Ilya Ilf, pseudonym of Iehiel-Leyb ( Ilya) Arnoldovich Faynzilberg was a popular Soviet journalist and author of Jewish origin who usually worked in collaboration with Yevgeni Petrov during the 1920s and 1930s. Their duo was known simply as Ilf and Petrov. Together they published two popular comedy novels The Twelve Chairs ( 1928) and The Little Golden Calf ( 1931), as well as a humorou book One-storied America ( often translated as Little Golden America) that documented their journey through the United States between 1935 and 1936.
lf and Petrov became extremely popular for their two satirical novels: The Twelve Chairs and its sequels, The Little Golden Calf. The two texts are connected by their main character, Ostap Bender, a con man in pursuit of elusive riches. Both books follow exploits of Bender and his associates looking for treasure amidst the contemporary Soviet reality. They were written and are set in the relatively liberal era in oviet history, the New Economic Policy of the 1920s. The main characters generally avoid contact with the apparently lax law enforcement. Their position outside the organized, goal-driven, productive Soviet society is emphasized. It also gives the authors a convenient platform from which to look at this society and to make fun of its less attractive and less Socialist aspects. These are among the most widely read and quoted books in Russian culture. The Twelve Chairs was adapted for ca. twenty movies, in the USSR ( by Leonid Gaidai and by Mark Zakharov), in the US ( in particular by Mel Brooks), and in other countries.
The two writers also traveled across the Great Depression-era United States. Ilf took many pictures throughout the journey, and the authors produced a photo essay entitled " American Photographs ", published in Ogonyok magazine. Shortly after that they published the book Одноэтажная Америка ( literally: " One-storied America "), translated as Little Golden America ( an allusion to The Little Golden Calf). The third dition of the ook did not include Ilf 's photographs. Both the photo essay and the book document their adventures with their characteristic humor and playfulness. Notably, Ilf and Petrov were not afraid to praise many aspects of the American lifestyle in these works. The title comes from the following description.
merica is primarily a one-and two-story country. The majority of the American population lives in small towns of three thousand, maybe five, nine, or fifteen thousand inhabitants.