Pasternak’s house is where ideas take shape
Born in 1955. Graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the Perm State Pedagogical University. Coordinator and ideologist of the Boris Pasternak museum in the village of Vsevolodo-Vilva, local historian, teacher of Russian language and literature, researcher of the poet's creative work.
- At the site of our museum in Soviet times, there was a village hospital. All Vilvians were at some rate born in Pasternak's house.
- If something does not work out — learn how to do it. So lived Pasternak, so I try to live.
- The museum for me is the whole second half of life, the most exciting and vital.
- In the House of Pasternak, ideas take shape. The poet experienced a «rebirth» here, and we hope that this miracle can also happen to visitors.
I was born in Vsevolodo-Vilva, the eldest of three children. During school, I was a pioneer leader, I liked working with the younger classes, and I also loved literature. Therefore I went to study at the philological faculty of the pedagogical institute.
Literature was firmly in my life from my childhood: there were a lot of books and good teachers around. I remember that Ethel Voinich's The Gadfly had a dramatic effect on me. It was terrific: such a passion, such a vivid and emotional plot! I reread A. Vinogradov's «Condemnation of Paganini» several times: I was amazed by this man's talent, just think, to play on one string! Back in my youth, I loved Turgenev very much, I remember all his books, I even remember how their pages smelled... But the chief writer of my life become Boris Pasternak, of course.
I heard about him when I was still in school: the district newspaper «Fighting Path» published a short note with two of his poems and wrote that Pasternak lived in our region in 1916. Later, at the institute, I came across a collection of poems by Vladimir Radkevich, where I found the poem «Ivakinsky clerk» (dedicated to Pasternak's life in Vsevolodo-Vilva — ed.). Then I remembered the school note, and gradually the interest in the poet began to grow.
After three years of work in Usolye, I returned to my homeland and began to teach the Russian language and literature in our Vilva school. A whole wave of publications, information, and materials about the 1900-1920's life in general, and about Pasternak in particular, appeared in perestroika. I created the «Literary local studies» club, where, together with the students, I studied poetry and life of Pasternak, his letters that had just appeared in print.
Gradually, people who learned about the poet's life in our village began to come to Vsevolodo-Vilva. A young cinematographer from St. Petersburg, Alexei Yankovsky, shot a film about Pasternak in 1993 and came to Vsevolodo-Vilva, and we became friends; then he sent us all his materials to the poet's biography. Year after year, my collection grew, and the number of connections with the same interested people increased. In 2002, Vladimir Abashev, the head of the Yuryatin Foundation, a professor who studied the relationship between Perm and the text of the novel Doctor Zhivago, arrived at us.
We had something to tell each other: Vladimir investigated Perm, we did a lot in the educational plan in our place. Together we collected oral histories of residents of Vsevolodo-Vilva, learned local legends reflected in the novel — for example, the legend of Bacchus the Iron Belly. And in 2008 the book «Vsevolodo-Vilva at the crossroads of Russian culture» was published. In 2005 we were given the go-ahead for the opening of the Pasternak Museum. On July 5, 2006, the first stone for the future museum was laid by Yevgeny Pasternak, the eldest son of the poet.
A large international conference «Love of Space» was timed to the foundation of the museum, and researchers from all over the world, from Europe, America and even New Zealand, gathered here. Yevgeny Pasternak and his wife, Jacqueline de Proyart, who dealt with all publishing issues in Europe for Doctor Zhivago, and Michel Aucouturier, the first translator of Doctor Zhivago in French, and Georges Nivat, a French literary historian and Slavist, also personally arrived.
By 2008, the museum building was built: this is the reconstructed house of the Morozov's plant manager. All the things that we show are genuine objects from the beginning of the 20th century. Since that time, little has been preserved, but thanks to the help of the Perm Museum of Local History, we were able to collect a full-fledged exposition. Besides, we were fortunate: when at the beginning of the Soviet period this house was sold, a complete inventory of it was made, and this inventory, fortunately, was preserved. In 2009, life was already in full swing here: I took excursions, visitors came, scientific and educational events took place. To date, the museum has previously occupied its niche in the cultural space of the Perm region.
I want everyone to find a place in the museum. In my opinion, it is still too early for young children to talk about the life and poems of Pasternak, so I built several stories about the objects presented in the museum. For example, we have a tour «Cupboard, Esquire» — about a cupboard from Savva Morozov's office. During its restoration, the restorers found leaves of the calendar, which laid there for 101 years: a month of leaf fall, 1915, and I talk about this cupboard, and how this item was invented. There are stories about a Viennese chair, a siphon, an inkwell, and other objects, the functions of which sometimes are not entirely understood by today's children.
The museum holds «Pasternak readings,» and this, in my opinion, is our strongest project, which has been going on for the seventh year. I want the children not only to come here on one-time excursions but also explore the creativity and life of Pasternak throughout the year. In 2012, the first Readings were held, in which 40 people from Vilva, Gubakhi, and Aleksandrovsk participated. Now the whole region is actively involved in this big business: Perm, Solikamsk, Berezniki, Kizel, about two hundred children come... At the Readings, senior pupils present research papers, creative projects, drawings, read Pasternak's poems and prose. Our school provides excellent assistance in conducting the readings.
Now in the plans is an exposition about the history of the Vilva plant, about how it was under the Vsevolozhskyskies, under Morozov, in Soviet times. This story is essential for our village: almost all generations of Vilva residents worked on it. Now we collect and scan photos, communicate with veterans, write researches. We have already theatrized what we have found: we made scenes from the life of the plant on the basis of Morozov's, Chekhov's and Tikhonov's letters. We want the museum to be a full story about a place where an essential part of the life of a beloved poet passed.
At first, I discovered Boris Leonidovich Pasternak as a poet, as a writer. And now I bow to him as a person, because it required courage to live at that time, to stand upright and tall.