Talk:Doctor Zhivago (novel)

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Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: pages moved. Both novel and film have historical significance, and the usage indicates no primary topic. (And as LtPowers points out, original uses are not always primary uses.) It could be that the new arrangement may indicate that the film is primary by usage. -- JHunterJ (talk) 13:11, 16 May 2012 (UTC)


Before "My Sister's Keeper" became "My Sister's Keeper (novel)" on April 20, 2012, numbers were about the same as the film. Now the novel lost 65-80% of Wikipedia viewership, while the film stayed the same. I bet: similar situation could go to "Doctor Zhivago", even when it is less ambiguous than "My Sister's Keeper". relisted per request of nom --Mike Cline (talk) 13:29, 8 May 2012 (UTC) George Ho (talk) 13:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Numbers on the film (along with other redirects: Dr. Zhivago (film)) is almost the same as the novel (with an addition to other redirects: "Dr. Zhivago" before I redirected it to the disambiguation page today, Doctor Zhivago (novel)). Google is mixing the film and the novel results in the first and second pages, so there is no determining whether either is the primary topic there.

According to WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, there is "no single criterion" to define the primary topic, even when "usage" and "long-term significance" are most discussed criteria. To use those criteria:

  • usage - Both are useable and easy to navigate by statistics and search engines.
  • Long-term significance - Both have been awarded accolades, and many have been familiar with either one or both.

However, both conclude that novel and film are equally met. Now for other criteria:

  • Familiarity - Both are familiar to people's eyes, even when people have not read or watched.
  • Navigation - Easy to navigate.
  • Interests- Seriously, both articles need some cleanup, and I wonder if anyone is interested on either topic enough to skillfully edit either article.

Must I address other criteria further? --George Ho (talk) 13:39, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose. If you google "doctor zhivago" -wikipedia, it's clear that most readers are looking for the film. Page views for the novel and the film are about the same, which suggests that a significant number of readers who would prefer the article on the film are now going to the article on the novel. But the proposed solution is a most peculiar one. It amounts to an effort to drive these misdirected readers away. The film should be made primary topic so that the majority of those who search for this term will be sent directly to the article they seek. Kauffner (talk) 17:59, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
    • That won't work for me. "Doctor Zhivago (film)" should not be primary just because it's popular and easier to navigate. Any searcher may go for either the novel or the film. Who knows? I don't request a move for the film to be "My Sister's Keeper" just because it's the most viewed of all topics with same name; I don't do that in this proposal either. Why trusting Google? Even with personal searches off, we might never know if readers intend for either the novel or the film in Google. --George Ho (talk) 18:07, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
      • We can either worry about what don't know, or we can make decisions based on what we do know. Here is a page view graph for My Sister's Keeper. The numbers are still bouncing around. The disambiguation page is currently a top result on Google, presumably carry over from when this lemma was used for the novel. Kauffner (talk) 18:31, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The novel is a clear primary topic, from which all other items are derived. Here's a simple test: how many articles list all of the other articles that have this name? One, under Doctor Zhivago#Adaptations. Every other topic is directly derived from this one. Nobody is surprised to land on a novel when they are looking for a film or play based on it. Put the film and dab page in the hatnote and be done with it. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 19:03, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
    • Well, it's not the same as Pride and Prejudice; the novel is hitting 4000-5000 per day average. The 1995 miniseries is hitting 800 per day; the 2004 film 1000 per day. This case is different; we have 800 each for a novel and 1965 film, and the "Doctor Zhivago" stats is harder to interpret. If moved to "Doctor Zhivago (novel)", I bet it may follow the same route as "My Sister's Keeper (novel)", but that's my hypothesis. --George Ho (talk) 19:14, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
      • My point being that if you are looking for a play or a film, you will not be surprised to find the novel it was based on. If you are looking for the novel or a play, you might be surprised to find the film. And everyone would be surprised to find a disambiguation page. Further, most people get to Wikipedia by searching, right? Have you tried searching for Doctor Zhivago? Novel, film, tv serial, and that seems to be it. The dab page does not show up. You move that page to the novel spot, and the dab page will be getting all of the google ranking that novel had. You will be forcing readers to a dab page, and the novel will (for a while anyways) drop off of Google. How does that help? ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 19:31, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
        • Exactly my point. Does anybody have to learn more about the novel than what the novel already inspired? As for the Google, as I said before, I don't call it very reliable enough to verify popularity and primacy. Well, I used only the first and second pages as sources, as searching further takes forever. --George Ho (talk) 19:35, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
          • First, are you saying that the only information of value about the novel is to find out how it was adapted? Second, are you saying that your methods of interpreting what people want when they look for specific phrases is more accurate and reliable than Google's? "we might never know if readers intend for either the novel or the film in Google" We know because they click the link, Google isn't just a list of URLs, the description clearly says "is a 20th century novel". Google puts that page at the top based on traffic and inbound links, which equals popularity. Search for "Starhawk" and you find our videogame page ranking higher than Starhawk. This is what Google does. You are not a better search engine than Google. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 19:59, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
            • "Starhawk" is different from "Doctor Zhivago"; Starhawk is some person that I began to acknowledge, while the 2012 video game is too current to be primary. As for the popularity, both the film and the novel are getting popular for years and will be more popular than Starhawk person or video game in the next five years. Why comparing Starhawk to Dr. Zhivago? I wonder whatever you are saying falls under either or not straw man argument. Scratch that: never mind the "straw man" thing. Is Google a better searcher than I? --George Ho (talk) 20:11, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
              • I'm just pointing out that Google ranking directly relates to popularity (not primacy), even when the most popular article isn't at the primary name. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 20:43, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - I have to say that I disambiguated links to "Doctor Zhivago (novel)" in other pages, so statistics may change. Again (for latest 30 days every day): current title of the novel and its redirect. --George Ho (talk) 19:43, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose, if you ask people what Doctor Zhivago is, any reasonably educated person will answer that it is a book. Reminds me of when fans got Avatar moved to Avatar (Hinduism) because of the James Cameron movie, luckily that has been corrected now. Smetanahue (talk) 20:41, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. Once again, the artificial quest for a "primary topic" where there can be no useful or clear outcome. Let's take a couple of steps back, and look at the big picture:
  • No calamity ensues if the bare title "Doctor Zhivago" is unused, or serves for a DAB page.
  • No readers are genuinely assisted if the bare uninformative title "Doctor Zhivago" leads them to the novel, or the film. How, after all, do readers consult Wikipedia? Usually through a Google search or by searching internally on Wikipedia. In either case they are clearly informed and directed by titles like Doctor Zhivago (novel), Doctor Zhivago (film), Doctor Zhivago (musical), Doctor Zhivago (TV serial), and so on. By what other route do they arrive at articles? Is any other route more common than those two? I'd like to see that explained.
  • The mere existence of stated principles like "primary topic" is seductive. Some people are tempted into service of them as if they were ends in themselves. They are not. Wikipedia aims to serve the needs of readers – which are not like the needs of editors, who have a different feel for Wikipedia and different ways of navigating in it.
  • It is easy and comfortable to follow rules (even the contested ones appealed to in RM discussions) as a substitute for thinking; but it is often counterproductive to do so.
  • It is difficult to analyse and meet the needs of readers, which are uncomfortably complex; but it is never counterproductive to do so.
NoeticaTea? 02:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC) (♫♪?)
  • Support – the contradictory "oppose" comments make it clear that there will be no agreement on a primarytopic, so the base name should be the disambig page. Dicklyon (talk) 05:44, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The film (and TV series, etc) is a derivative of the novel, therefore the novel MUST be the primary topic. Look at the example regarding An American in Paris on WP:NCF, which describes the Gershwin musical piece, and not the film as the primary topic, despite it following the same arguments above. --Rob Sinden (talk) 12:00, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • NCF is just giving an example to illustrate how disambiguators are used. There is no general rule that the original has to be primary. Of course, in this case the novel is extremely well known and even readers who are looking for the film will not be surprised to find that the novel is primary. Kauffner (talk) 14:10, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Agreed, but as an illustration in this case, it mirrors the situation we have here. My main point being that as all other articles needing disambiguation are derived from the novel, the novel has to be the primary topic. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:38, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't believe that kind of logic has ever been part of the primaryname guideline. Why not just accept that it's ambiguous, and not guess where the reader might prefer to end up? Dicklyon (talk) 15:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Because, to my mind, this makes it the clear contender for primary topic. --Rob Sinden (talk) 16:01, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I have put the example that you mentioned under discussion in the guideline talk page. --George Ho (talk) 16:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Now "Dune" and "An American in Paris" are under discussion to debate them as examples of primary topics in WT:NCF. --George Ho (talk) 08:25, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Are we getting borderline WP:POINT here? Let's wait to see what happens with the outcome of this, and if necessary have a look at An American in Paris and Dune. --Rob Sinden (talk) 10:32, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The novel is the original/primary subject and shouldn't be made to give way to derivatives such as the film or to the already aptly named dab page. Without Pasternak there would be no Doctor Zhivago and none of these other pages would exist. INeverCry 06:29, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Relisting comment Nom requested relisting instead of closure at this time --Mike Cline (talk) 13:30, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support; the film is sufficiently well known that it's odd to assume the novel is what a reader is looking for. Original uses are not always primary uses. Powers T 19:44, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Smetanahue and JohnnyMrNinja. Besides, I think it is bad practice to move a page every time page view statistics change. -- P 1 9 9 • TALK 23:17, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Plot summary[edit]

I am afraid that the plot summary section is filled with errors. I have not seen the movie but perhaps the summary is that of the movie?

Having only read the book once and in an English translation, I am reluctant to correct the summary. If someone familiar with the novel were to fix the errors, I imagine hundreds of term paper writers would be grateful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marvinfreeman (talkcontribs) 13:11, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

In particular, the plot summary fails to mention or capture the emotional power of the book, instead giving a mechanical summary of actions. This book is about love. 80.189.78.34 (talk) 02:31, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi! I have tried to correct the errors in the Plot Summary, mostly in Parts 1 - 5. I stuck to recounting the story as it is told, though, and did not add my opinions regarding what the story is "about" thematically.Drochtegang (talk) 18:41, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Th plot summary is absurdly long. Most Wikipedia book articles have plot summaries of a paragraph or two.--23.119.205.88 (talk) 13:36, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

A funeral service is the burial service of the dead person; a panikhida is a memorial service, after the burial. The opening scene is not a panikhida. Richardson mcphillips (talk) 02:35, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Delete Section titled "Characters"?[edit]

Currently, the Section titled "Characters" contains three paragraphs. Most of the information contained in the second and third paragraphs is now available in the Plot Summary, so these paragraphs are largely redundant. The first paragraph contains information regarding Yuri that is, in my opinion, inaccurate. That paragraph states, "Yuri Zhivago is sensitive and poetic nearly to the point of mysticism. Zhivago's idealism and principles stand in contrast to the brutality and horror of World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the subsequent Russian Civil War. A major theme of the novel is how mysticism and idealism are destroyed by both the Bolsheviks and the White Army alike since both sides commit horrible atrocities." I do not see support in the text of the novel for the statement that "Yuri Zhivago is sensitive and poetic to the point of mysticism." He is, of course, a poet, but he is also a realist surrounded by idealogues, in my view. He criticizes the Bolsheviks, but he also doesn't show any enthusiasm for the Tolstoyan Movement (which is mentioned several times). In general, he is not a religious man. I also think it is no accident that Yuri's greatest skill as a doctor is diagnosis: that is, analyzing reality clearly and naming malfunctions. He does not seem "sensitive" either: he is remarkably resilient when faced with physical and psychological hardship and he speaks vigorously and fearlessly with his friends and others. Finally, what "mysticism" and "idealism" exist at the beginning of the novel, under the Czars, which are then destroyed by the various wars? I therefore think the "Characters" Section should be deleted.Drochtegang (talk) 19:02, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

It's been two weeks and there have been no objections to deleting the "Characters" section. So I'll delete it, for the reasons stated above.Drochtegang (talk) 01:23, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

There's another book on the alleged CIA connection.[edit]

An adapted excerpt from the book is viewable on line here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/during-cold-war-cia-used-doctor-zhivago-as-a-tool-to-undermine-soviet-union/2014/04/05/2ef3d9c6-b9ee-11e3-9a05-c739f29ccb08_story.html?wpisrc=nl_most 211.225.33.104 (talk) 02:47, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

translations[edit]

The pedigree of the Russian editions is obscure. Were any of them translated from the Italian, or were they all copies (of varying fidelity) of the original Russian? 207.192.243.66 (talk) 03:39, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Diagram of relationships should be removed[edit]

The diagram of selected relationships is totally unreadable and useless and should be removed or created at a useable resolution. 83.58.131.233 (talk) 08:41, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

I completely agree. Looking at the file history, the current 316 × 316 image was reduced from 1,728 × 1,728 by a bot, apparently due to a licensing concern, which seems to have been a mistake — the original uploader said so (and said it was their own work) and reverted, but the bot struck again. Perhaps the original uploader will be prepared to intervene again... message left with User:Drochtegang. – Kieran T (talk) 08:57, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi guys. I uploaded a full-res version of the file. It appears to be working, at least when you select the image, then "More Details", then "Open in Media Viewer." Let me know if you see any problems. And does anyone know how to turn off this bot?? CheersDrochtegang (talk) 15:39, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

Ugh it appears a bot has hit already. It reduced the resolution to 768 x 768, but that resolution appears to me to be sufficient for clear reading (especially if you use "Open in Media Viewer"), so I don't see a reason to contact the owner of the bot. Please let me know if you disagree and think it is still unreadable.Drochtegang (talk) 21:05, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Update: the diagram was deleted by a bot. After much discussion with a WP administrator, I have restored the diagram. This time it is in SVG format, which I think will make it much more readable yet also a smaller file size. I am working on protecting it from bots in the future.Drochtegang (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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