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A Russian Dialogue With the West: Alexander Pushkins’s “The Queen of Spades”. “The Queen of Spades means secret hostility.” A New Book on Fortunetelling. Alexander Pushkin and His Times. (1799—1837). Pushkin’s Family. Pushkin’s Mother. Pushkin’s Father. Imperial Lyceum (Tsarskoe Selo).

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A Russian Dialogue With the West:

Alexander Pushkins’s

“The Queen of Spades”

“The Queen of Spades means secret hostility.”

A New Book on Fortunetelling



Pushkin’s Family

Pushkin’s Mother

Pushkin’s Father


Imperial Lyceum (Tsarskoe Selo)

Pushkin’s dacha, where he wrote “The Queen of Spades”

Natalia Goncharova, Pushkin’s Wife

The Duel Spot

Pushkin’s study


The Golden Age of Russian Culture

  • The Making of a Nation:

  • Westerners and Slavophiles

Nicholas I (1796—1855)

*ruled 1825--1855

Alexander I (1777--1825)

* ruled 1801--1825


“The Queen of Spades”:

East Meets West, or

Strange Encounters of the Third Kind

  • Russians at home and abroad

  • The foreign presence in the story


The West-Europeans in Pushkin’s Tale

(in order of appearance in the text)

Duke de Richelieu

(1696—1788)

St.Germain

(1710—1784)

Giacomo Casanova

(1725—1798)

Dante Alighieri

(1265—1321)

Napoleon Bonaparte

(1769—1821)

Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier

(1745—1799)

Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun

(1755-1842)

Franz Mesmer

(1734—1815)

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier

(1740—1810)

Emmanuel Swedenborg

(1688—1772)


“Two fixed ideas can no more exist in one mind than, in the physical sense, two bodies can occupy one and the same place.” (Ch. 6, p. 880)

~ Genre questions

~ “Romantic” and “Realistic” interpretations of “The Queen of Spades”

  • Tchaikovskii’s opera

  • Iakov Protazanov’s 1916 silent film version (script by Fiodor Otsep)


A Russian Faust? the physical sense, two bodies can occupy one and the same place.” (Ch. 6, p. 880)

  • Hermann’s madness

  • Numbers and cards

  • Dream imagery

  • the “poor”Lisa


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