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Monday, July 26, 2010

Chess fiction: The Chinese Connection

Hello Everybody!

In one of the stories of The King of Trees, writer Ah Cheng explores chess as a social motif in detail. We don't have a lot on the specific story to share with you but this nice review is worth a read.
The book has been translated from Chinese by Bonnie S. Macdougall.

"Chess has been of service to Western art and literature for a thousand years, mined, since it arrived in Europe about a millennium ago, for sport, psychology/psychopathology, and a capacity to reflect changes in cultural style. (There is such a thing as romantic chess, for example, parallel to romanticism in poetry and music. Is there such a thing as romantic poker, cribbage, blackjack or rummy?)

"Instances of chess being raveled into our culture abound. To pick a few: In one medieval painting, Tristan and Iseult quaff their fateful love potion over a game. In another, a Christian and a Muslim, in what was still Moorish Spain, play peacefully, perhaps recalling the fact that it was the Arabs who brought chess to Europe.

"Skipping freely over centuries and media, we find that Samuel Beckett garnishes his 1938 novel, Murphy, with an absurd game of chess, set in a mental ward. (Not the first or the last time chess and madness compete for space)."

You can read the full review here.

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