Chapter 28

The Final Adventures of Koroviev and Behemoth

[Poslednie pokhozhdeniia Korov'eva i Begemota]

The Torgsin Store

Harun al-Rashid


"Bitter! Bitter!"

Don Quixote


Dead Souls

Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Thalia

Inspector General

Eugene Onegin

Panayev and Skabichevsky

Moskovskaya vodka

Harun al-Rashid is a character from the Arabian Nights. In the tales the Caliph (Harun al-Rashid) wanders around Baghdad dressed as a beggar and accompanied by a poet, a musician, and an executioner. He then invites ordinary citizens to the court. A fuller account of Harun ar-Rashid.

Palosich! In rapid speech first names and patronymics are often run together. Pavel Iosifovich becomes Palosich.

"Bitter! Bitter!" This is said at Russian weddings to force the bride and groom to kiss, which takes away the supposedly bitter taste of the food.

Don Quixote -- Novel written 1605-15 by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes 1547-1616. Bulgakov knew the novel well, as he wrote a stage adaptation of it in 1937-39.

Dead Souls -- Novel (called a poem on the title page) written 1842-52 by Nikolai Gogol (1809-52). Like Bulgakov and the Master, Gogol burned the manuscript of part of his novel. Bulgakov knew Dead Souls well, as he wrote a stage adaptation in 1930-32.

Melpomene-- the muse of tragedy
Polyhymnia--the muse of dance, later of pantomime
Thalia--the muse of comedy

Inspector General -- Play written in 1836 by Nikolai Gogol (1809-52). Bulgakov wrote a screenplay version in 1934-36, but it was never filmed.

Eugene Onegin -- Alexander Pushkin's Novel in Verse, the first major Russian novel.

Panayev and Skabichevsky Ivan I. Panaev (1812-1862) was a second rate writer and journalist. Akexander M. Skabichevsky (1838-1910) was a critic and publicist who was also second rate. They symbolized for Bulgakov the kind of critic who could not see deep meaning, but could judge only by superficial categories like membership in the writers' union. Skabichevsky's "Literary Memoirs" describe fires that ravaged Petersburg in 1862. (S, BE article on Dom Griboyedova)