Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dr. Zhivago - Boris Pasternak

"Every motion in the world taken separately was calculated and purposeful, but, taken together, they were spontaneously intoxicated with the general stream of life which united them all. .. This freedom came from the feeling that all human lives were interrelated, a certainty that they flowed into each - a happy feeling that all events took place not only on the earth, in which the dead are buried, but also in some other region which some called the Kingdom of God, others history, and still others by some other name." (p. 13)

"When they jumped out onto the track and picked flowers or took a short walk to stretch their legs, they felt as if the whole place owed its existence to the accident, and that without it neither the swampy meadow with hillocks, the broad river, nor the fine house and church on the steep opposite side would have been there. Even the diffident evening sun seemed to be a purely local feature." (p. 15)

"'How wonderful to be alive,' he thought. 'But why does it always hurt?'" (p. 17)

"'And why is it,' thought Lara, 'that my fate is to see everything and take it all so much to heart?'" (p. 24)

"Nothing equalled her spiritual beauty. Her hands were stunning like a sublime idea. Her shadow on the wall of the hotel room was like the outline of her innocence. ... 'Lara,' he whispered, shutting his eyes, and he had a vision of her head resting on his hands; her eyes were closed, she was asleep, unconscious that he watched her sleeplessly for hours on end. Her hair was scattered and its beauty stung his eyes like smoke and ate into his heart." (p.46)

"And it is this that makes the whole of life so terrifying. Does it crush you by thunder and lightning? No, by oblique glances and whispered calumny. It is all treachery and ambiguity. Any single thread is as fragile as a cobweb, but just try to pull yourself out of the net, you only become more entangled.
And the strong are dominated by the weak and the ignoble." (p. 48)

"He was so childishly simple that he did not conceal his joy at seeing her, as if she were some summer landscape of birch trees, grass, and clouds, and could freely express his enthusiasm about her without any risk of being laughed at." (p. 50)

"And now listen carefully. You in others - this is your soul. This is what you are. This is what your consciousness has breathed and lived on and enjoyed throughout your life - your soul, your immortality, your life in others. And what now? You have always been in others and you will remain in others. And what does it matter to you if later on that is called your memory? This will be you - the you that enters the future and becomes a part of it.
And now one last point. There is nothing to fear. There is no such thing as death. Death has nothing to do with us." (p. 68)

"He rebelled against the motherly feeling that all her life had been a part of her affection for him and could not see that such a love was something more, not less, than the ordinary feeling of a woman for a man" (p. 109)

"How I wish your face to say that you are happy with your fate and that you need nothing from anyone. If only someone who is really close to you, your friend or your husband - best of all if he were a soldier - would take me by the hand and tell me to stop worrying about your fate and not to weary you with my attentions. But I'd wrest my hand free and take a swing... " (p. 147)

"And so it turned out that only a life similar to the life of those around us, merging with it without a ripple, is genuine life, and that an unshared happiness is not happiness" (p. 175)

"What is truly great is without beginning, like the universe. It confronts us as suddenly as it if had always been there or had dropped out of the blue." (p. 182)

"In some inexplicable way it was clear at once that this man was entirely a manifestation of the will. So completely was he the self he resolved to be that everything about him seemed inevitable, exact, perfect - his well-proportioned, handsomely set head, his impetuous step, his long legs, his knee boots which may well have been muddy but looked polished, and his gray serge tunic which may have been creased but looked as if it were made of the best linen and had just been pressed.
Such was the irresistible effect of his brilliance, his unaffected ease, and his sense of being at home in any conceivable situation on earth." (p. 248)

"Filled with the loftiest aspirations from his childhood, he had looked upon the world as a vast arena where everyone competed for perfection, keeping scrupulously to the rules. When he found that this was not so, it did not occur to him that his conception of the world order might have been oversimplified. He nursed his grievance and with it the ambition to judge between life and the dark forces that distorted it, and to be life's champion and avenger." (p. 251)