Stories of our century: “Doctor Zhivago”

This programme is part of the series Stories of Our Century
Armed soldiers carrying a banner in Moscow, October 1917 (© Wikimedia Commons)

In 1999, Radio Netherlands broadcast a series of 12 programmes telling the story of the 20th century through famous books. In each programme, a guest speaker gives us the historical background behind the story in the book and tells us about the actual events that inspired it.

Published at the height of the Cold War, “Doctor Zhivago” is the masterpiece of the great Russian writer Boris Pasternak, and it won him the Nobel Prize in 1958. The novel tells the unforgettable story of Yuri Zhivago, and the passion between this young physician poet and his Lara. The story of their lives, partly based on the author’s own experiences, is at least as dramatic as the monumental historical backdrop of the Russian Revolution.

Providing us with insights into this key event of the 20th century is Professor William Simons, Director of the Institute of Eastern European Law and Russian Studies at the Faculty of Law of Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Producer: Marijke van der Meer

Broadcast: February 1999

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