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The Poetic World of Boris Pasternak

The Poetic World of Boris Pasternak

Copyright Date: 1974
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Poetic World of Boris Pasternak
    Book Description:

    The dramatic political struggle of Boris Pasternak and the continued success of his novel.Dr. Zhivago, have often taken center stage in discussions of this writer. Olga Raevsky Hughes chooses instead to focus on the aesthetics underlying Pasternak's snuggles and successes to explore the ways in which his views of art and the artist were applied in his writings.

    Professor Hughes examines those aspects of Pasternak's views on art that he himself considered crucial: the beginnings of poetry in his life, the relation of his art to life, his relationship to his time, and his responsibility to lite and to society.

    Pasternak's views on art are analyzed as he himself saw them in his autobiographies, critical essays, and letters; and also as they were reflected in his work.

    Pasternak is allowed to speak for himself: accordingly, all of his published works are used, including letters, little-known works, and available variants of his early poems.

    Originally published in 1975.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6954-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    O. R. H.
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-2)
    (pp. 3-6)

    In his predilection for paradoxical statements, Boris Pasternak once declared that “aesthetics does not exist.”¹ In the poet’s opinion, formal aesthetics deserves such categorical rejection for being divorced from reality, for knowing nothing about man, and for operating with abstract classifications. On another occasion and in a less paradoxical mood, Pasternak gave a concise definition of his understanding of what constitutes the “aesthetics of an artist.” The three elements pointed out in this definition are the artist’s conception of the nature of art, of the role of art in history, and of his own responsibility before history.² These two statements...

  6. CHAPTER ONE The Origin and Nature of Poetry
    (pp. 7-41)

    For Pasternak the nature of art is best revealed at the time of its first appearance in the life of a creative artist—hence the recurrence in his work of the theme of “the birth of a poet.”

    In the experience of the poet, the origin of art is most closely connected with love and nature. Actually it is love—which is identified with the energy of life—that brings about the birth of the poet, who at this point suddenly perceives the inherent ties between himself and nature.

    The essence of life appears to the poet as a dynamic...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Art and Reality
    (pp. 42-77)

    Pasternak possessed an unusual synthesizing capacity that often enabled him to achieve in his work a successful integration of various divergent elements. The essential unity of the cosmos was a real and all-pervasive experience for the poet. It manifested itself through the interdependence and virtual equality in his work between the poet and nature or the surrounding world in general.

    Pasternak’s propensity to integrate is evident in his conscious attempt to keep the phonetics of the word in balance with its meaning and in his insistence on an inherent unity between form and content in a work of art. What...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Time and Eternity
    (pp. 78-127)

    Not unexpectedly, the principal form that history assumes in Pasternak’s work is that of the Revolution. The relationship of poetry and history—referring mainly to contemporary social and political events—occupies a prominent place in Pasternak’s work beginning with the 1920’s. In “Lofty Malady” (1923, 1928) the role of poetry is assessed against the epic proportions of the Revolution. In the poems of the early 1930’s Pasternak repeatedly returns to the poet’s paradoxical position in a socialist state. He attempts to accept the existing regime and searches for its justification.

    Pasternak’s views on the role of an individual in history...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Responsibility of a Poet
    (pp. 128-167)

    Pasternak repeatedly asserted that a poet is not free. In his early article “Black Goblet” (1916), the futurists were seen as carrying out the commands of their time.¹ In a poem inA Twin in the Clouds, reworked in 1929, the poet feels he is hired by someone mysterious for purposes unknown to him.² In his Chopin article (1945) Pasternak came to the conclusion that a realist by definition is not free.³ The insistence that a poet has a duty to fulfill becomes stronger as the years go by and is most clearly expressed in Pasternak’s statements about Doctor Zhivago....

    (pp. 168-174)

    It has been repeatedly and convincingly suggested that Pasternak has an affinity with romanticism. Specific links between his poetry and certain features of the poetry of the Russian romantics—Lermontov, Tyutchev, and Fet—have been pointed out.¹ On the other hand, it has been asserted—on the basis of other specific peculiarities of his poetry—that Pasternak is not a romantic.² One has to admit that both views are essentially true. There are some elements of Pasternak’s poetics that place him within romanticism, and there are others, equally strong and indisputable, that belie this relationship.

    It is highly characteristic of...

    (pp. 175-184)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 185-190)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-192)