In Part One of The Bronze Horseman (the poem known on Antiterra as Headless Horseman, 1.28) Pushkin compares Petropol' ("Petropolis," as the poet calls St. Petersburg) flooded by the Neva to a triton:
И всплыл Петрополь как тритон
And Petropolis surfaced like a triton.
Triton rhymes with priton* (gambling-hell) and Trianon (the name of two pavilions in Versailles, the Petit Trianon was particularly beloved by Marie-Antoinette whom Pushkin calls "young Armida"**). In his poem K velmozhe (To a Grandee, 1830) Pushkin mentions Trianon:
Ты помнишь Трианон и шумные забавы?
Do you remember Trianon and loud pastimes?
Под гильотиною Версаль и Трианон
Under the guillotine [you saw] Versailles and Trianon.
In André Chénier (1825) Pushkin mentions deva-evmenida (the maiden Eumenide, i. e. Charlotte Corday who stabbed Marat in his bath) and, in a footnote to his poem, quotes Chénier's last words: pourtant j'avais quelque chose là ("yet I did have something here [in my head]"). Chose is Van's University (1.30). Cora Day is an opera singer who shot dead Murat, the Navajo chieftain, a French general's bastard, in his swimming pool. (1.28)
One of Pushkin's last articles is "On Milton and Chateaubriand's Translation of Paradise Lost" (1836). Part One and Part Two of Ada are set in the Amerussia of Abraham Milton (1.3)
Abraham Lincoln (1809-65, the 16th president of the U. S.) was assassinated by an actor. Marina (Van's, Ada's and Lucette's mother) used to "identify herself with famous beauties - Lincoln's second wife or Queen Josephine" (1.5). Marina's lover, Pedro is a young Latin actor.
Falconet's equestrian statue of Peter I (the Bronze Horseman) is also alluded to in Ilf and Petrov's The Golden Calf (chapter XXXIV "Friendship with Youth"):
Дружба, подогреваемая шутками подобного рода, развивалась очень быстро, и вскоре вся шайка-лейка под управлением Остапа уже распевала частушку:

У Петра Великого
близких нету никого.
Только лошадь и змея,
Вот и вся его семья.
Peter the Great
has no relatives.
A horse and a snake
are his whole family.
In The Golden Calf Rio de Janeiro is the city of Ostap Bender's dreams. For the Chernomorsk film company Ostap writes a shooting script Sheya ("The Neck").
Marina offers Van a beautiful, practically new Peruvian scarf, which Pedro (who suddenly left for Rio) left behind (1.37).
In Manhattan Ada informs Mrs. Arfour (a friend of the family) that Marina is fine and that Demon is in Mexico or Oxmice (2.10). In Ardis there was a century-old lithograph by Peter de Rast depicting Baldy (an old oak tree) as a young colossus protecting four cows and a lad in rags, one shoulder bare (1.34). Calf is a young cow. Ox is an adult (castrated) bull.
To his contemporaries Peter I with his whiskers appeared like a tom-cat. "Mice Burying the Cat" was a lubok painting tremendously popular after the tsar's death. Marina's Pedro has lynx nostrils. Otherwise, he is associated with dogs: "Now go and fetch me a Coke, like a good dog" (Ada's words to Pedro, 1.32). Dogs are the animals to whom the Tobaks speak (according to Van, "the Veens speak only to Tobaks but Tobaks speak only to dogs," 3.2). Cordula's first husband is Ivan G. Tobak, a shipowner and descendant of Admiral Tobakoff. Peter I is a character in N. Aduev's Tabachnyi kapitan (The Tobacco Captain, 1944). Aduev and his musical comedy are mentioned in The Collection of Reminiscences about I. Ilf and E. Petrov (1964). One of the memoirists in this book is V. Kataev, E. Petrov's elder brother whose naughty penname, Starik Sobakin, comes from sobaka (dog). On the other hand, in Ilf and Petrov's The Twelve Chairs Fima Sobak is a friend of Ellochka the Cannibal (whose real name, Elena Shchukin, comes from shchuka, "pike"). Fima Sobak is a cultured girl whose vocabulary consists of about one hundred and eighty words (Ellochka managed with only thirty words and short phrases). One of the words in Fima Sobak's rich vocabulary is homosexuality.
Last but not least: Monsieur Pierre is the executioner in VN's Invitation to a Beheading.
priton + Trianon = triton + pir + anon = rot + tapir/pirat + Ninon (pir - feast; rot - mouth; Germ., red; pirat - pirate)
*In Despair (Chapter Eight) Perebrodov tells Hermann that he met him in the gambling hells of Cairo (v pritonakh Kaira).
**Armida is young enchantress in Tasso's Jerusalem Delievered. Pushkin nicknamed Eliza Khitrivo (Kutuzov's daughter who was in love with the poet) Erminia, after a character in Tasso's poem. The name Erminin, of the twins Greg and Grace, seems to come from Pushkin's Erminia. On the other hand, in Kafka's Verwandlung Gregor Samsa has the sister Grete. Like Kafka, the Erminin twins are Jewish. In Kafka's story Gregor is metamorphosed into a beetle. Ada's and Grace's Lesbian schoolmate at Brownhill, Vanda Broom, has a somber beetle-browed unhappy face (1.43). Poor Vanda is in love with Grace (who marries Wellington, a soldier who participates in the Second Crimean War). She is shot dead by the girlfriend of a girlfriend on a starry night, in Ragusa of all places (2.6). Ragusa + m = grausam (Germ., gruesome; according to Cordula, Vanda is "a gruesome girl"). As to Greg, he marries Maude Sween whose mother was a Brougham ("I think I met a Broom somewhere," muses Van, 3.2). According to Van, angels, too, have brooms - to sweep one's soul clear of horrible images (5.6). At the end of Kafka's story the maid with a broom sweeps Gregor's corpse out of its corner.
Alexey Sklyarenko
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