“By the summer of 1947 the novel’s narrative had reached the beginning of the First World War and a start had been made with the chapter “The Advent of the Inevitable”. Pasternak described to Lydia Chukovskaya the feelings of depression and melancholy that came over him when he read books about this period. His financial resources were petering out and he again had to switch to translation work.
“I have long ago grown out of translating,” he explained on 20 May 1947 to Olga Freidenberg, “but circumstances have latterly taken an unfavorable turn I had, with disgust, to go back to putting up some proposals of that sort. Even those were not at first accepted, so I kept switching them around until suddenly they were all accepted. The result is that by the end of the summer I have to produce translations of Faust, King Lear and a poem by Petöfi, “the Knight Janos”. But I shall spend the twenty-fifth hour of every day writing my novel.”
Two-and-a-half thousand lines of rhyming verse from Petöfi’s lyric poetry were translated in one month and one week. Agnessa Kun has given an account of the difficulties of this work in her memoirs.
Pasternak completed the translation of King Lear in a month and a half. On 8 September he wrote to Olga Freidenberg to express his satisfaction:
“This summer (as regards work) I am taking my first steps along a new path I have set myself (is very difficult and it is the first thing in my life of which I might be proud): to live and work on two planes – part of the year (working in a great hurry) for covering the all of the year, and the other part doing proper work – for myself”
Pasternak was very forthright in disposing of his earnings: he sent money to the most varied addresses and, while continuing to help his first wife, also gave regular support to Nina Tabidze: to Marina Tsvetayeva’s daughter, Ariadna Efron, and Marina’s sister, Ansatasia Tsvetayeva, living in exile; to Andrey Bely’s widow, Klavdia Bugayeva; and to many others. AmongsT Pasternak surviving papers are vast number of receipts for money orders dispatched to a variety of addresses, including camps. With Olga Ivinskaya giving up her work, Pasternak took the responsibility for her and her family. Zinaida Nikolayevna always complained that Boris Leonidovich deliberately created money problems at home.”
Evgeny Pasternark in Boris Pasternak; the tragic years (Collins Harvill, 1991), Cap. III – Dr Zivago (1946-55)