Beginning with his childhood, Boris Pasternak sketches some of the memorable events of his life and the people associated with them. He was born in 1890. His father was a painter, and through him he became acquainted with many of the notables of his time. Two key figures in his youth were the composer Scriabin, who lived near the Pasternaks in the summer, and Tolstoy, who sat for his portrait. Scriabin tried to develop an interest in music in the young boy, but was unsuccessful. Tolstoy, on the other hand provided one of his most lasting memories, when he accompanied his father to the novelist's death bed, when his father was called on to paint a death portrait.
As a young man he went to Moscow University. He became involved in writing poetry and criticism, and became friendly with a number of poets. Sometimes they formed into different camps and he describes his relations with the poet Mayalovsky and their interest in radical changes in the forms of art. He also mentions a number of his friends who lived in anguish in revolutionary Russia, some of whom were driven to suicide, like Marina Tsvetayena and others like Titian Tabidze, who was shot in one of the purges of the thirties.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein