The Queen of Spades and Other Stories is a collection of short fiction showcasing Alexander Pushkin's application of Romantic sensibilities to uncompromising studies of human frailty. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction by Rosemary Edwards.
'The Queen of Spades', one of Pushkin's most popular and chilling short stories, tells of an inveterate card player who develops a dangerous obsession with the secret of an old lady's luck, which he believes will bring him the wealth he craves. 'The Negro of Peter the Great', a story based on the life Pushkin's own great-grandfather, is a vivid depiction - and criticism - of both French and Russian society, while 'Dubrovsky' is the Byronic tale of a dispossessed young officer. 'The Captain's Daughter' tells of a young man sent to military service - based on the actual events of the rebellion against Catherine II, it demonstrates Pushkin's unparalleled skill at blending fiction and history. Together these four stories display the versatility and innovation that earned Pushkin his reputation as a master of prose and established him as the towering figure in Russian literature.
Rosemary Edmonds's translation is accompanied by an introduction examining Pushkin's simplicity of style and the powerful influence he exerted on his country's literature.
Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) was born in Moscow in 1799. Leaving school in 1817, he spent three years in St Petersburg working in the Foreign Office and writing erotic verse. His flirtations with pre-Decembrist movements and his revolutionary verses lead to his exile in 1820. After a stay in the Caucasus and Crimea he was sent to Bessarabia, where he began to write more seriously, beginning Eugene Onegin and Tsygany. In 1831 he retired to a family estate, married, and his literary output slackened. He was mortally wounded in a duel and died in January 1837.
If you enjoyed The Queen of Spades, you might like Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, also available in Penguin Classics.