Ljubica Miočević, Dynamiska tecken i Clas Livijns Spader Dame. (The Use of Dynamic Signs in Clas Livijn’s Queen of Spades.)
This paper examines the short novel Queen of Spades (1824) by the Swedish romantic writer Clas Livijn in respect to four groups of signs found throughout the work. These involve card games and playing cards, different designations for metals, proper names, and the titles of religious literature.
The theme of battle is paramount in the text. This is already visible in the choice of “Queen of Spades” as the name for the protagonist’s beloved, as this card has been illustrated with a portrait of Pallas Athena, the Goddess of War, since late medieval times. Livijn’s main character, Zachäus Schenander, views himself as a righteous Christian crusading against the moral and aesthetic decay of his contemporaries, who are associated with the forces of evil. The virgin Goddess of War is his muse. Schenander’s pretensions of authority are, however, obscured by irony.
The investigation of the semiotic and rhetorical strategies that Livijn employs emphasizes the dynamic nature of the signs he uses, that is, the differing and often contrary meanings of a given sign are actualized in respect to different points of view. This results in a text in which virtually every sentence undergoes numerous ironic twists. A central example of such sign usage is the “Queen of Spades” herself, who combines Schenander’s positive view with the negative views held by his antagonists. But the negative connotations, which also dominate Pushkin’s Queen of Spades (1834), cannot be vanquished. The poet-hero is defeated by the hostile corrupted world and is driven insane.
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2006. Vol. 127, 85-155 p.