Illustrations by Gennady Yepifanov (Г. Епифанова) for Pushkin’s Queen of Spades, 1966:
I’ve seen the illustrator’s name spelled Yepifanov and Epifanov. He was a wood carver and engraver (1900-1985).
[Queen of Spades] is probably the most over-interpreted text in Russian literature… James may have been drawn by its hermeneutically provocative character. The tale has attained a scriptural status, and its exegetes find deep meaning in every word. Gematria, Masonic and numerological symbolism, secret messages to Decembrist conspirators, are thought to lurk in every corner. The loose ends of the plot are treated as sacred enigmas, and Pushkin is supposed to anticipate modernism and postmodernism in his cultivation of indeterminacy and undecidability, teasing the reader at every turn. The shifts back and forth in time and the changing points of view are taken as a display of sophisticated narrative technique. The style is said to have a limpidity and vital rhythm such as we find in Voltaire or Stendhal. In a story of such consummate craftmanship, it is thought, the oddities and enigmas must be fully deliberate.