Saturday, January 15, 2011

reading Dr. Zhivago

I don't make much time for reading, and almost never read anything akin to literature anymore. But, at the urging of Rachel, the Book Snob, I am about halfway through Dr. Zhivago, and I've been struck a few times at the thinking of Boris Pasternak - a translation, of course. But still,

"In winter, when Yuri had more time, he began to keep a diary. ...

'What happiness it is to work from dawn to dusk for your family and yourself, to build a roof over their heads, to till the soil to feed them, to create your own world, like Robinson Crusoe, in imitation of the Creator of the universe, and to bring forth your life, as if you were your own mother, again and again.

So many new thoughts come into your head when your hands are busy with hard physical work, when your mind has set you a task which can be achieved by physical effort and which brings its reward in joy and success, when for six hours on end you dig or hammer, scorched by the life-giving breath of the sky. And it isn't a loss but a gain that these transient thoughts, intuitions, analogies, are not put down on paper but forgotten. The town hermit, whipping up his nerves and his imagination with strong black coffee and tobacco, doesn't know the strongest drug of all - good health and real need.'"

                                                          Boris Pasternak -    Doctor Zhivago

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