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(In)visible text: Queen of Spades in silent Russian cinema

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2019. Vol. 8. No. 2. Pp. 91-106.
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Hainová K.
Palacký University in Olomouc
10 Křížkovského, Olomouc 779 00, Czech Republic


Alexander Pushkin’s literary works have been an inspiration for the cinema already from the emergence of the narrative fiction film. One of Pushkin’s most frequently adapted stories is a mystical novella Queen of Spades written in 1833. In Russian silent cinema, there were different versions of the story - the first one appeared as a short film in early 1910 and was directed by Pyotr Chardynin, another already a feature-length version was made in 1916 by Yakov Protazanov. While Protazanov’s version follows Pushkin’s story more closely, Chardynin also seems to draw heavily on Tchaikovsky’s eponymous opera, which makes his film more reliant on the viewer’s prior knowledge of the original text. The article focuses on both films, particularly on their means of transferring Pushkin’s original text on screen. By comparing them to each other as well as with their original source materials (hypotext in Genette’s terminology), it also defines the degree of intertextuality in relation to the viewer’s understanding of the resulting hypertext.


  • • Alexander Pushkin
  • • Queen of Spades
  • • silent cinema
  • • intertextuality
  • • text transfer
  • • theory of adaptation


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