Boris Pasternak

Russia
10 Feb 1890 // 30 May 1960
Poet / Writer

Quotes

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Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn't just a fiction; it's part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space, and is inside us, like teeth in our mouth. It can't be forever violated with impunity.

Doctor Zhivago
No deep and strong feeling, such as we may come across here and there in the world, is unmixed with compassion. The more we love, the more the object of our love seems to be a victim.

Doctor Zhivago
Poetry is a rich, full-bodied whistle, cracked ice crunching in pails, the night that numbs the leaf, the duel of two nightingales, the sweet pea that has run wild, Creation's tears in shoulder blades.

Doctor Zhivago
How intense can be the longing to escape from the emptiness and dullness of human verbosity, to take refuge in nature, apparently so inarticulate, or in the wordlessness of long, grinding labour, of sound sleep, of true music, or of a human understanding rendered speechless by emotion!

Doctor Zhivago
And remember: you must never, under any circumstances, despair. To hope and to act, these are our duties in misfortune.

Doctor Zhivago
Art always serves beauty, and beauty is the joy of possessing form, and form is the key to organic life since no living thing can exist without it.

Doctor Zhivago
I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.

Doctor Zhivago
Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.
A conscious attempt to fall asleep is sure to produce insomnia, to try to be conscious of one's own digestion is a sure way to upset the stomach. Consciousness is a poison when we apply it to ourselves. Consciousness is a light directed outward. It's like the headlights on a locomotive—turn them inward and you'd have a crash.

Doctor Zhivago
You and I, it's as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.

Doctor Zhivago
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays