Zaschita Luzhina (The Defense)
"Listen," she exclaimed, continuing to be cross, "were you ever educated? Where did you go to school? Have you ever met people at all, talked to people?"
"I've voyaged a great deal," said Luzhin. "Here and there. Everywhere a little bit."
International chess grandmaster Luzhin, once a child prodigy, has become so engulfed by the game that it is his only influence, emotionally, intellectually, artistically. Gradually, the themes of chess so diffuse other aspects of his life that they threaten his well-being; his only possible defense against the Game of chess is the game of chess.
"Of all my Russian books, The Defense contains and diffuses the greatest "warmth" - which may seem odd seeing how supremely abstract chess is supposed to be."
"Each character is a distinct species in his cage in the zoo, displaced and in captivity."
"The four chapters devoted to little Luzhin are pure gold, a fascinating extraction of the thread of genius from the tangle of a lonely boy's existence."
"Nabokov's theme? ... It is that the only alternative to perversity, with its magical and terrible privileges, is banality."
Announcing VN: Virtual Nabokov. An experimental draft of Virtual Nabokov, an on-line course on Nabokov's works, is now available. The second module of the course is devoted to The Defense. Nabokov fans interested in a 'guided reading' of Nabokov's third novel are invited to try Virtual Nabokov.
Scholarly Criticism of The Defense:
Drescher, Alexander. "Musical Analogies in The Defense"A Bibliography of Critical Works on The Defense
MARY | KING, QUEEN, KNAVE | THE DEFENSE
Zembla depends on frames for navigation. If you have been referred to this page without the surrounding frame, click here.