The Queen of Spades Background

The Queen of Spades Background

This historic story sets the stage in St. Petersburg, Russia on the Gulf of Finland in the winters of early 1830s. St. Petersburg was a major city in the Republic of Russia, for it was the capital from 1712 to 1918. The story’s flashbacks of the Countess Anna Fedotovna mainly take place in two French locales: Paris and Versailles in the 1770s.

The tale gyrates around the main character Countess Anna Fedotovna who is eighty-seven years in age. This woman is a major gambler who, surprisingly, never loses any card games. It is rumored that she had a secret card trick that was told to her by her old friend Count St. Germain. The character Count St. Germain was inspired by a real-life character who, apparently, was a British spy. The countess was also not only a mother, but she was also a grandmother and a wife. Her husband was Vladimir Borisovich Golitsyn.

The tale's style is a parody blended with some Shakespeare's axiom with the climax at the scene when Hermann mistakes the queen of spades.

Overall, this short story by Alexander Pushkin, written in the autumn 1833, is about greed and avarice, and the choices we make in life.

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