Some interesting aspects on Dostoyevsky, Pasternak and how they are related to dissident: Part 3


It’s nice to get FINALLY back with the third part of “Some interesting aspects on Dostoyevsky, Pasternak and how they are related to dissident”. Hopefully, this post will be interesting for you to read, and we’ll start with characteristics of Pasternak’s works.

Pasternak, same like Dostoyevsky, was very intellectual person and writer.Dominating subject in his works was a relationship between the man and the world: what was it like? His main characters are strongly concentrated on thinking about their lige meaning, their goals in life. His characters constantly bring out these existentialist questions. Don’t you think that this sounds quite familiar?

But let’s point out the most famous works by Boris Pasternak:

  • “The Second birth” (1934);
  • “Georgian lyrics” (1935);
  • Doctor Zhivago(some time ago I’vepublished a separate post about this book).

As you’ll see later, the biggest fuss about Pasternal’s dissidency was directly and closely related precisely with “Doctor Zhivago” book.

His parents with sisters left the Soviet Union. And this leaving played a huge role in building a portrait of a Boris Pasternak as a dissident. Furthermore, Pasternak used to be in a very good terms with famous Russian emigrants like the poet marina Tsvetaeva, and other poets, one of them being Rilke.

Talking about Pasternak’s works it should be mentioned that he was blamed for that his works oppose to the state’s worldview, that they are hostile to the country. In Pasternk’s defence we should establish that he didn’t turn away from his colleagues who suffered from the supression coming from the sate and the KGB.

The hate of Pasternak by the state and KGB grew each time his candidacy was brought for nomination for a Nobel prize (that happened 4 times in a row). Yet, in 1958 Pasternak finally won the Nobel prize and the worst times started. The writers union of USSR was very unhappy with this winning. It was even discussed to take away the citizenship from Pasternak. Eventually, he was thrown out of the writers union and the “poisoning” of pasternak begun: gatherings, strike pickets against hims were held, his works were banned, “I haven’t read, but I judge” people were shouting. Tragic. Sad. Unfair.

The Nobel prize that Pasternak won, by the Soviet government was closely related with “Doctor Zhivago” novel; all the negativity that came right after Pasternak won the prize reached its goal for the Pasternak to refuse the prize. However, all the threats to be accused of a betrayal of your country, all the efforts to make him leave the Soviet Union were silenced by his words that “to leave a motherland for me equals to die. I’m tied with Russia by my birth, my life, my work”. Now, that’s the strenght and inner spirit.

But let’s shortly stop with Doctor Zhivago” (as I’ve mentioned earlier, I have made a post about this novel). Why did Soviet regime hated this book so strongly? Well, because this symbolistic novel, that Pasternak worked on for about 10 years, for the very first time was published in Italy, and in Soviet Union it was announced to be as anti-Soviet. So, how could anyone dare to publish his works abroad? It’s more than obvious that he’s a spy, or wors with the support of an enemy! (Feel the sarcasm). For Pasternak becoming a dissident served for the fact that “Doctor Zhivago” was distributed with the support of a CIA. As you can see here, one book can turn a person, a writer into an enemy of the entire state, with a face and characteristics of a dissident.

At the very end, I would like to hold a bit of your attention, because I want to point out some similarities and some differences between these two great writers: Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Boris Pasternak.

Well, the most obvious similarity is that both Dostoyevsky and pasternak were writers. For both of them early childhood experiences had a huge impact on their further lives and creative work. In their works they both paid a lot of attention to exposing the lives of simple people. And of course, they both were persecuted by the state.

Talking about the differences, there are a few to mention. F. Dostoyevsky and B. Pasternak lived under the different regimes and different times in Russia. For his dissent activity Dostoyevsky was imprisoned, and Pasternak – not. Dostoyevsky’s dissent activity was more conscious than Pasternak’s. What does that mean? Well, Dostoyevsky consciously decided to join those movements. In the case of Pasternak, all his dissidency was more like a coincidence, it’s like he was made, forced to become a dissident. It’s like it was not his primary intention. And the last differences: Pasternak got a Nobel prize and he was a poet, Dostoyevsky was not.

So, you see how hard sometimes it can be to be a writer. Hopefully, you spend your time reading thiese posts valuably. 🙂

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