Dostoevsky's "The Gambler" Synopsis and Impressions - A realistic portrayal of the psychology of gambling addiction from first-hand experience.

gambler Dostoevsky's works

A realistic portrayal of the psychology of gambling addiction Synopsis of Dostoevsky's "The Gambler

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)Wikipedia.

The Gambler is a full-length novel published in 1866.

I read "The Gambler" translated by Takuya Hara, published by Shinchosha Publishing.

Let's take a quick look at the synopsis on the back cover.

A journey of subjection with Apollinariya, a woman 19 years younger than him,
During this time, the great writer gambled like a madman. This work is based on a true story.

Alexei, a general's tutor staying at a tourist resort in Germany, falls under the spell of roulette and is played by women, which eventually leads to his downfall. Dostoevsky had almost the same experience as that described in this book, and his narrative, backed by his own experience, sharply illuminates the depths of the human psyche through the act of gambling. This work occupies a unique position among Dostoevsky's entire oeuvre.

From the text
The ball jumped into the ditch.
Zero!" The dealer shouted.
How do you like it? With a crazy look of triumph, my grandmother looked back at me.
I myself was a gambling maniac. At this very moment, I felt it. My arms and legs were shaking and my head was pounding. Of course, it is a rare case that a zero appears three times in ten or so times. But in this case, there is nothing particularly alarming about it. ...... (Chapter 10)

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Set in a German sanatorium, the film is a realistic portrayal of the human psyche, with its morbid love affair between a young governess and a general's daughter, and its obsession with gambling.

As the synopsis states, this work is strongly influenced by Dostoevsky's actual experiences.

First, Dostoevsky was a severe gambling addict.

Even as a student, Dostoevsky liked to gamble a bit, and although his financial sense was rather unreliable, he won big at the casino during his first trip to Europe in 1862.

Perhaps having gotten a taste of it, he went to a casino immediately after leaving on his second trip to Europe the following year and lost all of his money. From this point on, his intense addiction to gambling became apparent.

On that trip, he had arranged to meet up with a woman named Apollinariya Suslova in Paris, but because he had gone to a casino, his arrival was delayed, which upset her and she treated him badly.

Although completely self-inflicted by Dostoevsky, this woman, Apolinariya Suslova, was also quite a strong woman.

For more information about this woman, see above.The Diary of Soussourois - Dostoevsky's Lover.In a letter to his sister, Dostoevsky says in detail in a book called

Apollinariya is a very egotistical person. Her egotism and self-esteem are off the charts. She wants people toall,,He demands perfection in every way, and does not forgive one imperfection in favor of another, and yet he tries to escape even the slightest obligation to others. ......

If you say so much, I wish I didn't have to like her, but surely that is the way love is destined to be? Dostoevsky is madly in love with her, and he suffers hopelessly from her mad love and her cruel treatment of him.

This spirit of madness in love and gambling that burns itself out is portrayed with unusual power in this work.

But I was thinking, "Huh? Wasn't Dostoevsky married? Why is he in love with Souslova?" Some of you may be thinking, "Why is he in love with Souslova?

That's right. In fact, my love affair with her was something I had hidden from my wife.

As shown in the timeline here, Dostoevsky married the widow Marya in 1857 after an intense love affair.

However, Marija suffered from lung disease and also had an unusually neurotic personality. Her hysterical relationship with Dostoevsky gradually deteriorated.

By 1863, Marija's lung disease had worsened and her neurotic nature was becoming more and more intense, and Dostoevsky went to Europe to get away from her.

He then falls madly in love with the young and brilliant Soussourois.

However, his love affair with Soussourois ended tragically and Dostoevsky was shocked.

When he arrived home, his wife Mary's condition had worsened to the point where there was no hope for her recovery.

His wife was suffering this kind of pain while he was escaping with a young woman... As one would expect, even Dostoevsky was strongly shocked by this.

And his wife Marija breathed her last in April of the following year, 1864.

The Gambler, written in 1866, is a work that strongly reflects Dostoevsky's real-life experiences.


The work depicts a mad love for a beautiful but haughty woman and the psychology of a gambler.

Among them, the scene in which the grandmother of a wealthy shogun family becomes addicted to gambling and loses almost all of her fortune, and the process in which the protagonist goes insane from the overwhelming excitement of winning all the time under his extraordinary luck, are particularly memorable scenes.

Why do people get addicted to gambling, and what exactly is the psychology of people who are addicted to gambling? You can find out in this work. This work is quite a ghastly piece of work.

The writing of this work also led to Dostoevsky's acquaintance with Anna Grigorieuna, whom he would later marry.

Incidentally, Dostoevsky never had an affair with his wife Anna, and he doted on her all his life. Even in his later years, Dostoevsky wrote so many words of love for his wife that it is embarrassing to read them.

Although there may have been some problems due to the personal virtue of Mrs. Anna and her compatibility with Dostoevsky, the shock and regret of mourning his wife Marija must have had a strong effect on him.

The episode of meeting her and the background of this piece being written are also very interesting. It is too long to talk about it here, but if you are interested, please read this book by Anna Dostoevskaya.Dostoevsky in Recollection."I hope you will read the following.

In addition, Dostoevsky's gambling addiction would not really hit its full stride until even after the novel was written, when he and his new wife, Anna, went on an outing to Europe, where they fell into an even worse situation than in "The Gambler.

The scene at that time is described in various Dostoevsky biographies, but this oneThe Diary of Mrs. Dostoevsky, AnnaThe most detailed description is given in

Since this is a diary by the wife, it is not a diary of the husband, but a diary of the wife's husband. We have no more money. We have to pawn it. The diary is kept by the wife, so it vividly records her life at that time.

This is so spectacular. If you read all this, Dostoevsky is truly a lousy man. I can only be astonished how his wife was able to support such a husband through all of this.

Dostoevsky later overcame his gambling addiction, and his family was able to have children and live a peaceful life.

Knowing such a happy ending, we can manage to see Dostoevsky's madness at this time, but it is still quite a madness.

This diary is very interesting in the sense that we can learn about such a "crazy human being Dostoevsky".

Read in conjunction with "The Gambler" to learn more about Dostoevsky's portrayal of gambling addiction.

Both works are highly recommended.

The above is a synopsis of Dostoevsky's "The Gambler" and his impressions - a realistic portrayal of the psychology of gambling addiction from his own experience.

*Addition on January 19, 2024

In November-December 2022 I embarked on a trip to Europe to visit places associated with Dostoevsky.

In "The Gambler," Dostoevsky describes his own real-life experiences with gambling addiction, and he continued to suffer from it even after his marriage to his wife, Anna. The greatest hell was the German holiday resort of Baden-Baden.

I have also been to Baden-Baden, where Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky spent their hellish days. And what do you think? The place was so comfortable that I fell in love with it. I can only be amazed at the extremity of Dostoevsky's power to turn this place into a hellish place.

Baden-Baden is also home to a sculpture by Dostoevsky, which is truly amazing! Please refer to this article to learn more about Baden-Baden.

And one last point.

In fact, Dostoevsky later overcame his gambling addiction. We hope you will read about this as well, as we discuss it in the following article.

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