Sunday, June 08, 2008

In praise of Doctor Zhivago

On NPR, Ursula K. Le Guin recommends Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. I second that, as if she (or, for that matter, the Nobel committee) needed a second.

I know that Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are responsible for a number of recent acclaimed English translations of classic Russian novels, but have there been more recent English translations of Zhivago than the 1958 edition that so many millions of us are familiar with?

And yes, I'm fond of the David Lean movie, too. As a friend pointed out when we saw it on the big screen in Chapel Hill, N.C. (during the 25th anniversary re-release in 1990): If you must look at 40-foot-high close-ups of an actor and actress, you could do a lot worse than Omar Sharif and Julie Christie circa 1965.


Anonymous said...

Never read the book but always loved the movie

Patrick O

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

When we were both working at the Northwestern University Library, the big movie theatre in downtown Evanston did a special showing of Dr. Zhivago, complete with box lunches in the intermission.

However, what made this winter showing so special: the furnace had broken down and so we were bundled in our parkas in a movie theatre for a long movie with no heat. You haven't lived until you can watch them freezing in Russia -- and see your own breath in the dark.

Dr. Phil