Author:
Jerzy Faryno PAN Instytut Slawistyki ul. Bartoszewicza 1b/17 PL-00-337 Warszawa

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Doctor Zhivago begins with such motifs as funeral (of Yura’s mother Maria Nikolaevna), four shovels, an unuttered word on grave, a snowy storm, a monastery garden with moiré rows of cabbage, a low-closed window and a desire to rescue that cabbage. And it ends with motifs of an enigmatic wide-open window (somewhere above the Moscow) and the reading of Yurij Zhivago’s writings. My main question is how these motifs are connected. Particularly, what happened to the cabbage and where Yurij’s writing pad came from. The Russian «тетрадь Юрьевых писаний» („notebook of Yurij’s writings”) contains the meaning ‘four’ (from Greek τέτραδιον, τέτρα), which together with the word «писание» („writing”) leads to «Четвероевангелие» (Holy Writing, Holy Scripture, Four Books of the Gospels). During the second funeral (of Anna Ivanovna) at the same graveyard instead of cabbage Yura sees washed clothes and thinks about his future writings, which he names as «Откровение Иоанна» („The Revelation to John”). According to Dahl, Russian folk-puzzlers about cabbage contain such answers as “year”, “cloth”, and “book”. In addition, Yura’s family name after his mother is Vedenyapin, derived from Benedictus (‘good’, bless speaking’), and the name of his brother Evgraph means ‘good, bless writing’. Shortly speaking, Yura himself is some kind of a ‘word’. Here’s why the novel begins with a deep unuttered word of little Yura and ends with a writing pad (prepared by Evgraph) of Yurij’s writings. All such observations are not evident on the plot level. Pasternak’s novel has a paradigmatical structure like the theme with variations. Every next step (chapter) plays the role of semantics of the previous one and leads to transformation. Nevertheless, without the plot’s metamorphosis.

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2023  
Scopus  
CiteScore 0
CiteScore rank Q4 (History)
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Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
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Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Language Slavic languages
English
French
German
Size B5
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Foundation
1955
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