Foreign News: A Lost Lady

Lara was "the purest thing in the world," and "nothing equaled her in spiritual beauty." She was like Russia itself: "martyred, stubborn, extravagant, crazy, irresponsible, adored." In these words, Boris Pasternak described the beautiful heroine of his great novel, Doctor Zhivago, known to readers the world over—except in Russia, where Zhivago is banned.

Hanged Husband. What was not generally known was the fact that Pasternak had drawn Lara from a real-life model: Olga Ivinskaya, 55, a woman born to poetry and suffering. Pasternak first met her in postwar Moscow, where she was working as...

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