Love letters from Boris Pasternak to be auctioned
Woman was inspiration for Lara in 'Doctor Zhivago'
November 26, 1996
Web posted at: 5:10 p.m. EST (2210 GMT)
From Correspondent Siobhan Darrow
MOSCOW (CNN) -- Set amidst the violent backdrop of the
Bolshevik Revolution early in the 20th century, Boris
Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago" was an epic love story in print,
on screen and in reality.
(1.4M/37 sec. QuickTime movie)
Pasternak's greatest novel -- the story of tormented love
between Lara and an idealistic young doctor -- was inspired
by a real-life love affair every bit as tragic.
Peter Collingridge, the Russian literary expert for
Christie's auction house in London, says that Pasternak's
affair with Olga Ivinskaya was a "tumultuous" one between two
"highly intelligent" but flawed people.
The love letters and poems Pasternak wrote to Ivinskaya go on
sale at Christie's on Wednesday -- and are expected to fetch
nearly $1 million. They include a letter he wrote to her on
April 30, 1960, a month before his death.
Ivinskaya had typed the Doctor Zhivago manuscript for
Patsernak. It was smuggled out of the country and first
published in Italy in 1957.
The next year, Pasternak won the Nobel Prize in literature
for that book. But, with his work banned in his own country,
he refused the honor. Soviet authorities punished him anyway
by lashing out at his lover, Ivinskaya, twice sending her to
the gulag prison camp system.
"She had to pay," says Collingridge. "It was punishment for
her unorthodox relationship with the writer."
While Pasternak remained married to his second wife,
Ivinskaya was his true passion. The letters chronicle the
cruelty of the times.
Tormented by the authorities, Ivinskaya sold many of them
simply to have money to buy food, but she kept the most
private ones until her death, in 1995.
The Academy Award-winning movie was released in 1965, while
Ivinskaya was still in prison. It was not until 1991 -- when
the film was finally shown in Russia -- that she saw Julie
Christie's portrayal of the character she inspired.
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