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Doctor Zhivago Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 19, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0307377692 ISBN-10: 0307377695 Edition: First US edition thus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First US edition thus edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377692
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The previous English-language translation of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago was made and brought out in England and the U.S. in extreme haste, on the eve of the 1958 Nobel Prize award to its author that triggered one of the fiercest political storms of the Cold War era. This new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is for the first time based on the authentic original text, reflects the present, deeper level of understanding of the great masterpiece of 20th century Russian literature and conveys its whole artistic richness with all its complexities and subtleties that had escaped the attention of the earlier translators and readers.

"In faithfulness to the original, attention to stylistic details and nuances, lucidity, and brilliance it matches Pevear and Volokhonsky’s superb translations of such monumental works of the classics of Russian literature as Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. The new edition will have an even more profound effect on our understanding of 20th century Russia that the first appearance of the novel had more than half a century ago."
—Lazar Fleishman, Professor of Russian Literature, Stanford University

“Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have once again provided an outstanding translation of a major Russian novel. They capture Pasternak’s ‘voice’ with great skill. Thanks to their sensitive rendering, those reading Doctor Zhivago in English can now get a far better sense of Pasternak’s style, for they have produced an English text that conveys the nuances (along with the occasional idiosyncrasies) of Pasternak’s writing. Notably as well, their version includes some phrases and sentences that inexplicably were omitted by the original translators. The text is accompanied by useful (but not overwhelming) notes in the back that provide information about many historical and cultural references that would otherwise be obscure for those coming to the novel for the first time. Without a doubt, their version will become the standard translation of the novel for years to come.”
—Barry Scherr, Mandel Family Professor of Russian, Dartmouth College

About the Author

A poet, translator, and novelist, Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow in 1890. In 1958 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but, facing threats from Soviet authorities, refused the prize. He lived in virtual exile in an artists’ community near Moscow until his death in 1960.
 
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are the award-winning translators of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, among many other works of Russian literature. They are married and live in France.

Customer Reviews

And if you read it, make this the translation.
Ken C.
I watched the movie before I read the book and one thing for sure is the fact that the movie dwelled too much on the Lara and Yuri love story.
John T C
This is the great novel of 20th Century Russia and is a must-read.
CJA

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent,
Weary of solid firmness,--melt itself Into the sea! "
King Henry IV, Part 2, Act III. Scene I

Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago takes us back to a time when fate took Russia through a perfect storm of revolution, war, revolution, and civil war. This was a time that did not just level mountains and melt a continent but also melted and cruelly leveled the lives and fates of untold numbers who were caught in these turbulent waters. Josef Stalin is reported to have said that "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic." What Pasternak has done so masterfully in telling this story is to paint a picture on a huge canvas that stretches from Moscow to Siberia while at the same time telling an intimate story that allows the reader to maintain that feeling of tragedy.

I've had a copy of Dr. Zhivago sitting on my shelf for decades, one of the books I inherited from my father's collection. I never bothered to pick it up. I'd seen David Lean's classic film and wrongfully decided that there was no need to invest any time in reading an epic novel about the tragic romance of Yuri Andreevich Zhivago and Larissa Fyodorovna Antipova. When I saw that Pevear and Volokhonsky had done a new translation I decided to give Zhivago a shot. What a revelation. As good as the movie was it didn't begin to plumb the depths of the book. The movie focused, understandably enough, on the relationship between Yuri and Lara and it seemed that the Russian Revolution and Civil War was merely the back-story to the relationship. But in Pasternak's hands I think it was close to being the other way around.
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77 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Sean Curley on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Boris Pasternak's most famous novel, and the source for one of the biggest (both in box office and scope) films in cinematic history, arrives in stores once again, translated for the 21st century. As already noted by the product description, "Doctor Zhivago" was an international sensation on its initial publication in 1957 - smuggled out of the Soviet Union and published first in Italy due to the censorship of the Communist government, it was rapidly translated into English (and other languages). Max Hayward's work was of good quality, particularly given the time constraints under which he laboured - good enough to make the novel a bestseller and probably the most famous work of Russian literature published in the 20th century. It earned its author the Nobel Prize in Literature, though political considerations interfered even then to block his acceptance.

Nevertheless, the theory and practice of translation has evolved considerably in the last half-century (and probably will continue to); works are continually retranslated, sometimes with minor variations in style, sometimes with bigger ones. Now comes the turn of "Doctor Zhivago". And as any fan of Russian literature could tell you, there could be no better team on hand to handle it than Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. This husband-and-wife team has become the gold standard in Russian-to-English translation over the last quarter century, having produced a truly astonishing volume of work: the major works of Dostoevsky, Count Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Gogol, and Chekhov (Pevear has also translated Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" from French by himself, I guess for a change of pace). Now they've turned their hand to Pasternak's magnum opus. The resulting translation is up to their usual standards.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Marc Matney on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This epic love story between Dr. Yuri Zhivago and nurse Lara, set against the backdrop of Russian revolution and civil war, earned Pasternak the Nobel Prize. This semi-autobiographical work chronicles the deplorable conditions during the struggle for control of the country that culminated in the arrival of Soviet power. The novel seeks to explore the ultimate questions of human existence--the nature of man, the existence of God, the problem of evil, the meaning of life, and the riddle of death.

Yuri struggles between his devotion to Tonya, his wife and childhood friend, and Lara, the nurse he met in a war-time hospital and the woman with which his passions lie. Yuri is constantly torn between what his heart wants and what he knows is right for those he loves. He seeks to turn the tragedy in his life to poetry. As Yuri says of art, "it constantly reflects on death and thereby constantly creates life."

Having read and loved Pevear and Volokhonsky's translations of War and Peace (Vintage Classics) and The Idiot, I knew I wanted their translation of this Russian masterpiece. This one was more of a challenge. At first, all the imagery provided by masterful descriptions of landscapes brought the book to life. After a while, however, the descriptions of trees, hills, rivers, fog, snow, rain, birds, etc became rather redundant and began to really slow the story. The sentence structure also forced me to re-read many sentences to fully grasp their intent. But this should not discourage potential readers from this version.
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