The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 2011/1

gambler

My first book of 2011 was the 1971 paperback version of Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler translated and introduced by Jessie Coulson. It was interesting to first read the introduction prior to reading the novel itself as it gave a brief biopic of the author and his situation during the time of writing the novel. This helps to set the scene in a way the novel itself does not. The author himself is both the narrator and one of the characters of the novel and is largely based on his own experience.

You can find a list of characters and a plot synopsis on wikipedia here

The thing that confounded me most were the various currencies – florins, friedrichs d’or, louis d’or, thalers and gulden. Roubles and Francs of course were familiar to me.

More about the gulden here. Gulden were sometimes referred as florins.

The Louis d’or was a French gold coin with the same value as one franc and the Friedrich d’or was a gold coin worth 5 silver Prussian coins. It would all be Euros in today’s money. It’s worth understanding the currencies as most of the action takes place at the casinos where stakes are made in the various currencies stated above.

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