Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Chess as a Key to Solving Nabokov’s Korol’, dama, valet

This thesis examines the role of chess in Nabokov's novel, Korol', dama, valet, and how the struggle between the narrator and the protagonist, Martha-Marta, can be justified by using chess as a key. The first portion of my analysis is based on the role of the diegetic narrator in an attempt to subvert Martha's movements toward autonomy. In explaining the narrator's subversion of Martha, I explore the nature of the protagonists, the movement of the narrative, and the structure and parameters of the novel in relation to it being a figurative game of chess. Furthermore, Martha's attempts at dominance are examined in connection to the concept of past-reconstruction. I conclude my analysis by ushering in unifying intersections of plot and characterization in Nabokov's later work.