Skip to comments.Three Blockbuster Novels From the 1950s, and Their Remarkable Afterlife
Posted on 09/12/2018 6:51:55 PM PDT by Borges
The space race was a competition, but with only two rivals us and them. And this odd partnership, or dance, spilled over into realms of the imagination, particularly the novel. In the aftermath of Sputnik three towering and best-selling works of fiction by dissident Russians Atlas Shrugged, Lolita and Doctor Zhivago were published in quick succession, crowded into an 11-month span, from October 1957 to September 1958. Today, all three still live on, each a universe in itself, read and discussed and fought over as if written not in prose but in hieroglyphics or code.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Does “On The Beach” fit in there?
It is a Downer; I read it occasionally, with that in mind.
Putin is the only Russian/Soviet leader who hasn't bewitched the NY Times. Funny how that worked out.
“On the Beach” isn’t by a Russian.
Ugh. Clearly the reviewer has not read the book. Reardon did nothing of the sort, John Galt did. Who would, in the end, take Dagny from Reardon and make him like it.
I gently suggest that of the books mentioned Atlas Shrugged has by far the least literary merit and by far the most real impact. The rest are done; Rand's book gets a fresh start every time some idiot bureaucrat appears on television. Of them, only hers has the grotesque merit of coming true.
Geesh - misspelled Rearden twice. I blame my proofreader.
You don’t think it’s still in the general culture? Read, talked about etc...
Zhivago was more of a popular phenomena than a literary one. Lolita is still read and still very relevant.
Read Atlas Shrugged three times between jr.high, College and Motherhood.
Learned something new every time.
Thanks for reminding me, I will gift it to my 24 yr old.
That all was the last gasp of the remarkable Russian literary golden age, from Pushkin to Gorki. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, that whole lot, emerged over a period of less than 90 years. Add to that music and art. A huge achievement for a backwards country at the edge of civilization. It was a brilliant time, right up to 1917.
Rand and Nabokov and Pasternak were products of the last years of that golden age, fleeing when young and making their careers in an alien language, or in Pasternaks case, remarkably, surviving the worst of the troubles.
There has been nothing like that golden age since.
Keep in mind that Nabokov left Russia as a teenager, never to return. Rand left at age 20 or so.
I agree with both points, although Zhivago is being judged through translation. Lolita is brilliantly constructed and a model for all the unreliable narrator novels to come. Atlas Shrugged is nowhere near that polished gem - Publius and I wrote THIS about it and didn't spare Rand a single criticism. She should have listened to her editor, Bennett Cerf, and it would have been a better constructed novel, but a poorer polemic.
Zhivago, though, I find somewhat episodic, but with a sort of melancholic Russian beauty to it. It seems a bit ironic that the events Pasternak chronicled included Rand's family's flight from Russia in the real world.
Nabokov famously hated Zhivago. He was quiet about it at the time because he loathed the Russian communists and respected Pasternak individually but he thought it was a cheap and tawdry work.
Rand was younger than Nabokov - born 1905 vs 1899.
Pasternak was born in 1890, and was an eye-witness to what ended up in Zhivago.
Nabokov had the great advantage of being an aristocrat and having been educated in English, for the most part.
He read it in the original. I wish I could.
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