He [Van] struggled to keep back his tears, while AAA [Andrey Andreevich Aksakov, Van's Russian tutor] blew his fat red nose, when shown the peasant-bare footprint of Tolstoy preserved in the clay of a motor court in Utah... (Ada, 1.28)
In a letter of February 28, 1849, to Zhukovski* (quoted by Veresaev in Gogol in Life) Gogol mentions the footprint of Christ he saw on Eleon mount in Jerusalem: Помню, что на этой Элеонской горе видел я след ноги Вознёсшегося, чудесно вдавленный в твёрдом камне, как бы в мягком воске, так что видна малейшая выпуклость и впадина необыкновенно правильной пяты...
In Christianity Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God himself. On Antiterra (Earth's twin planet on which Ada is set) artists are the only gods (3.8). According to Van, Tolstoy is "a fantastically artistic writer." (1.38)
Sergey Aksakov (the author of The Family Chronicle and The Childhood Years of Bagrov Grandson) and his sons Konstantin and Ivan were friends and correspondents of Gogol (the author of Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends, 1847).
Gogol was a friend and mentor of Aleksandra Osipovna Smirnov (the Empress's lady-in-waiting, Pushkin's chernookaya Rosetti, black-eyed Rosetti), whose husband (Pushkin's krasnoglazyi krolik Smirnov, the red-eyed rabbit Smirnov) was the Governor of Kaluga in 1845-51 and Governor of St. Petersburg in 1855-61 (see Veresaev's Primechanie, Note, to his Gogol in Life). Gogol used to spend summers in Kaluga as a guest of A. O. Smirnov.
Van's tutor is a namesake of Andrey Andreevich Vinelander, the Arizonian Russian who marries Ada. Ada's husband dies of consumption (3.8), as A. P. Chekhov did. In Chekhov's last story Nevesta (The Bride, 1903) Andrey Andreich is the heroine's fiancé. Pushkin's wife N. N. Goncharov and Chekhov's wife O. L. Knipper both came from Polotnyanyi Zavod near Kaluga. nevesta + ring + L = Veen + Starling (John Starling is Ada's lover who plays Skvortsov in the Yakima stage version of Four Sisters, as Chekhov's play Three Sisters is known on Antiterra)
*the tutor of Alexander II
Alexey Sklyarenko
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