Korol', dama, valet
(King, Queen, Knave)

Korol', dama, valet, Nabokov's second novel, Slovo, 1928; reprinted, Ardis, 1979; revised translation by son Dimitri Nabokov in collaboration with the author published as King, Queen, Knave, McGraw-Hill, 1968. (King, Queen, Knave can be found in the collections of many public libraries and is available online from Amazon.com and from Barnes & Noble. Also published as a Penguin Classic by Penguin UK.)

"Fine. So we can play on Sundays. Then you will need a decent suit, shirts, soft collars, ties, all kinds of things. How did you get on wth my wife?"

Franz grinned, not knowing the answer.

The title of King, Queen, Knave refers to the three main characters - Kurt Dreyer, a wealthy Berlin businessman; his youthful wife, Martha; and Franz Bubendorf, a young relative of Dreyer's who comes to Berlin to work for him. Franz and Martha become lovers, and conspire to kill Dreyer. Their impractical plans imbue the plot with a sense of absurd irony that permeates the style and substance of the novel.

"Of all my novels this bright brute is the gayest."
Nabokov, from his introduction

"It is a temptation to think of Nabokov's early works mainly as dress rehearsals for the masterpieces; and so one must stress that this book is as polished as any that have followed."
Gillian Tindall

Scholarly Criticism of King, Queen, Knave:

Buhks, Nora. "The Novel-Waltz: On the Structure of King, Queen, Knave"
Kinbote, Charles. "King, Queen, Knave"
Mazierska, Ewa. "King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov and by Jerzy Skolimowski"
A Bibliography of Critical Works on King, Queen, Knave
King, Queen, Knave, the film

WORKS

MARY | KING, QUEEN, KNAVE | THE DEFENSE
GLORY | LAUGHTER IN THE DARK | DESPAIR
THE GIFT | INVITATION TO A BEHEADING | THE EYE
THE ENCHANTER | THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT
BEND SINISTER | LOLITA | PNIN | PALE FIRE
ADA | TRANSPARENT THINGS | LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS!
THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA


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