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Article

Boris Pasternak, “Winter Man”: On the Cultural Self-Identification of Russian Geniuses

Russian Studies in Philosophy. 2020. Vol. 58. No. 4. P. 300-307.

This article discusses the evolution of the cultural-civilizational self-identification of Russia’s greatest twentieth-century poet, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (1890–1960), the 1958 Nobel Prize laureate in literature. Analyzing an extensive range of materials, the author shows that Pasternak positioned himself as a particular type of “Russian European,” a “man of the North,” a “winter man,” continuing a fruitful lineage in the Russian cultural tradition (Gavriil Derzhavin, Pyotr Vyazemsky, Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Blok). The literary thinker himself repeatedly testified to his own “northernness,” including in his autobiographical works Safe Conduct and “People and Propositions.” The “winter theme” dominates many of Pasternak’s poems, as well as his prose works, including his novel Doctor Zhivago.