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Doctor Zhivago (Vintage International) Paperback – October 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307390950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307390950
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the very great books of our time.” —The New Yorker

“Pevear and Volokhonsky have done a masterly job translating what ought to be considered the definitive English edition of Doctor Zhivago.” —The New Criterion

“A welcome opportunity for anyone who has already read Dr. Zhivago to revisit it and experience a richly rewarding fresh take on an epic tale. For those coming to it for the first time it is a chance to read one of the greatest novels of all times.” —New York Journal of Books
 
“As well as a gripping story, Doctor Zhivago is a work of meditation and quiet challenge.  Pasternak meant every word of it.  I believe he would be pleased with the powerful fidelity of the translation now before us.” —Angela Livingstone, The Times Literary Supplement (London)

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.

Customer Reviews

The footnotes are very helpful, and one doesn't need to take notes ( as one has to do with other translations).
chuckieboy
Translating DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was clearly a labor of love for Pevear & Volokhonsky, or so it seemed to me after reading their translation of WAR & PEACE just before this.
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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 128 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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83 of 95 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 James Ferguson VINE VOICE on January 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hate to say it but the Pevear/Volokhonsky edition rings hollow. They seem much better when sticking with 19th century classics like Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov. It may be, as Pevear writes in his forward, that they stuck closer to the original text, but the result is a clunky translation that at times reads like it was done with google. The writing is flat the sentence structure is awkward making any first time reader wonder what is so great about this book. I found myself going back to the original Hawyard/Harari translation which has a much nicer flow.

The story itself is odd in the way it is laid out by Pasternak. It seemed he was aiming at something far greater than a romance, or that his love was with Russia itself. The actual story of Yury and Lara comprises less than 4 chapters. The bulk of the narrative is about Yury trying to make sense of the tumultuous revolution taking place in his homeland, from the early years of the 1905 strikes to the eventual victory by the Red Army in the civil war that stretched to 1922. These chapters are the most visceral, as Pasternak places Yury on the battle front, tending to the wounded, growing more and more cynical with the great many casualties he has to attend to. He finishes the story off with an epilogue as told by his long-time friend Misha, and a strange epitaph in the poems Zhivago had penned during the course of the narrative.
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