Boris Pasternak's autobiographical sketch is the most outspoken and heart-searching document a great poet has ever written. It takes courage to dismiss, as Pasternak does, most of his literary output of the twenty-odd years that followed the publication in 1914 of his first volume of verse, A Twin in the Clouds, with the dry remark, 'I do not like my style up to 1940'; but it takes even greater courage, knowing the sort of aura of sanctity that hangs over the name of Mayakovsky in the Soviet Union, to declare that he rejects half of Mayakovsky, or, even more bluntly, that Mayakovsky was being 'propagated' by the Communist Government 'like potatoes in the reign of Catherine the Great.'