Boris Pasternak - Dr Zhivago

A Video Talk

The intensely moving love story of Yuri Zhivago and the beautiful nurse Lara is set against the backdrop of climactic Russian history – war, revolution and social upheaval. Visit the vast and snowy landscapes of Russia in this powerful novel.

Did you see the David Lean film version of this novel in the 1960s? Did you fall in love with Omar Sharif, or Julie Christie, or both of them? Did you find yourself humming ‘Lara’s Theme’ for days afterwards? The film was an amazing success and its images, landscapes, and music will probably always be fixed in our minds when we hear the name, Dr Zhivago.

“An important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition.”
― Nobel Prize for Literature Committee

Yuri Zhivago, a sensitive and poetic hero

But have you read this powerful and wonderful novel? I’d love to encourage you to do so, and come with me on a journey deep into Russia with Yuri Zhivago, a sensitive and poetic hero, as he tries to maintain some sort of normality in his life as his country goes through tumultuous upheavals. Discover more about the man behind the book and see what experiences of his own went into the novel, find out what risks he took in writing it and getting it published, and learn about the poetic language and the themes of the book. Who was the model for Lara, that lovely heroine who is loved and wanted by three very different men? What role do trains play in the symbolism of the story, and where does Fate intervene to change the lives of the characters?

A powerful and epic novel

Dr Zhivago is an epic tale, it’s a biography of an intelligent and cultured man, and it is one of the greatest love stories ever told. I find its ending, when Lara takes leave of Yuri lying dead in his coffin, one of the most moving scenes in all of literature, almost unbearable to read in the intensity of its grief and loss: “Your going, that’s the end of me. Again something big, inescapable. The riddle of life, the riddle of death, the beauty of genius, the beauty of loving – that, yes, that we understood. As for such petty trifles as re-shaping the world – these things, no thank you, they are not for us. Good-bye, my big one, my dear one, my pride. Good-bye, my quick, deep river, how I loved your day-long splashing, how I loved bathing in your cold, deep waves.”

Purchase the complete Video Talk (just $15 AU)

This Video Talk is a real treat! In it, I reveal intriguing stories about the author to help you understand what prompted this book to be written. I identify the main characters and their roles, analyse the themes behind the story, and describe the influence that the era, lifestyle and circumstances have on the book’s setting. It is illustrated with photographs, paintings, scenes from different film versions and book covers – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen. Buy it now and receive a link to view your video immediately.

100% guaranteed. If you don’t feel my talk is great value for money, please let me know why and I will refund your purchase price.

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Just $15 AU. Buy it now – you’ll receive access details by return email.

COMING SOON. Please check back here from 1st November 2021.

Discuss it with me

How do you think the movie compares with the book? Did you learn about the Russian Revolution from reading it? I’m interested to hear what you think, so please tell me in a comment.

Oh, Susannah, thank you, thank you! What a marvellous tour! You hit so many of my favourites and introduced me to ones I’ve missed.
Watching your video led me to make my own list. Chawton, of course, my #1 also.


We have just enjoyed your excellent tour of Literary England. Absolutely marvellous! We are so impressed with your presentation, your readings and overall commentary.
We learnt so much! We have visited only 5 of the 10. You’ve inspired us to visit some more on your list.


I did love escaping to literary England with you and reliving my own visits to most of these very special places, some made with you.
Watching the video reminded me that my mother was named Lorna after the heroine of the novel. I have her copy and in it are postcards of the valley of Exmoor my grandmother sent her in 1964, when, as a quite elderly woman, she made her first and only trip by ship overseas to England on her own literary and family history pilgrimage. I am ashamed to say I’ve never read ‘Lorna Doone’ but I grew up with the story of who she was and how she died. I hope to visit Oare Church but a virtual visit was such a treat.


This is armchair travel at its very best. Surrender to the charm of the English countryside as Susannah relates her 10 special literary destinations. It is a total joy to view and hear Susannah’s commentary on renowned writers and to learn more of their intimate lives while visiting their homes and villages. Don’t hesitate – just settle in for the hour and be transported without travel concerns.


I’ve just finished watching your 10 Top Literary Places in England, Susannah, and loved it.
It was fun guessing what you would choose as the numbers went down – some were expected, others were surprises.


I’ve just watched this talk of yours and absolutely LOVED it!
I knew Chawton would be number one but I loved the variety of homes, towns, villages and places around the country.


I just purchased your Georgette Heyer video and wanted to say I absolutely loved it!. I was watching it with a massive smile on my face as it walked me through all her regency stories. Thank you!


I have just finished watching the Anne of Green Gables video. How absolutely delightful, thank you. Susannah makes it all so special and real.


I have just spent a delightful hour exploring the works of Maud Montgomery in your company and it was like a salve in these challenging times. I am an ‘Anne’ girl, escaping to her beloved world of Prince Edward Island from an early age. Visiting it is now at the top of my list when we can finally travel again. I love Anne’s spirit, and ultimately her kindness as she learnt to accept Matthew and Marilla’s love. I too cannot stop myself from crying when Matthew dies. It’s like losing my own father all over again. Thank you for your fabulous ‘virtual’ talk. I’m looking forward to exploring more of my favourite authors with you.


I couldn’t stop smiling during the Anne talk. It brought back such wonderful memories of your Northern American tour & being on Prince Edward Island.


I very much enjoyed hearing your clear voice and of course the content. How difficult for her in age where brains were not appreciated by society unless under the guise of a man…but she showed tremendous fortitude to survive and live successfully.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I read Middlemarch & watched the mini series a couple of weeks ago so it is so fresh in my mind. It was one of my lockdown literary highlights. After seeing your talk I’m really feeling inspired to read another book by George Elliott.


I loved Susannah’s video. I feel I learned such a lot. And her knowledge and in particular her passion for George Eliot makes it hugely enjoyable. I loved the combination of life and then lots of info about Middlemarch itself. Wonderful!


Another wonderful talk, many thanks.


I was lucky enough to attend Susannah’s talk and it was wonderful. Run, don’t walk to see the video!


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Featured image credit- Leopold Bloom by James Joyce,

Comments (6)

  1. Elizabeth Tye

    Hi Susannah Thankyou so much for this talk on Zhivago.It was so good to read it again. I was pleased to see the Vintage classics edition with the Russian textiles, I treated myself to this set of classics last year when we were locked down so long. Yes I went to see the movie with a friend who was a conscientious objector in the Vietnam war so it has a special layer of meaning and memory of those many hours discussing his pending gaol sentence and how he would tell his parents.
    I was so excited to read today that your first Scandi talk is on Danny Kaye . As an 8 year old I was taken to the Princess Theatre to see his show. Somehow I was given a signed photograph of him which I carted with me through many years of moves! He was my hero, I have written out and framed the words of These Five Pennies for many children turning 5 and given them 5 pennies! My own children and grandchildren were sung to sleep with Lullaby in Ragtime.I look back now and see the covert antisemitism of the 50s and the reluctance to acknowledge homosexuals and see the happy go lucky character of the movies, the Renaissance man in so many ways probably had a lot to deal with, as no doubt did his wife who wrote those 2 songs. among others. Still he was one of the good guys! I very much look forward to hearing your talk. Thanks again Susannah. Regards Liz Tye

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I am delighted you enjoyed the Dr Zhivago talk. It’s such a rich and wonderful novel.
      I hate to disappoint you, but my first Scandi talk will be on Hans Christian Andersen, not Danny Kaye. The Danny Kaye film bore little resemblance to Andersen’s actual life, so I will mention the film but will not be dwelling on it – sorry!
      It’s fascainting that you got a signed photo and saw his show. My Mum gave us a record of the songs from the HCA musical and we loved singing along to them. I do hope you enjoy the news series of talks.

  2. Liz Tye

    Of course it was!!! Put it down to a brain tunour… not connecting the dots and then connecting wrongly. !!
    I love HCA and saw that movie. The songs were great and as you say little connection to real HCA. However the stories are wonderful.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      The stories are indeed wonderful. I look forward to seeing you on Monday for the first Scandi lecture.

  3. Gretel Quinn

    Sadly I have not actually read the book of Dr Zhivago as yet, but am determined to make the time to do so. I studied some of the modern history of Russia at high school and was moved by its glory and tragedy. Of course I went to see David Lean’s film when it was first released in Brisbane, and it “spoke” to me for all the reasons you outlined – social,philosophical,artistic & romantic.

    Not long after that I travelled across USSR on the Trans Siberian Railway. It was summer but I was still impacted by the romance and tragedy of that land.

    I was lucky enough to do the trip again many years later after the break up of the Soviet Union – an interesting contrast!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      You are lucky to have done the Trans Siberian railway trip – definitely something on my To Do List.
      The book is fabulous and in many ways different from the movie, so do read it.

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