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.