Creating creation: readings of Pasternak's Doktor Živago
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
This study investigates the process of creation in Boris Pasternak's Doktor Îivago (1957), both as depicted in and as realized by the novel. Statements on art, on literature in general and on specific texts are found to have a bearing on the novel itself, thus providing clues to its own poetics and philosophy of art.
Ch. 1 examines the protagonist's understanding of art as dopisyvanie, or 'continuational writing.' This notion is applied to the relationship between Doktor Îivago and the Book of Revelation. One text appears to proceed from another as a continuation involving creative distortions. Such a manner of writing creates a literary continuum corresponding to the sensation of wholeness inherent in Pasternak. Ch. 2 examines the main hero's own creative activity, viewed as a process of articulation stretching throughout the novel. The analysis shows that writing is persistently modeled as painting: the semantics of the Russian word for painting, Ïivopis' ('life-writ'), is in various ways exploited narratively in the work.
Ch. 3 provides a case study of the novel's 'continuation' of another literary work: Dostoevskij's The Brothers Karamazov. Convergences on the level of character description and plot form a background to thematic lines of pertinence to both novels: the protagonists' articulation of a mute word as an "answer to death," the notion of immortality as "life in others," the memory theme conveyed by the image of the slanting rays of the setting sun.
Ch. 4 shows how the biological notion of mimicry connects with the implicit aesthetic discussion in Doktor Îivago. Mimicry appears as an image of the essence and existential mode of art, comprising some of the features analyzed in the previous chapters: the novel's relationship with other texts, the relationship between its poetry and prose sections and the question of its genre. Finally it is suggested that the forest serves as a stage for the demonstration of constitutive features of the novel's poetics and philosophy of art.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist och Wiksell International , 2000. , 157 p.
Stockholm studies in Russian literature, ISSN 0346-8496 ; 33
Pasternak, Boris LeonidovicÌ, Doktor Zhivago
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69527ISBN: 9122019057OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-69527DiVA: diva2:477299
Gasparov, Boris, Professor