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

ISBN-13: 978-0307390950 ISBN-10: 0307390950 Edition: Reprint

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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 (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,977 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

111 of 116 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 31 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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