NABOKV-L post 0020861, Mon, 11 Oct 2010 12:43:48 +0400

Botkin & Zoshchenko
In a conversation with Kinbote Shade mentions Zoshchenko as one of the great Russian humorists. I notice that in his Golubaya kniga ("The Blue Book", 1934) Zoshchenko speaks of Vasiliy Botkin ("a friend of Belinsky and Nekrasov"), his aestheticism and phenomenal stinginess. Another character in Zoshchenko's book is the Russian empress Anna Ioannovna who wanted to buy a big diamond for her crown. At the last moment the deal collapsed, and the author imagines the empress weeping and calls her, rather disrespectfully, a cow ("Naverno revela. Korova"). One remembers the korona-vorona-korova (crown-crow-cow) series of misprints mentioned by Kinbote in Pale Fire.

Pity I didn't know about it when I wrote my note on the crown jewels in Pale Fire. But then it's not too late to add a few gems to my piece.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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