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Birth of the Chess Queen: A History

by

Birth of the Chess Queen: A History Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Everyone knows that the queen is the most powerful piece in chess, but few people know that the game existed for five hundred years without her. In India, Persia, and the Arab lands, where the game was first played, a general, or vizier (chief counselor to the king), occupied the square where the queen now stands. Not until the year 1000, two hundred years after Arab conquerors brought chess to southern Europe, did a chess queen appear on the board. Initially she was the weakest piece, moving only one square at a time on the diagonal, yet by 1497, during the reign of Isabella of Castile, the chess queen had become the formidable force she is today.

How and why did this transformation take place? Birth of the Chess Queen examines the five-hundred-year period between the chess queen's timid emergence and her elevation into the game's mightiest piece. Marilyn Yalom, inspired by a handful of surviving medieval chess queens, traces their origin and spread from Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and England to Scandinavia and Russia. In a lively and engaging narrative, Yalom draws parallels between the birth of the chess queen and the ascent of female sovereigns in Europe, presenting a layered, fascinating history of medieval courts, with their intrigues and internal struggles for power. Further, she shows the connection between the chess queen, the cult of the Virgin Mary, and the cult of Romantic Love, all of which influenced European society for centuries to come.

Illustrated with beautiful art throughout, this book takes a fresh look at the politics and culture of medieval Europe, the institution of queenship, and the reflections of royal power in the figure of the chess queen.

Review:

"Combining exhaustive research with a deep knowledge of women's history, Yalom presents an entertaining and enlightening survey that offers a new perspective on an ancient game." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Both chess fans and those unfamiliar with the game will enjoy this absorbing look at the evolution of chess and the rise in power and stature of the chess queen in the last 500 years." Booklist

Review:

"Chess, as any Nabokovian knows, is a superb metaphor for life. As Marilyn Yalom illustrates in her fascinating new book...the metaphor works the other way as well." Allan Barra, The Village Voice

Synopsis:

Life imitates recreation in this account of how the chess queen's emergence and elevation to the game's mightiest piece mirrors the ascent of female rulers to positions of power.

About the Author

Marilyn Yalom is a senior scholar at the Institute for Women and Gender at Stanford University. She is the author of A History of the Wife; A History ofthe Breast; Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women's Memory; and Maternity, Mortality, and the Literature of Madness. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, psychiatrist and writer Irvin Yalom.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060090647
Subtitle:
A History
Author:
Yalom, Marilyn
Publisher:
Harper
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Queens
Subject:
History
Subject:
Chess
Subject:
Women's Studies - History
Subject:
Queen
Subject:
Chess - General
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
General History
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series Volume:
1228
Publication Date:
20040427
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.56x5.84x1.12 in. 1.08 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » History
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » Chess

Birth of the Chess Queen: A History Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060090647 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Combining exhaustive research with a deep knowledge of women's history, Yalom presents an entertaining and enlightening survey that offers a new perspective on an ancient game."
"Review" by , "Both chess fans and those unfamiliar with the game will enjoy this absorbing look at the evolution of chess and the rise in power and stature of the chess queen in the last 500 years."
"Review" by , "Chess, as any Nabokovian knows, is a superb metaphor for life. As Marilyn Yalom illustrates in her fascinating new book...the metaphor works the other way as well."
"Synopsis" by , Life imitates recreation in this account of how the chess queen's emergence and elevation to the game's mightiest piece mirrors the ascent of female rulers to positions of power.
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