The Pasternak Trust
A Family Collection

BORIS PASTERNAK

1890 10 February: Boris Pasternak born.
1901 August: Boris enters the second class of the Fifth Moscow Gymnasium.
1903 Meets the composer A. Scriabin, and begins studying musical composition with the musicologist Yu. Engel.
1905 October: teaching in schools and universities interrupted; general political strike. December: Pasternak family leaves for Berlin.
1906 July: family visits the island of Rügen; Boris studying with Yu. Engel, composing music (two preludes survive). August: family returns to Moscow.
1908 June: Boris completes the Gymnasium with a gold medal. Enrols at the faculty of law at Moscow University.
1909 March: meets Scriabin again. May: transfers to the philosophy department of Moscow University. June: completes his Sonata in B minor for pianoforte (also survives).
1910 February: first surviving poems and prose writings. November: accompanies his father to Astapovo for Tolstoy’s funeral.
1912 April: travels to Marburg University, attending philosophy seminars by Cohen, Natorp and Hartmann. August: joins his parents, visiting Italy. Autumn: tutors the son of the industrialist Eduard Salomon.
1913 March: submits doctoral thesis on ‘Hermann Cohen’s theoretical philosophy’. April: the collection Lirika, including five poems by Boris, is published. Graduates with a first-class degree. December: ‘Lirika’ publishes his first book of poems, Twin in the Clouds.
1914 May: meets Vladimir Mayakovsky; tutors the son of the poet Jurgis Baltrušaitis at Petrovskoye.
1915 January: working on his tale The Mark of Apelles; tutor in the home of M. Phillip.
1916 January-June: travels to the Urals for office work at a chemical factory. October: travels to Tikhie Gory for office work. December: verse collection Over the Barriers published.
1917 February: Revolution breaks out in Petrograd. March: Boris returns to Moscow. Composes poems for the collection My Sister Life and starts work on a novel about Zhenia Luvers. October: armed uprising in Moscow.
1918 Translates Kleist’s plays Prinz Friedrich von Homburg and Die Familie Schroffenstein. July-August: composes the poetry collection Themes and Variations.
1919 Translates Goethe’s Die Geheimnisse [The Mysteries].
1920 Translations from Hans Sachs.
1921 Summer: meets the artist Evgenia Lourié. September: Boris’s parents and sisters leave for Germany.
1922 January: marries Evgenia Lourié. May: the story Luvers’ Childhood and verse collection My Sister Life published. August: Boris and his wife join his parents in Berlin.
1923 January: verse collection Themes and Variations published. March: returns with his wife to Moscow; September: their son Evgeni born.
1924 February: completes the story Aerial Ways which is published in August.
1925 January-March, begins the novel Spektorsky. July: working on the long poem The Year 1905.
1926 Spring: starts work on the long poem Lieutenant Schmidt. June-October: his wife and son visit his parents in Berlin.
1927 September: The Year 1905 published.
1929 January-May: writing A Tale [translated as The Last Summer], published in August. October: Over the Barriers: Poems from various years published.
1930 January-April: working on Safe Conduct. 14 April: suicide of Vladimir Mayakovsky. May: permission for Boris to visit Germany refused. September: work completed on Spektorsky. December: Boris leaves his wife and son to live with friends.
1931 January: completes Safe Conduct. April: writes verse collection, Second Birth. July: Spektorsky published. July: travels to Tbilisi with Zinaida Neuhaus, later to become his second wife. November: Safe Conduct published.
1932 July: travels to Sverdlovsk with Zinaida Neuhaus and her two sons. August: Second Birth published.
1933 One-volume edition of his Poems published. November: travels to Georgia with a writers’ delegation.
1934 January: death of Andrey Bely. May: arrest of Osip Mandelstam. Boris intercedes with Bukharin. June: Boris receives telephone call from Stalin. August: Boris makes a speech at the Writers’ Congress. His translation of Vazha-Pshavela’s The Snake-Eater published in Tbilisi, Georgia.
1935 June-July: Boris is sent to the Anti-Fascist conference in Paris, and visits London. October: his translations of Georgian Lyric Poetry published. N. Punin and L. Gumilyov (son of the poets Nikolay Guilyev and Anna Akhmatova) are arrested; Boris writes to Stalin and successfully intercedes for them.
1936 February: Boris speaks at the Third Plenary Meeting of the Writers’ Union, Minsk. Summer: he is allocated a dacha at Peredelkino and writes a verse collection, Summer Notes.
1937 Returns to prose (Patrick’s Notebook). June: refuses to sign a petition for the execution of 19 army generals. July: suicide of his friend, the Georgian poet Paolo Yashvili. September: arrest of his friend, the Georgian poet Titsian Tabidze. October: arrest of the writer Boris Pilnyak. December: extract of Patrick’s Notebook published.
1938 January: birth of Boris and Zinaida’s son, Leonid. March: Bukharin tried and shot. Boris working on translations of poems by Shakespeare, Verlaine, Alberti, Keats, Byron, and Becher.
1939 January-March: translating Hamlet, commissioned by the theatre director Vsevolod Meyerhold. June: Marina Tsvetayeva returns from emigration. Meyerhold arrested in June and his wife, the actress Zinaida Raikh, assassinated in July. August: Boris’s mother Rosalia dies in London. Arrest of Tsvetayeva’s daughter Ariadna in August, and of her husband Sergei Efron in October.
1940 June: publication of Boris’s translation of Hamlet, and in October of Selected Translations.
1941 March-April: translating Romeo and Juliet and composing the verse collection Peredelkino. June: war declared on Germany. July: Zinaida and her sons evacuated from Moscow; first bombing raids on Moscow. August: Boris sees Tsvetayeva off when she is evacuated and a month later he hears of her suicide. October: Boris is evacuated to Chistopol.
1942 February: his translation of Romeo and Juliet completed. September: returns to Moscow and delivers the manuscript of On Early Trains to the printers. December: returns to Chistopol.
1943 January-February: translates Antony and Cleopatra. June: On Early Trains published; Boris and Zinaida return to Moscow. August-September: visits the recent battle-fields of Orel with a writers’ delegation to the army.
1944 Newspaper publication of individual war poems. The translations of Romeo and Juliet and Аntony and Cleopatra published. August-September: translates Othello.
1945 January: translates Henry IV, Part I. February: the verse collection Earth’s Expanse published. April: death of his stepson Adrian Neuhaus. May: Boris’s father Leonid dies in Oxford; Othello published. August: translates Henry IV, Part II. November: begins work on Doctor Zhivago. December: Selected poems published.
1946 June: Boris’s translations of the Georgian poet N. Baratashvili published. August: decree of Central Committee of the CPSU on the journals ‘Zvezda’ and ‘Leningrad’. September: Fadeyev, Secretary of the Writers’ Union, makes a speech criticising Pasternak. First nomination of Pasternak for the Nobel Prize. Boris reads opening chapters of Doctor Zhivago at his dacha at Peredelkino. October: acquaintance with Olga Ivinskaya begins.
1947 Reads the opening chapters of Doctor Zhivago at the homes of various friends. July-August, translates King Lear.
1948 April: the entire edition of his Selected Works is pulped by the authorities. In summer, Part I of Doctor Zhivago is typed in several copies which Pasternak sends to friends in Leningrad, Ryazan and Frunze. August-February 1949: translates Faust, Part I.
1949 July: two-volume edition of his translations of Shakespeare published. October: Olga Ivinskaya arrested.
1950 April: his translation of Goethe’s Selected Works published. June: translates Macbeth. December-August 1951: translates Faust, Part II.
1952 June: another reading of Doctor Zhivago at his Moscow home. October: hospitalised with myocardial infarct.
1953 January: discharged from hospital. March: death of Stalin. May: Olga Ivinskaya released in an amnesty. First draft of Doctor Zhivago completed. Publication of Faust.
1954 April: Znamya publishes ten ‘Poems of Yuri Zhivago’.
1955 March: closing chapters of Doctor Zhivago completed. August-September: translates Schiller’s Maria Stuart for Moscow Arts Theatre. October-November: final revision of Doctor Zhivago.
1956 January: typescript of Doctor Zhivago delivered to journals for publication. February: Khrushchev’s speech at the Party Congress denouncing the ‘personality cult’. Boris prepares his collected poems for publication by Khudozhestvennaya Literatura. June: signs contract with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli for publication of the Italian translation of Doctor Zhivago. September: Novy Mir refuses publication of Doctor Zhivago.
1957 January: contract signed for publication of Doctor Zhivago by Khudozhestvennaya Literatura. Rehearsals of Boris’s translation of Maria Stuart at Moscow Arts Theatre. March: Boris in hospital again. July: extracts from Doctor Zhivago published in Poland. October: Alexei Surkov travels to Italy to try to stop publication of the Italian edition. November: Doctor Zhivago published in Italian in Milan.
1958 February-April: Boris in hospital again. May, Doctor Zhivago published in French by Gallimard, Paris. August: Doctor Zhivago published in English by Collins/Harvill and in German by Fischer Verlag. 23 October: Pasternak awarded Nobel Prize for Literature; telegraphs Stockholm with acceptance and thanks. 25-26 October: hostile articles vilifying Pasternak published in Literaturnaya Gazeta and Pravda. 27 October: Pasternak expelled from the Writers’ Union. 29 October: telegraphs Stockholm to decline the Nobel Prize.
1959 January: People and Propositions published in the USA in the periodical Novoye Russkoye Slovo. February: the poem ‘Nobel Prize’ published in The Daily Mail. March: Boris summoned by the Public Prosecutor and accused of treason. June-July: begins his play The Blind Beauty. October: translates Calderón’s El Principe Constante [The Constant Prince].
1960 February: Boris’s 70th birthday; letters and congratulations from all over the world. He is taken ill in April and dies of cancer on 30 May at 11.30pm. 2 June: he is buried at the cemetery in Peredelkino.