MOSCOW, JUNE 11 -- A biography of the Russian writer Boris Pasternak, written by his son, will be published in the Soviet Union this year, 27 years after the author of "Doctor Zhivago" died in official disgrace.
The biography, announced by the Soviet news agency Tass, is another step in the rehabilitation of Pasternak, whose membership in the Soviet Writers' Union was restored posthumously earlier this year.
When he died in 1960, Pasternak was in virtual isolation because of the controversy over the publication abroad of "Doctor Zhivago," his epic love story describing the gradual dehumanization of Russian life in the course of the Russian Revolution. He was denounced as a "literary traitor" and in 1958 was forced to decline the Nobel Prize for literature or face exile abroad.
On May 30, the anniversary of his death, friends and admirers gathered to honor the writer at ceremonies reflecting Pasternak's recovered stature in the official world of Soviet literature. A wreath of flowers from the writers union -- which had once expelled him -- was delivered at his grave at Peredelkino, the writers' colony outside Moscow where he lived and died.
That day and the next, a symposium devoted to Pasternak's works was held in Moscow at the Literary Institute, where 60 reports -- five on "Doctor Zhivago" -- were read to crowds so large they spilled into three halls.
During the years of his disgrace, students and professors at the same institute organized demonstrations calling for his exile.
Pasternak's rehabilitation began with the appointment last January of an official commission, headed by the poet Andrei Voznesensky, to study the writer's literary legacy. Its first act was to organize his readmittance to the ranks of the writers union.
"Doctor Zhivago," which has circulated illegally since its writing but was never officially published in the Soviet Union, is finally due to be published next January in the journal Novi Mir, and according to Voznesensky, in book form simultaneously in at least 100,000 copies. Voznesensky said the Soviet copyright agency this week signed an agreement on a joint publication with Feltrinelli, the Italian publisher who first printed the book in 1957.
Voznesensky said a decision to turn Pasternak's dacha or country house in Peredelkino into a museum dedicated solely to his life and works now requires only the official approval of Litfund, the agency that owns the house.
For years the house has been a symbol of the bitter struggle over the writer's memory. Conservatives in the writers union have opposed the memorial, arguing that the two-story wooden dacha should be dedicated to other writers as well.
The same group also argued against publishing "Doctor Zhivago" in book form. Yuri Verchenko, a member of the union's board and of the commission, declared recently that Pasternak was a better poet than novelist and showed in "Doctor Zhivago" that he "did not have enough knowledge of the social problems of the time."
Verchenko said he himself found the book boring, and said he and others believed that "from the point of view of literature we gain nothing from publishing this novel."
Pasternak is arguably the best known of the once-banned Russian writers whose works are now being published in Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's ongoing cultural "thaw." With each new issue of the literary journals, previously unpublished works by such writers as Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Bulgakov and others have appeared in print.
Though he himself was not yet officially rehabilitated, Pasternak's poetry began to be published again in the 1970s. The first volume of his prose followed in 1983. "Doctor Zhivago," however, remained controversial and out of print until this year.
The new Pasternak biography, in the works for 25 years, will show the writer as "a man of civic duty in the loftiest meaning of this word," said his son Evgeny in an interview with Tass." He never did anything against his principles, even when it meant supporting those in trouble, like poet Osip Mandelstam." Mandelstam, considered one of the great Soviet poets of this century, was arrested and killed during Stalin's great terror.
Evgeny Pasternak said the biography would contain excerpts of previously unpublished letters from Pasternak to Soviet author Maxim Gorky, Akhmatova and others, as well as family pictures. "All this will give the reader a better idea of what sort of man Pasternak was," he said.