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Russian novelist and poet Boris Leonidovich Pasternak ( Борис Леонидович Пастернак ) was born in Moscow, into a upper-class Jewish family of artists. His father was Leonid Osipovich Pasternak who held a position as professor at the Moscow School of Painting, and his mother was Rosa Kaufman who was an acclaimed concert pianist. Many artists and poets frequented the family home in Moscow, including Ranier Maria Rilke, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Aleksandr Scriabin, and Leo Tolstoy. Pasternak studied music at the Moscow Conservatory, but at age twenty he gave up this ambition and went to Germany to become a student of philosophy in the Marburg University. Returning to Moscow in late 1913, he published his first collection of poetry, entitled Bliznets V Tuchakh. When World War 1 was declared he went to the Ural Mountains to work as a tutor and in a chemical factory. He was unfit for army service owing to a leg injury. His stay in the Ural Mountains would later supply the inspiration for the epic, Doktor Zhivago.

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