Franz Kafka

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, The Queen of Spades

"The Queen of Spades" (Пиковая дама; Pikovaya dama) - the story of the army officer, with a passion for gambling, who never gambles for he's "not in a position to risk the necessary in the hope of winning the superfluous" and become obsessed with...well you know the story line...- is a  marvelous work, with the merit of introducing in Russian literature elements of  gothic, romanticism, expressionism, noir, and psychology.
You read about the Countess Anna Fedotovna, the Queen of Spade, and the fleeting mind immediately goes to Dostoevsky, and "The Gambler"'s Antonida Vasilevna. As Hermann begs, threats and ultimately "kills",  one thinks of  "Crime and Punishment"'s  hero, the student Raskolnikov. Yet, what can possibly move Hermann's mind? Greed, despair, lack of humanity -certainly; perhaps also materialism, or atheism, or an early seed of nihilism that is yet to come? Indeed, Pushkin is the mother river, from which all the waters of all rivers originate. Then again, who or what is the queen of spade? Is it madness, despair or the mystery of existence? Is it the force of revenge, the wheel of destiny, the smite of conscience? Is it the bite of guilt, the inability to feel love or compassion, and to understand the living forces, the transcendent values, the sparking passions allowing to possibly overshadow, if not overcome,  the irremediable and grim karma of death?

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