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Thursday, 10 August 2017

WRITERS ON WRITING #98: Boris Pasternak


What I have come to like best in the whole of Russian literature is the childlike Russian quality of Pushkin and Chekhov, their shy unconcern with such high-sounding matters of the ultimate purpose of mankind or their own salvation.  It isn’t that they didn’t think about these things, and to good effect, but they hadn’t the presumption to weigh in on the discussion –– they felt it was not their business or their place.  While Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky worried and looked for the meaning of life and prepared for death and drew up balance sheets, these two were distracted, right up to the end of their lives, by the current, individual tasks imposed on them by their vocation as writers, and in the course of fulfilling these tasks they lived their lives, quietly, treating both their lives and their works as private, individual matters, of no concern to anyone else.  And these individual things have since become of concern to all, their work has ripened of itself, like apples picked green from the trees, and has increasingly matured in sense and sweetness.

Doctor Zhivago (1959)


Click HERE to read about the life and work of Russian poet, novelist and translator (and winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature) BORIS PASTERNAK (1890-1960).

You might also enjoy:
WRITERS ON WRITING #79: Anton Chekhov 
WRITERS ON WRITING #36: John Steinbeck
WRITERS ON WRITING #13: François Mauriac

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