The article discusses the introductory chapter of the "History
of One City" by M.Ye. Saltykov-Shchedrin and argues that the interpretation of
the villainous Roman emperors (Caligula and Nero) by the fictional author
of the introduction as a kind of symbolic figures – models for famous rulers –
was inspired by the assessment of the “glorious” crimes of the French robber
Cartush in the introduction of Matvei Komarov’s book "The Story of the Swindler Van’ka Cain". The author of "The History of One City", using the model of
assimilating a morally flawed domestic historical personality to foreign criminals,
replaces the ingenuous admiration characteristic of the pretext with an
ironic one. The parallel with the book about Van’ka Kain is not the only echo
with the works of Russian literature of the 18th century in the introduction to
the chronicle of Saltykov-Shchedrin. The text of introduction also reveals a
correlation with the Ode of 1747 by M.V. Lomonosov.
'The History of One City'; M.Ye. Saltykov-Shchedrin; irony; pretext; M.V. Lomonosov; Matvey Komarov.