Memoirs of a Mistress-MartyrnOlga Ivinskaya: A Captive of Time:nMy Years with Pasternak; Doubledayn& Co., Inc.; Garden City, New York.nby Lev Navrozovn”My beloved, my shame, my scourge . . .”n—Alexander Blok: Black BloodnJjoris Pasternak burst forth as then20th-century Mozart of poetry when thenGolden Age of Russian poetry was at itsnzenith, in 1912, five years before thenorigin of the so-called Soviet regime. Butnsince the Western mass-cultural perceptionnof Russia never bothered to noticensuch microdetails as five years innPasternak’s life, Soviet propaganda couldnwell make out that Pasternak was annoffspring of the Soviet regime who personifiednthe “new Renaissance of the newnrevolutionary era in the history of mankind.”nThe Soviet regime appropriatednthe names of Pasternak and other geniusesnwho had sprouted and come tonblossom in “tsarist” Russia, and allowednthem, in exchange, to live more or lessnunmolested until the mid-’30s. As anresult, the afterglow of the Golden Agenof “tsarist” Russia, and hence the afterglownof the genius of Boris Pasternak,nlingered up to the mid-’30s.nBy the ’50s all of the geniuses whonwere allowed to survive by the Sovietnregime had deteriorated, but the regressionnof Pasternak was especially harrowing.nHe had never been a technician ofnversification—he had been a genius. Sonwhen he tried in the ’50s to write “poetrynjust like others did,” what he producednwas sometimes below the average ofnSoviet technicians of versification—efficientnpoetasters. Tragically, he also triednto “correct” (mutilate) his poetry of 1912nMr. Navrozov, a Russian writer andnliterary critic, now makes his home innRiverdale, New York. He attracted attentionnwith The Education of LevnNavrozov published by Harpers MagazinenPress.nto 1934.nDescribing the destiny of Russian culture,nWestern mass culture usually concentratesnon the Soviet regime’s physicalnpersecution. It does not notice the disintegrationnof the survivors of thenGolden Age of Russian culture —thenbarbarization of even those of its geniusesnas Pasternak, for how can one barbarousnmass culture notice the barbarity of anothernbarbarous mass culture?nNo, in the English text of OlganIvinskaya’s book A Captive of Time,nreplete with quotations of poetry, no onencould detect the barbarization of Russiannculture as exemplified by Pasternak. Anlack of conscientiousness makes thenEnglish translations of both Pasternak’snverse of genius and of Pasternak’s patheticnverse of the ’50s, and of someone else’sndoggerel meant to be doggerel, all soundnlike doggerel. Indeed, Pasternak becamena “celebrity” in the West just as Mrs.nAlliluyeva (daughter of Stalin) ornYevtushenko or the Watergate men did—nthrough newspaper sensationalism. Henpassed his novel Doctor Zhivago fornpublication abroad, in Italy, and thoughnthe resulting hue and cry of the Sovietnregime could have easily killed him (hencontemplated their joint suicide, accordingnto Olga Ivinskaya) it certainly providedngood copy for a West-wide sensation.nNeedless to say, Pasternak’s novelnwas a painful anti-climax compared tonhis creativity in 1912 to 1934, but innWestern mass culture it only matters hownmany times one’s name is repeated innthe newspapers, not why it is repeated.nV-/lga Ivinskaya and Pasternak metnin 1946. If the period from 1918to 1934nwas the afterglow of the Golden Age ofnRussian culture, the ’40s and the ’50snwere the afterglow of the afterglow. Itnwas the afterlife of Russian culture, thennether world, the time of the dead. Shenbecame his beloved, to use the only wordnproper in this context, despite the unbearablenexternal tawdriness of the 14yearnromance. However, Pasternak nevernnntried to divorce his legal wife, ZinaidanNikolayevna. Olga Ivinskaya explains thisnby Pasternak’s revulsion to gaining hisnhappiness at the expense of hurtingnZinaida Nikolayevna, his desire to letnlife take its own natural, spontaneous,ncreative course, and those splendid domesticnconditions for work that she madenfor him.nI will add another reason: my mother,nwho knew the lady well under the tryingnconditions of wartime (while I was onlynan adolescent), always assured me thatnZinaida Nikolayevna was the nearestnembodiment of an angel possible on thisnsad earth.nBe this as it may, Olga Ivinskaya was angood target for the Soviet secret policento keep Pasternak in check. For Pasternakncontinued to behave with the aristocraticnspontaneity of a Russian child-genius.nHe was never arrested; since the morenrefined Russian intelligentsia, now dispersedninto tiny private micro worlds,nworshiped him, the Soviet ruling castenhad a ridiculously exaggerated notion ofnhis fame and influence in the West, annillusion which was reinforced by thenmemory of an unprecedented standingnovation in his honor at the InternationalnCongress in Defense of Culture in Parisnin 1935. On the other hand, the arrestnof Ivinskaya was a safe proposition as farnas the Western public opinion was concerned.nThere could be a strong campaignnabroad against the arrest of Pasternak’snwife. But a strong campaign against thenarrest of Pasternak’s mistress.” The verynword is awkward, is it not.” While thenword “beloved” has been relegated to ansophomore’s papers on Dante.nShe was released in four years, in 1953,nbut after Pasternak’s death in I960 shenwas imprisoned for four years again—andnagain quite safely with respect to thenpublic opinion abroad: for the samenreason.nHer status of “mistress” also hit hernwhen Soviet propaganda thundered, onnPasternak’s publication abroad of DoctornZhivago, that the traitor Pasternak couldn13nChronicles of Culturen