Although Nabokov’s The Defense has been an object of study for a long time, Shun’ichiro Akikusa suggests a different possible reading in his essay, “What Made Luzhin Commit Suicide? Nabokov’s The Defense as a Moral Game.” So far, as Akikusa states, the methods of analyzing this novel by Nabokov have followed certain patterns, such as the analogy to chess, the theme of the “otherworld” and the repetition of words. In this sense, the novel is regarded as typically “Nabokovian” in the context of Nabokov studies. Yet, such clichéd approaches can divert our attention from the core of the novel. The purpose of this paper is to reread The Defense from the point of view of the father-child relationship, and shed light upon the novel’s moral aspect. From this point of view, this novel can be read as a “moral game” between writer and reader. Nabokov puts the readers’ ability to attend to Luzhin’s tenderness to the test.
Revisiting Nabokov’s The Defense as a Moral Game: What Made Luzhin Commit Suicide?
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal