The son of the celebrated painter Leonid Pasternak and the concert pianist Rosa Kaufman, both of Jewish descent, Pasternak was greatly influenced by the composer Scriabin and by Leo Tolstoy, both family friends. He turned from music to philosophy, which he studied in Germany (1912–14). Pasternak published his first book of poems, The Twin in the Clouds, in 1914. Over the Barriers (1916) and My Sister, Life (1917, pub. 1922) established his reputation as a major poet. His poetic style, lyrical, sensual, and passionate, is imbued with fresh imagery and brilliant metaphor. His early work fused elements from futurist and symbolist techniques with his own dynamic innovations.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.