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The Queen of Spades has long been acknowledged as one of the world's greatest short stories. In this classic literary representation of gambling, Alexander Pushkin explores the nature of obsession. Hints of the occult and gothic alternate with scenes of St Petersburg high-society in the story of the passionate Hermann's quest to master chance and make his fortune at the card-table. Underlying the taut plot is an ironical treatment of the romantic dreamer and social outcast. This volume contains three other major works of Pushkin's fiction, moving from the witty parodies of sentimentalism and high melodrama in The Tales of Belkin to an early experiment with recreating the past in Peter the Great's Blackamoor. It concludes with the novel-length masterpiece The Captain's Daughter, which combines historical fiction in the manner of Sir Walter Scott with the colour and devices of the Russian fairy-tale in a narrative of rebellion and romance. These new translations, as well as being meticulously faithful to the original, do full justice to the elegance and fluency of Pushkin's prose. The Introduction provides insightful readings of the stories and places them in their European literary context. A chronology of the Pugachov Uprising illuminates the events in The Captain's Daughter.
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