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Old Member publishes definitive new translation of Russian masterpiece

10 January 2020

Boris Pasternak, himself a translator, acknowledged that the principal challenge of the art was reproducing ‘the tone of what is said – and of course it is the tone that matters’.

His masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago, has had a long and controversial relationship with translation. The first English edition, rushed to press in 1958, is often criticised for its omissions and simplifications; the second, published over 50 years later, offers a more literal rendering, but at the cost of readability and elegance. In his definitive new translation, Old Member Nicolas Pasternak Slater, an eminent translator of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and nephew of Boris Pasternak, brings English-language readers as close as possible to the author’s authentic voice.

Nicolas Pasternak Slater will be giving a talk about this project at The Ashmolean at 11 am on Saturday 25 January: https://www.ashmolean.org/event/talk-doctor-zhivago-and-the-two-pasternaks.

Folio Society Dr Zhivago book cover