The original manuscript famously smuggled out of Russia

Pasternak, Boris, Russian poet (1890-1960). Doktor Zhivago. Autograph manuscript signed in full and monogrammed twice, being a draft of chapters 1-5.

No place, 1955.

Folio (358 x 237 mm). A total of 336 pages, including the title page. Stored in a custom-made green half morocco solander case with gilt title to spine.


The original manuscript of one of the most famous novels of the 20th century. After having been rejected by the literary monthly Novy Mir for not adhering to socialist realism, the manuscript was smuggled out of Soviet Russia by the Italian journalist Sergio d'Angelo and first published by Feltrinelli in Italy in 1957. It became an international sensation, and numerous translations appeared almost immediately. John Maury, chief of the CIA's Soviet Russia division, recognized the novel as "the most heretical literary work by a Soviet author since Stalin's death". Perhaps the novel's greatest champion in America was the critic Edmund Wilson, who in The New Yorker described it as "one of the very great books of our time [...] a great act of faith in art and in the human spirit". Pasternak was denounced in Russia as being "anti-Soviet", and the pressure only increased after he was named winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, which he was forced to refuse.

The present manuscript covers about a third of the entire novel. It is not only the most extensive Pasternak manuscript ever to have come to the market, but is also to be considered possibly the most important and iconic literary manuscript of the 20th century still in private possession.

Cat. no.: 58 Catalogue: Firsts. London's Rare Book Fair 2024