Writing Techniques in Doctor Zhivago

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In 1934, Pasternak declared that poetry was "pure prose in its pristine intensity," acknowledging the interrelation he sensed in the two genres. He considered Doctor Zhivago "the only worthwhile thing I have ever achieved," but commentators have noted passages in it where Pasternak seemed ill at ease with the novel form.

Nevertheless, his deliberately low-key style as well as his impressionistic shifts in time and place and his use of symbolic coincidence carry the Russian epic novel form into a new, altogether individual, mode of artistic expression.

Pasternak also chose a tripartite form for Doctor Zhivago often compared to a religious triptych and to a "literary sonata." The three panels of his novelistic altarpiece, like three movements of a monumental sonata, are Part I, Zhivago's early life, in which Pasternak announces his themes; Part II, Zhivago's love for Lara, Pasternak's exposition, followed by his codalike chapter 16, an epilogue which...

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This section contains 271 words
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Buy the Doctor Zhivago Study Guide
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