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  • Published: 1 July 1978
  • ISBN: 9780141914183
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

The Queen of Spades and Other Stories




The Queen of Spades, one of his 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.

  • Published: 1 July 1978
  • ISBN: 9780141914183
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799. He was liberally educated and left school in 1817. Given a sinecure in the Foreign Office, he spent three dissipated years in St Petersburg writing light, erotic and highly polished verse. He flirted with several pre-Decembrist societies, composing the mildly revolutionary verses which led to his disgrace and exile in 1820. After traveling through the Caucasus and the Crimea, he was sent to Bessarabia, where he wrote The Captive of the Caucasus and The Fountain at Bakhchisaray, and began Eugene Onegin. His work took an increasingly serious turn during the last year of his southern exile, in Odessa.

In 1824 he was transferred to his parents' estate at Mikhaylovskoe in north-west Russia, where he spent two solitary but fruitful years during which he wrote his historical drama Boris Godunov, continued Eugene Onegin and finished The Gipsies. After the failure of the Decembrist Revolt in 1825 and the succession of a new tsar, Pushkin was granted conditional freedom in 1826. During the next three years he wandered restlessly between St Petersburg and Moscow. He wrote an epic poem, Poltava, but little else.

In 1829 he went with the Russian army to Transcaucasia, and the following year, stranded by a cholera outbreak at the small family estate of Boldino, he wrote his experimental Little Tragedies in blank verse and The Tales of Belkin in prose, and virtually completed Eugene Onegin. In 1831 he married the beautiful Natalya Goncharova. The rest of his life was soured by debts and the malice of his enemies. Although his literary output slackened, he produced his major prose works The Queen of Spades and The Captain's Daughter, his masterpiece in verse, The Bronze Horseman, important lyrics and fairy tales, including The Tale of the Golden Cockerel. Towards the end of 1836 anonymous letters goaded Pushkin into challenging a troublesome admirer of his wife to a duel. He was mortally wounded and died in January 1837.

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