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Encyclopedia > The Gambler (novel)

The Gambler is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian General. Fyodor Dostoevsky. ...

The book was the basis of an opera by Sergei Prokofiev, also called The Gambler, as well as Hungarian director K├íroly Makk's film The Gambler (1997), which is about Dostoyevsky writing the novella. The Teatro alla Scala in Milan is one of the worlds most famous opera houses. ... Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (Russian: , Sergej Sergejevič Prokof’ev; 15/April 271, 1891–March 5, 1953) was a Russian composer who mastered numerous musical genres and came to be admired as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. ... The Gambler (Igrok in transliteration) is an opera in four acts by Sergei Prokofiev to a Russian libretto by the composer, based on the story of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. ... Károly Makk Károly Makk (born December 22, 1925 in Berettyóújfalu, Hungary) is a Hungarian film director and screenwriter. ...

Plot summary

The story is written in the first person, like many of Dostoevsky's short works. The Gambler chronicles a period of time spent in a spa town in Germany in the mid-19th century. The story is narrated by a tutor in a once prosperous General's household. The protagonist (the tutor) is Alexei Ivanovich. Aside from the narrator, the main subplot is the General's financial problems (and marital too) for which he feels the solution is his ill aunt's death; to add an even more morbid twist the General and his party send telegrams almost daily to find out if she has died. Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (Russian: Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский, Fëdor Mihajlovič Dostoevskij, sometimes transliterated Dostoyevsky  ) (November 11, 1821 [O.S. October 30] – February 9, 1881 [O.S. January 28]) is considered one of the greatest Russian writers, whose works have had a profound and lasting effect on twentieth-century fiction. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The narrator, Alexei, is in love with the General's stepdaughter, the manipulative Polina. He often speaks of doing whatever Polina would ask him to do, including jumping off the Schlagenberg, a mountain near the town.

Alexei often finds himself gambling for other people, a vocation he claims to despise. His game of choice in roulette, and Alexei is successful on some occasions in winning money for Polina.

Eventually the General's aunt comes to visit. She begins to gamble with Alexei. After a good start, her luck plummets and she loses thousands of roubles, much to her family's despair.

After his prospective fortune disappears, the General's prospective wife, a Frenchwoman, loses interest in him. She tempts Alexei of promises to bring him to France, but her promises simply turn out to be another form of the manipulation that he experienced with Polina.

Alexei continues his gambling, becoming further entangled in a cycle of betting and loss. The novel closes with Alexei hoping for the big win that would rescue him from debt.

The novella reflects Dostoevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book. Dostoevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline so he could pay off gambling debts.

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Gambler
  • etext: The Gambler
  • The Gambler, available freely at Project Gutenberg
  • (Russian) Full text of The Gambler in the original Russian

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Project Gutenberg (often abbreviated as PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Sergei_Prokofiev (2265 words)
He composed an opera based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel The Gambler, but the rehearsals were plagued by problems and the premiere scheduled for 1917 had to be cancelled because of the February Revolution.
Around 1927 things started looking up; he had some exciting commissions from Diaghilev and made a number of concert tours in Russia; in addition he enjoyed a very successful staging of The Love for Three Oranges in Leningrad (as Petrograd was now known).
Two older operas (one of them The Gambler) were also played in Europe and in 1928 he produced the Third Symphony which was broadly based on his unperformed opera The Fiery Angel.
  More results at FactBites »



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