Ilf, Ilya Arnoldovich (ēlyäˈ ərnôlˈdəvĭch ēlf) [key], 1897–1937, Russian humorist whose original name was Ilya Arnoldovich Fainzilberg. In all his writing he collaborated with Yevgeny Petrovich Katayev (1903–42), who used the pseudonym Yevgeny Petrov and was a younger brother of the writer Valentin Katayev. The two wrote satiric stories and novels, including Twelve Chairs (1928, tr. Diamonds to Sit On, 1930), a chronicle of a rogue's search for hidden treasure. The rogue, Ostap Bender, is also the hero of their second novel, The Little Golden Calf (1931, tr. 1932). After a tour of the United States they wrote the witty and mildly critical One-Storied America (1936, tr. Little Golden America, 1937). Ilf died the next year of tuberculosis.
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