In his brief essay "The Origin of Pynchon's Tchitcherine," Steven Weisenburger catalogues many of the extensive similarities between that character and Pavel Chichikov, protagonist of Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, even arguing that "[p]arts of Gravity's Rainbow have a compelling affinity with Gogol's unfinished prose epic, and Tchitcherine is the principal link between the two texts" (42). While the ChichikovTchitcherine correlation may well be the principal link, it is enriched and extended by the appearance in Gravity's Rainbow of a parody of Gogol himself in the person of Tchitcherine's colleague Shatsk, "the notorious Leningrad nose-fetishist, who carries a black satin handkerchief to Party congresses and yes, more than once has been unable to refrain from reaching out and actually stroking the noses of powerful officials" (352). The antecedent author's refraction into one of Pynchon's secondary characters deserves a gloss as well as a brief sketch of some possible connections to Gravity's Rainbow's larger themes.
How to Cite:
Emery, J., (2001) “Notes on Shatsk as a Gogol Figure”, Pynchon Notes , 200-203. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/pn.97