variety of porn movies could also be sold with this description. Certainly there is little subtlety to the relationships; well not that I can see, although some readers attribute this to the translation.
Other books on the civil war: try Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don and Bulgakov's White Guard.
It is for this reason that I don't think the book deserves its reputation as a 'love story': it is certainly a human story with love becoming more important as a theme as the book continues, but the power of the context is such that one could say that it is a political book first and a romance second. However, such hierarchies are not applicable in a work such as Dr Zhivago, such is Pasternak's skill as a writer that the themes of the novel perfectly complement each other, he balances the issues of the history of the era, Yury's development as a person and the underlying current of the women in his life with almost orchestral skill. If Pasternak's aim was to create an illustration of the power, subtlety and synphonic nature of life, uncontrollable by 'men of action' then this is reflected in the structure and style of his prose.
The book had a great effect on me, its integrity was great and the whole book wonderfully honest. Each comment was razor blade sharp so I was often completely surprised that he was brave enough to write such things in Soviet Russia.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent film but somehow I did not like it as much as the first film starring Omar Sharrif.Published 4 months ago by Patrick Howard
Very poor Kindle edition, no table of contents, spacing and pagination poor. If there were any corners to be cut I think they found them. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have read this translation many times (I also read it many times in Russian). This is a special translation. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ANNA MATZOV