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Room 5 - Jacqueline de Proyart

Jacqueline de Proyart, an extraordinary woman whose role in the creation of the major work of

Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, should not be underestimated. We all loved this work,

whether through the film, in particular Lara's Song, or by reading the book.

What makes the story even more fascinating is that Jacqueline de Proyart is the grandmother of

my dear friend Henry, whom I met in June 2012 in a professional setting. It's a

astonishing coincidence which deserves a double tribute.

In 1954, a year after Stalin's death, Pasternak presented some poems as a prelude to his

novel Doctor Zhivago. He completed the manuscript in 1955, but he quickly realized that due to

political climate, his novel would not be published in the Soviet Union. This is where Jacqueline

Proyart enters the scene. She was an exchange student in Moscow and gained Boris's trust

Pasternak in 1957. Thanks to his contacts at the French embassy in Moscow, the manuscript of

Doctor Zhivago was transported to the West.

Pasternak's letter to Giangiacomo Feltrinelli in January 1958, expressing his hope of seeing the book

published in its original language, was entrusted to Jacqueline de Proyart, a close friend of the writer.

The story of Jacqueline de Proyart is a reminder of the importance of the individuals who contributed to

preserve and share essential literary works, despite political and cultural challenges.

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