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The Gambler



Translated by Constance Garnett (1861-1946)

The Gambler brilliantly captures the strangely powerful compulsion to bet that Dostoevsky, himself a compulsive gambler, knew so well. The hero rides an emotional roller coaster between exhilaration and despair, and secondary characters such as the Grandmother, who throws much of her fortune away at the gaming tables, are unforgettable. The book's publishing history is equally so: Under the pressure of a deadline from an unscrupulous publisher, and with rights to his entire oeuvre at stake, Dostoevsky dictated the book in less than a month to the star pupil of Russia's first shorthand school. Then he married her.

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Recent Forum Posts on The Gambler

Getting beatdown with a stick

From the Everyman's Library edition. Just before harassing the Baronness in the park. Polina says "And why should you insult a woman? You'll sooner get beaten with a stick". Is this an appeal to reason? That he shouldn't do it because he will get a beatdown. OR He'll get whacked with the stick before he can insult or so he'd be better off insulting the man who is going to whack him/ or because he did whack him. OR The protagonist would rather take a beating than insult a woman ie. is a masochist. OR SOMETHING ELSE?

List of characters and their relation to one another?

Hi there, I'm reading The Gambler and was wondering if anyone familiar with it could perhaps give me a brief rundown of its characters and their general relationship to one another at the start of the novel? I read Crime and Punishment last year and it contained, quite helpfully, just such a list, and it proved quite useful in keeping all the names, first names, middle names, and multiple nicknames for each character straight. Any help on this front would be greatly appreciated. :)

The Gambler

I've just finished reading the gambler and I found it a litttle bit different than other dostoevsky novels that I read, the characters were very interesting but Dostoevsky's characters are always interesting but it was actually funny, I dont know if other people found it funny but it was, and it's less intense than his other novels. and it ended suddenly , when I finished reading the last sentence I flipped all the pages again because I didnt believe that it just ended maybe because I was expecting a tragedy I'm not sure, But overall it was a great short novel and I enjoyed it .I'd really want to know now what other people think of it.

Novel or Counterfeit?

Dostoyevsky's enigmatic work, "The Gambler" is neither a novel nor not a novel. It is a counterfeit novel and it is intended to be read as such. I come to that conclusion because it is clear from his other works that this author knows exactly how to write a novel and has done so on many other occasions --- so if in this case he wrote something very strange that starts out as if it were a novel and then collapses in on itself I have to assume he did so on purpose...Does anyone else read the story like this besides Peter Hodgson and myself?

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