The Fantastic in “The Queen of Spades” by Pushkin — a Problematic Plot

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2017, Vol. 3. №3

The Fantastic in “The Queen of Spades” by Pushkin — a Problematic Plot

For citation: Marillaud P. 2017. “The Fantastic in “The Queen of Spades” by Pushkin — a Problematic Plot”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 3, no 3, pp. 9-34. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2017-3-3-9-34

About the author:

Pierre Marillaud, Dr. of Linguistics, Associate Researcher, University Toulouse-Jean Jaurès (France); Inspector of the Honorary Academy;


Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades” belongs to the fantastic texts. While this article does not represent a complete linguistic or semiotic analysis of this famous work, it shows the author’s attempts to highlight the fantastic markers in this text, evoking numerous discussions. In analyzing the first chapter, the author determines whether the presented facts are related to a logical and realistic picture of events. It turns out that the strange (supernatural, fantastic) appears only in the episode “the story within the story”. The second chapter of the story shows how the fantastic story told by Tomsky gradually becomes possible for the protagonist. The author notes the contradictory nature of Herman (his intellect is overwhelmed by passions, emotions) and compares it with another famous character — J. Sorel from Stendhal’s novel “Red and Black”. In the analysis of the third chapter, the author refers to the four translations of this work into French and finds differences in the interpretations of the translators that significantly influence the perception of the text and the events described: supernatural events in the original text turn into natural events in translations. A careful reading of the subsequent chapters gives grounds to argue that the fantastic in the text is based on the readers’ doubts about the realism of what is happening, on the author’s intention to disorient them. The author also analyzes the concepts of the fairy (miraculous) and the fantastic and prove thats this work belongs to the category of the fantastic.


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