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Article

Новонайденное письмо Бориса Пастернака

Russian Literature. 2015. Т. LXXVIII (2015). №  III/IV . С. 643-653.

The article dedicates  the newly discovered letter of Boris Pasternak to his second wife Zinaida Nikolaevna Neuhaus, written at the beginning of the 1931. This letter, preserved only in a copy, sheds a new light on one of the author’s most important themes—the relation of art and immortality. In this document, Pasternak explains his views on the unacceptability of suicide. The letter is closely related to the autobiographical work A Safe Conduct, the final part of which was written soon after the suicide of Vladimir Mayakovsky. But it is possible to stretch a line from the letter to the late novel Doctor Zhivago. The life finals of two protagonists, Yuri Zhivago and his antipode Pavel Antipov-Strelnikov, are compared. The main protagonist dies, leaving behind his poetry. For Pasternak it is the way of continuation, “life after death”, and the symbol of creative immortality of a poet. On contrary, the suicide of Antipov is the final “end”, and it does not meet the world view of Boris Pasternak.