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Conference set on Doctor Zhivago writer

Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak, the late poet and author of Doctor Zhivago, will be the subject of a major international conference scheduled May 3-7 on campus. The event, titled "Hostage of Eternity," will feature presentations and discussions in English or Russian. Translation will not be provided.

In conjunction with the conference, the Hoover Institution will present an exhibit on Pasternak featuring original letters, a typescript with corrections of Doctor Zhivago, handmade books of poems and photographs from its extensive collection. The exhibit will be on display in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion from May 6 to Aug. 27.

The conference and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Pasternak, who lived from 1890 to 1960, is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1958, an honor that the Soviet authorities later forced him to decline due to the harsh depiction of life under Communism described in Doctor Zhivago. In 1987, the Union of Soviet Writers posthumously reinstated Pasternak, finally making it possible to publish the novel in the Soviet Union. In 1989, Pasternak's son, Evgeny, accepted his father's Nobel Prize at a ceremony in Stockholm.

More than 50 participants from the United States, Russia, England, France, Italy, Hungary and Germany will discuss Pasternak's life and work during the conference at Tresidder Union. "One of the central themes of Pasternak's poetry as well as his magnum opus, Doctor Zhivago, is the destiny of man in revolutionary times," said conference coordinator Lazar Fleishman, professor of Slavic languages and literatures.

At the conference, key presenters will include Evgeny Pasternak and his wife, Elena, the foremost experts on the poet's literary legacy. The Pasternaks recently compiled a forthcoming 11-volume edition of the author's works, the largest ever completed. Ann Pasternak Slater, the writer's niece, will discuss her uncle's translations from Shakespeare.

At 4:30 p.m. May 4, Bliss Carnochan, the Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, will chair a special evening in English of recollections on Pasternak. Participants will include Andrei Voznesensky, a Russian poet who belonged to Pasternak's closest circle of friends; Evgeny Pasternak; Vyacheslav Ivanov, professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of California-Los Angeles; Michel Aucouturier, an expert in Russian literature at the Sorbonne; Vittorio Strada, professor of Russian language and literature at the University of Venice; and San Francisco-based writer and artist Olga Andreyev Carlisle.

Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures