Boris Pasternak (left) and Leonid Pasternak (right).

An evening with the descendants of the Pasternak family, talking about the lives and work of artist Leonid Pasternak, father of Boris Pasternak, and his daughters Josephine and Lydia, who lived in England for most of their lives after emigrating with their father in 1921 to Berlin, and coming to England in the 1930s. Boris and his brother remained in Russia. The talk will be given by three of Leonid’s grandchildren: Michael, Ann and Nicolas Pasternak Slater – niece and nephews of Boris Pasternak.

Nicolas, Michael and Ann Pasternak Slater will give an account of the emigration of the Pasternaks and why and how they came to England. Mathematician Michael Pasternak Slater will talk about Josephine’s poetry, autobiography and mathematical-philosophical work. Translator and writer

Nicolas Pasternak Slater and literary scholar and translator Ann Pasternak Slater will talk about their mother Lydia Pasternak Slater – her writings and translations, followed by a recording of her reading her translation of Boris Pasternak’s ‘Hamlet’. They will also talk about Leonid Pasternak and his paintings.

Leonid Pasternak, was a member of the Polenov circle, that included Valentin Serov, Isaac Levitan, Mikhail Nesterov, Konstantin Korovin. Pasternak was one of the first Russian painters to call himself an Impressionist. He was a member of the Peredvizhniki and Union of Russian Artists movements. He was a friend of Leo Tolstoy, for months lived in Yasnaya Polyana, and painted many portraits of the great writer, also illustrating his novels War & Peace and Resurrection.

A 1914 painting by Leonid Pasternak of the Pasternak children, left to right: Boris, Josephine, Lydia, Alexander Pasternak. The occasion was their parents’ 25th wedding anniversary.

Lydia Pasternak was a biochemist, poet and translator, translating many of her brother Boris’s works into English. Following an early successful career as a chemist, she focused more on her poetry and translation towards the end of her life and after moving to England in 1935.

Josephine Pasternak was also a poet, and a philosopher, whose works include Indefinability: An Essay on the Philosophy of Cognition.  She produced two books of poetry in Russian, and an autobiography entitled Tightrope Walking.

This event is part of our Poetry on the Move season that began with the Pushkin House pavilion in October 2017, 101km Further Everywhere, by Alexander Brodsky – dedicated to the themes of Russian poetry and exile, which included a poem by Boris Pasternak.

This event is supported by The Case Foundation.