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The Double and the Gambler (Everyman's…
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The Double and the Gambler (Everyman's Library) (edition 2007)

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Member:JWhitsitt
Title:The Double and the Gambler (Everyman's Library)
Authors:Fyodor Dostoevsky
Info:Vintage (2007), Kindle Edition, 361 pages
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The Double and The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
The Double was a challenge and read a little like Tsarist Russian Fight Club. Very trippy. The Gambler was much more straight forward and quite sad, especially considering Dostoevsky himself was a gambler who lost all he had at the Roulette table. He used his experience to expert effect in his short novel. ( )
  dgmillo | Jun 2, 2013 |
Well, I liked this a ton better than the other Dostoevsky I've read (Brothers Karamazov). Maybe just because it's tighter, maybe because I'm in a different place, maybe it's actually better. It has real force to it, anyway. Dostoevsky's loopy but airtight craftsmanship is on full display here.

Trivia: a) you already heard this one, but Dostoevsky once gambled away his wife's wedding ring; b) this book was in itself a gamble. He took a loan from a guy in exchange for the following gamble: if he didn't present the guy with a novel on a certain date, the guy would own all rights to his other books up to that point. He procrastinated in order to write The Idiot, ended up hiring a stenographer with weeks to spare and dictating this whole thing to her, got it to the guy on the very last day and promptly married the stenographer. That is a good story. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
From "The Gambler"
A noir novella about gambling addiction, risk-taking, and magical thinking.

Alexei Ivanovich suffers from unrequited love for Polina, a woman with secrets, one of which involves a desperate need for money. She asks Alexei to play roulette with her money, but he loses it all.

Polina says:
"'....Why I had that notion [that I would win at roulette] I don't understand, but I believed in it. Who knows, maybe I believed because I had no other choice.'
"'Or because there was all too much NEED to win. It's exactly like a drowning man grasping at a straw. You must agree that if he weren't drowning, he wouldn't take a straw for the branch of a tree.'
"Polina was surprised.
"'Why,' she asked, 'aren't you hoping for the same thing yourself? Two weeks ago you yourself once spoke to me, a lot and at length, about your being fully convinced of winning here at roulette, and tried to persuade me not to look at you as a madman - or were you joking then? But I remember you spoke so seriously that it couldn't possibly have been taken for a joke.'
"'That's true,' I answered pensively. 'To this day I'm fully convinced of winning. I'll even confess to you that you've just now led me to a question: precisely why has my senseless and outrageous loss today not left me with any doubts? I'm still fully convinced that as soon as I start playing for myself, I'm sure to win.'
"'Why are you so completely certain?'
"'If you like - I don't know. I know only that I NEED to win, that it's also my one way out. Well, so maybe that's why it seems to me that I'm sure to win.'
"'Which means you also have all too much NEED to win, if you're so fanatically convinced.'
"'I'll bet you doubt I'm capable of feeling a serious need.'
"'It's all the same to me,' Polina replied quietly and indifferently. 'If you like - YES, I doubt that you could seriously suffer from anything. You may suffer, but not seriously. You're a disorderly and unsettled man....'"
Kindle location 3156-3173

From "The Double"
Mr. Goliadkin, meek bureaucrat, can not yet acknowledge that he is following his own double, a man identical to himself:

"Suddenly, through the howling of the wind and the noise of the storm, there again came to [Mr. Goliadkin's] ears the noise of someone's footsteps quite close by. He gave a start and opened his eyes. Before him, again, some twenty paces away, was the black shape of a little man quickly approaching him. This man was hurrying, flurrying, scurrying; the distance was quickly diminishing. Mr. Goliadkin could even thoroughly examine his new late-night comrade - examined him and cried out in astonishment and terror; his legs gave way under him. This was that same walker he knew, the one whom he had let pass by some ten minutes earlier and who now had suddenly, quite unexpectedly, appeared before him again. But this was not the only wonder that struck Mr. Goliadkin - and Mr. Goliadkin was so struck that he stopped, cried out, was about to say something - and started after the stranger, even shouted something to him, probably wishing to stop him the sooner. The stranger actually stopped some ten paces from Mr. Goliadkin, and so that the light of a nearby streetlamp fell full on his whole figure - stopped, turned to Mr. Goliadkin, and, with an impatiently preoccupied air, waited for what he would say. 'Excuse me, perhaps I'm mistaken,' our hero said in a trembling voice. The stranger said nothing, turned in vexation, and quickly went on his way, as if hurrying to make up the two seconds lost on Mr. Goliadkin. As for Mr. Goliadkin, he trembled in every muscle, his knees gave way, grew weak, and he sank with a moan onto a hitching post. However, there actually was a cause of such bewilderment. The thing was that this stranger now seemed somehow familiar to him. That would still be nothing. But he recognized, he now almost fully recognized this man. He had seen him often, this man, even used to see him quite recently; but where was it? was it not just yesterday? However, once again this was not the main thing, that Mr. Goliadkin had seen him often; and there was almost nothing special about this man - no one's special attention would have been drawn to this man at first sight. He was just a man like everybody else, a decent one, to be sure, like all decent people, and maybe had some merits, even rather significant ones - in short, he was his own man."
Kindle location 883-904
  maryoverton | Aug 26, 2011 |
Much of the "neurotic narrator" character considered to be perfected by Dostoevsky in "Notes From The Underground" is first explored in this, his second novel, published the same year as his first, "Poor Folk." I enjoyed this translation more than the George Bird translation, mainly because the way the main character, Mr. Goliadkin (Sr.), keeps repeatedly addressing his doctor as "Krestyan Ivanovich" (his first name and patronymic), rather than Bird's version in which Golyadkin simpy repeats, "Dr. Rutensptitz." That might seem like a strange reason to prefer one translation to another, but maybe it's just that, to my non-Russian ear, the constant repetition of "So you see, Krestyan Ivanovich," sounds like such a mouthful I can't help but laugh. Constance Garnett's version also uses "Krestyan Ivanovich," and I generally prefer her translations. Maybe one day I'll actually get around to learning some Russian so I'll be a more fit judge.
  KCato | Aug 17, 2010 |
Read the Double. For Dostoevsky's 2nd novel (published two weeks after his first, so practically tied for first, as it were), this is a complex treatment of a relatively unknown phenomenon in the 1840s: schizophrenia. I'm not surprised that those on the cutting edge of psychology decades later saw this book as an excellent diagnosis. It is a shame that he never rewrote the work, as he had planned to do. However, upon planning to rewrite the book he actually wrote an entirely different one: Notes from the Underground. That's next on the docket; I am to read the Gambler later on, working as chronologically as possible. ( )
1 vote icattub | Jun 26, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fyodor Dostoevskyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375719016, Paperback)

The award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have given us the definitive version of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s strikingly original short novels, The Double and The Gambler.The Double is a surprisingly modern hallucinatory nightmare–foreshadowing Kafka and Sartre–in which a minor official named Goliadkin becomes aware of a mysterious doppelganger, a man who has his name and his face and who gradually and relentlessly begins to displace him with his friends and colleagues. The Gambler is a stunning psychological portrait of a young man's exhilarating and destructive addiction to gambling, a compulsion that Dostoevsky–who once gambled away his young wife's wedding ring–knew intimately from his own experience. In chronicling the disastrous love affairs and gambling adventures of Alexei Ivanovich, Dostoevsky explores the irresistible temptation to look into the abyss of ultimate risk that he believed was an essential part of the Russian national character.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:59 -0400)

Featuring themes such as the inner plurality of consciousness and the temptation to look into the abyss of ultimate risk, these two tales by Dostoevsky explore both classical and contemporary psychological notions.

(summary from another edition)

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