Press Release: Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago
Boris Pasternak

In a new translation by Nicolas Pasternak Slater
With illustrations by Leonid Pasternak, selected by Maya Slater
Introduced by Ann Pasternak Slater

Exclusive to The Folio Society, this magnificent new translation promises to become the pre-eminent English language version.

‘One of the very great books of our time’
the new yorker

Translated by the author’s nephew, Nicolas Pasternak Slater, and lavishly illustrated with more than 60 works by the author’s father, Leonid Pasternak, this spectacular volume brings together the creative brilliance of three generations of Pasternaks for the first time.

Bound in leather and hand-marbled paper and signed by the translator, this limited edition of 750 hand-numbered copies is exclusively available from The Folio Society.

Doctor Zhivago’s relationship with translation has been long and controversial. The first English edition, rushed to press in 1958, is often critiqued for its omissions and simplifications; the second, published over 50 years later, offers a more literal rendering, but at the cost of readability and elegance. In this definitive new translation, Nicolas Pasternak Slater, an eminent translator of Dostoevsky and Pushkin and nephew of Boris Pasternak, brings English-language readers as close as possible to the author’s authentic voice.

To illustrate this edition, more than 60 of Leonid Pasternak’s beautiful artworks, ranging from originals in oil, watercolour, pastel, chalk, charcoal and pencil, have been selected by Maya Slater, academic and author, from the artist’s vast archives in Oxford and Moscow. Almost the whole of Doctor Zhivago is set during the early part of Leonid’s career, when he was working in Russia and at his most prolific, and the images have been specially chosen for their echoes of the novel’s tone and atmosphere.


Product information
The facsimile is limited to 750 numbered copies signed by the translator

UK £395.00 US$550.00 Can $750.00 Aus $795.00


Production Details

  • New translation exclusive to The Folio Society
  • Limited to 750 hand-numbered copies signed by Nicolas Pasternak Slater
  • Quarter-bound in full-grain leather blocked in gold foil with paper sides hand-marbled by Jemma Lewis
  • 704 pages set in Albertina on Arctic Volume Ivory paper
  • 68 reproductions of original paintings and sketches by Leonid Pasternak, selected by Maya Slater and integrated throughout the text
  • Introduction by Ann Pasternak Slater
  • Poetry translated by Lydia Pasternak Slater & Nicolas Pasternak Slater
  • Endnotes by Nicolas Pasternak Slater
  • Ribbon marker
  • Gilded on all three page-edges
  • Book size 11½˝ x 8˝
  • Presented in a paper-covered slipcase blocked in gold foil


One of Russia’s most revered writers, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born in Moscow, the eldest son of the artist Leonid Pasternak and his wife Rosalia, a talented pianist. His childhood was spent immersed in the company of Russia’s finest artists, writers and musicians, including Leo Tolstoy, Sergei Rachmaninov and Alexander Scriabin, who inspired Pasternak’s early ambition to become a composer. But it was in poetry and prose that he found an outlet for his appreciation of melody and rhythm, and a voice for his own innate sensitivity. Remarkable from the first collection for its lyricism and highly original, vividly impressionistic imagery, Pasternak’s poetry established him as a leading literary figure. Although he survived the frequent purges, from the 1930s Pasternak’s work was often disparaged in the Soviet press and banned by the authorities. With the publication of Doctor Zhivago in 1957, his only novel, written over many years under the burden of Soviet Russia’s stringent censorship, he found worldwide acclaim. In 1958 Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but the threat of exile from the Soviet regime led him to decline the honour. He died in Peredelkino, a village outside Moscow.

leonid pasternak

The name of Leonid Pasternak, once a prominent Russian post-Impressionist artist, became politically unmentionable in the Soviet Union. The single most important influence on the creative development of his son, Boris acknowledged his father as ‘a great, great artist. Far greater than I am.’ After leaving Russia in 1921 Leonid saw Boris only once, although their correspondence was intense whenever war and censorship permitted. To illustrate this edition, more than 60 of Leonid’s beautiful artworks, ranging from originals in oil, watercolour, pastel, chalk, charcoal and pencil, have been selected by Maya Slater from the artist’s vast archives in Oxford and Moscow. Notes on the images detail scenes that are drawn from private family moments, adding yet another layer of interest to this poignant pairing of illustration and prose.


For media enquiries please contact

UK & ROW Ken Hooper, Cherish PR
020 3626 0282,

US & Canada Cathleen P. Williamson
(617) 435-5505,