23 October

Zhivago Cocktail image

Boris Pasternak Won and Refused The Nobel Prize

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Zhivago Cocktail

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Boris Pasternak spent his literary career walking a fine line with the Soviet authorities and published Doctor Zhivago at great personal risk. When on this day in 1958 the Nobel Committee awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature, he was informed by the Soviet authorities that if he went to Stockholm to receive his medal, he would be refused re-entry to the Soviet Union.

Pasternak felt obliged to telegraph the Nobel Committee, "In view of the meaning given the award by the society in which I live, I must renounce this undeserved distinction." As a defender of freedom, Pasternak found it one of the toughest decisions of his life and he was later criticised for it by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Today we are remembering Boris Pasternak and his great novel with a Zhivago cocktail.

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