Pushkin's "Queen of Spades" Synopsis and Impressions - A major influence on Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"!

station master The great Russian writer Pushkin Gogol

Summary and synopsis of "The Queen of Spades," the masterpiece of Pushkin's art.

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)Wikipedia.

The Queen of Spades was published by Pushkin in 1833.

I read "The Queen of Spades, A Tale of Beelkin" translated by Kiyoshi Kannishi, Iwanami Bunko.

Let's take a quick look at the book.

Pushkin (1799-1837), the Russian national poet who greedily took in Western literature, and as a self-preserved master, laid the foundation of modern Russian literature. The Tales of Velkin," consisting of five short stories, including "The Stationmaster," was the starting point of Russian prose fiction. The Queen of Spades," in which he perfectly constructed the intersection of reality and fantasy with concise and clear descriptions. This book is a collection of Pushkin's masterpieces, translated by Kiyoshi Kannishi, who is considered a master translator.

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This alone is still difficult to understand, so I will quote from the commentary in the "Compendium of World Literature 26: Pushkin Lermontov.

The Queen of Spades (1833) represents one of the pinnacles of Pushkin's prose in its precision of expression and composition. The protagonist, Germain, an engineering officer with a Napoleonic profile, is prepared to commit any "devilish act" in order to acquire wealth. This is one of the first embodiments of the townsman spirit in Russian literature. The author unfolds many fantastic scenes to the reader in a realistic and rational manner. When this work was first published, it was immediately well received, and it is said that it became fashionable among gamblers to bet three, seven, and one, following Germain's secret.

Sekai Bungaku Daiseki 26 Pushkin Lermontov," Chikuma Shobo, p. 415.

The following is a detailed synopsis of "The Queen of Spades" from Henri Troyer's "The Biography of Pushkin," which I will also cite.

Germain, the protagonist of The Queen of Spades, was a Russian officer of German descent. He had "intense passions and a fiery imagination, but strength of character always protected him from the various mistakes that young men are prone to make."

This articulate, ambitious and accountable man never touched a deck of cards, but he was present at the raucous and merry gatherings of friends around the gaming table.

He always made it clear to those who encouraged him to place his bets: "I can't take the risk of losing the money I need just in the hope that I might get some extra cash." However, one of these evening gatherings was to decide his fate.

That evening, one of his gambling buddies, Tomsky, told him a story about how his grandmother had once heard from the Count of St. Germain about a winning strategy for gambling. The story involved three cards. Which cards? Any gambler would have bought the secret at a high price, but the old countess had made a vow never to bet again and refused to reveal the amazing sure bet that had saved her from bankruptcy and humiliation.

 This story made a strong impression on Germain. He was poor. He needed money to live as he should in this proud city. Win with a sure hand! Was it not absurd that the stubbornness of an old woman should prevent him from realizing his dream? After a night of strange nightmares, he decided to enter into his grandmother's private life.
Some line breaks have been made.

Henri Troyer, A Biography of Pushkin, translated by Hinako Shinozuka, p. 568

Germain thus sneaks into the old woman's house and tries to get the secret of the card.

This is where the fantastic story of Germain's mixture of sanity and madness begins to unfold.

The Queen of Spades and Dostoevsky

The madness and fantastical atmosphere depicted in "The Queen of Spades" greatly influenced Dostoevsky. In particular, the main character, Germain...Crime and Punishment."This also leads to Raskolnikov of

In the commentary of "The Queen of Spades: The Tale of Bailkin" published by Iwanami Bunko, the madness depicted by Pushkin and the praise of "The Queen of Spades" by Dostoevsky were explained in an easy-to-understand manner, and I quote it here, although it is a long story.

The Queen of Spades" is one of the two masterpieces of Pushkin's late period, along with the epic "The Bronze Knight," both of which are so-called Petersburg pieces. There is a deep connection between them thematically and in terms of composition.

In other words, in the relationship between the two, we find once again almost the same kind of variation that we observed between "The Tale of Belkin" and other rhymed works of the same period.

 If we take it a step further, the root of both works is a fragment of a lyric poem written in that same autumn, namely--

  I beg God, do not make my heart go mad.
  Rather, it is not necessary to set out on a wandering journey with a walking stick and a saddlebag,
  Rather, it is not enough to sweat with one's forehead, to work in the field, or to cry from hunger.
  Nor do I worship my reason, nor do I
  Though I would not wish to part with my reason, I will not lament it: ......

We must not overlook the fact that the unfinished poem, with the first couple of lines of the first couplet, lies as a common motive.

A few years after the poet's death, thebottom of a boxboat raceThis enigmatic fragmentary poem, which is said to have been discovered by the military police at the end of his life, conveys the appearance of the poet's crisis of skepticism and awe, as if he were on the verge of madness. It is clear, however, that the two poems, "The Bronze Knight" and "The Queen of Spades," were produced in the wake of such a spiritual crisis.

In a sense, these two works are two flowers, one blue and one red, that bloomed on the foundation of this crazy poem.

Evgenii, the hero of "The Bronze Knight," goes insane when he hallucinates that a statue of Peter the Great on the Neva River is coming back to life and pursuing him.

Germain, the protagonist of "The Queen of Spades," goes insane when he hallucinates that the queen of the cartels he has drawn at a betting hall in Petersburg is smiling wanly at him.

In the main tone that governs the work, one is realistic and the other is dreamlike, but we must not overlook the fact that the similarity between the two is not coincidental, but is deeply connected to the poet's own inner tragedy.
Some line breaks have been made.

Pushkin, The Queen of Spades, A Tale of Beelkin, translated by Kiyoshi Kannishi, Iwanami Shoten, p. 247-248

Then begins a commentary that also connects to Dostoevsky.

Now, if the play "The Queen of Spades" can be called a tragedy, the embodiment of that tragedy is none other than the protagonist, Germain.

He was a young officer with unshackled independence aspirations "fathered by a naturalized German in Russia. His father, of course, was presumably one of the small representatives of the foreign industrial capital that was beginning to flow into Russia at that time, and Gelman, like Evgenii, the hero of "The Bronze Knight," was also a commoner with a newfound ambition and rebellious spirit.

This German, whose profile is depicted as "a carbon copy of Napoleon," actually had a clear model. He was not only the son of a naturalized German, but also, according to the recollections of his colleagues, had an appearance similar to that of Napoleon.

I don't have time now to explain the deep scars, both material and psychological, that the December Party incident inflicted on Pushkin, but as one of the five great leaders who had known each other during his exile in Southern Russia and were eventually hanged after their uprising failed miserably, his bloody, romantic appearance was, I think, a kind of ghostly apparition. like a ghost, a kind offixed idea、、、、The poet's thoughts would have been constantly haunted by the idea of the "I" in the poem, as if it were the "I" of the poet.

In fact, in a diary kept around the time "The Queen of Spades" was written, there is even an account of a meeting with a duke named Szutzwe to talk about the old days of this pestilence.

I translated the epigraph of chapter 4 in an old-fashioned style, but I should have left it as it was in the original French, "Homme sans moeure et sans religion! I should have translated it as "Homme sans moeure et sans religion!

The quotation is based on the fact that the Duke of Sütze had a grudge against Pestelli for a long time ago, and it may be a direct reproduction of the kiss that he gave to Pushkin, in which he abused the deceased's character.

This Germanic image, in which the poet begged for his own bitterness, thus became the precious germ of the literary image of man that was later developed by, for example, Dostoevsky into the character of Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment".
Some line breaks have been made.

Pushkin, The Queen of Spades, A Tale of Beelkin, translated by Kiyoshi Kannishi, Iwanami Shoten, p. 249-251

And Dostoevsky's praise of "The Queen of Spades" is described as follows

One of those who have given unconditional praise to Raskolnikov's work is Dostoevsky. In fact, in his 1875 work "The Minor," Dostojevsky referred to this personage and said, "Germain is a gigantic figure. He is an anomaly, a totally Petersburg epitome - typical of the Petersburg period.

 Apart from such praise, Dostoevsky's appreciation of the true beauty of this work was unprecedented and unprecedented in its depth. Although it is a bit long, I would like to include a passage from his letter to J. Abather dated June 15, 1808, as a kind of extreme point in his review of "The Queen of Spades".

-The illusion is in such close contact with reality that the reader can hardly disbelieve it. Pushkin has experimented with almost every possible art form, but in "The Queen of Spades" he shows us the height of the fantastic art.

Moreover, the reader reads the novel thinking that what Gelman was seeing was in fact a vision, a vision that matched the man's worldview, but when he reaches the novel's conclusion, that is, when he finishes reading the novel, he is puzzled.

-It is hard to say whether the visions are a product of Germanic nature or whether this man is one of those who have actually experienced contact with another world. ......(séance) -and its theories). This is what I call a work of art!"
Some line breaks have been made.

Pushkin, The Queen of Spades, A Tale of Beelkin, translated by Kiyoshi Kannishi, Iwanami Shoten, p256-257.

According to Dostoevsky, the reason why this work is the height of art is that the boundary between reality and illusion is written with great skill.

Indeed, when you put it that way, Dostoevsky was right.

It becomes difficult to know if Germain went crazy and had visions, or if the world interfered with him and caused such a situation. It is not easy to determine, at least not easily.

We are reminded of Pushkin's amazing ability to create a magical world that transcends consciousness while depicting reality in a realistic manner.


I started reading "The Queen of Spades" because Dostoevsky was very impressed with this work and praised it highly, but this is an interesting work.

The story unfolds speedily, and a compact 50-odd pages in the paperback volume depict a rich worldview.

In Japan, Pushkin falls into a rather minor category, which I think is very regrettable.

Simply interesting! The fun of the royal road is in this work.

The small number of pages makes it easy to pick up. It is also a great work for a little reading.

Personally, I recommend it most highly among Pushkin's works.

In the following article, I will take the opportunity to explain the characteristics of Pushkin's works on the subject of "The Queen of Spades". What is great about Pushkin? I would like to talk briefly about what made Pushkin's works so great, and what made them so popular among the Russian people.

The above is a synopsis of Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades" - a major influence on Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"! The above is a synopsis of Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades".

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