Date of Submission

Spring 2023

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Karen Sullivan

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This thesis will argue that in the western European tradition, chess in literature represents both a pedagogical tool which instructs one in the art of living well, through allegory and Platonic dialogue, but also a Narcissan mirror uncannily similar to reality. As a tool and intellectual pastime, chess is virtuous, but latent with depths dangerously enthralling as an end in itself. Thus, chess carries inside its squares a lesson for living virtuously in the world but the danger arises when the chess mirror becomes a world unto itself. It is a game of self-fashioning and self-destruction. Instead of remaining confined to a particular age or genre, this argument will center upon three eras of chess literature, beginning with the Middle Ages, moving next to humanist Italy, and concluding with the modernist novel.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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