The Queen of Spades and Other Stories

This collection of nineteen of Pushkin’s shorter stories, finished and unfinished, begins with The Queen of Spades, perhaps Russian literature’s  most celebrated short story.  The young Hermann, while watching friends gambling, hears of an old lady who can predict the three winning cards in a game.  Obsessed with the old woman’s seemingly mystical power, he seeks to extract the secret from her at any price.

This volume also includes Dubróvsky, the story of a man’s desire to avenge himself for the unjust confiscation of his lands; The Negro of Peter the Great, an unfinished tale based on the career of Pushkin’s African great-grandfather; Egyptian Nights, an ironic meditation on poetry and the poet; and In the Corner of a Small Square, a fragment that prompted Tolstoy to write Anna Karénina. Together they represent some of Pushkin’s most striking and enduring prose works.

Here is a full list of the stories in this volume:

Part One: Works published during Pushkin’s lifetime

The Queen of Spades (1833)

Kirdzhali (1834)

Part Two: Unfinished works published posthumously

The Negro of Peter the Great (1827–28)

The Guests Were Arriving at the Dacha… (1828, 1830)

A Novel in Letters (1829)

Notes of a Young Man (1829 or 1830)

My Fate is Sealed: I am Getting Married… (1830)

A Fragment (1830)

In the Corner of a Small Square… (1830 or 1831)

Roslavlev (1831)

A Novel at a Caucasian Spa (1831)

Dubrovsky (1832–33)

A Tale of Roman Life (1833, 1835)

Maria Schoning (1834 or 1835)

A Russian Pelham (1834 or 1835)

We were Spending the Evening at Princess D.’s Dacha… (1835?)

Egyptian Nights (1835?)

In 17.. I was Returning… (c.1835)

The Last of the Lineage of Joan of Arc (1837) (translated by Michael Basker)

This edition

Paul Debreczeny’s edition of these works was first published by Stanford University Press in 1983.  For this edition I have made only sparing revisions and corrections to Debreczeny’s fine translations of Pushkin’s prose.  Several works (notably A Tale of Roman Life, We were Spending the Evening at Princess D.’s Dacha… and Egyptian Nights) contain substantial verse passages of Pushkin’s, and in the Stanford University Press and Milner editions these were translated, not by Paul Debreczeny, but by Walter Arndt. The somewhat antique and florid diction of these verse translations seemed to me alien to Pushkin, so I have replaced them with my own.

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