This is the startling beginning to Notes from the Underground, one of the most profound works of nineteenth-century literature. A probing, speculative book, often regarded as a forerunner of the Existentialist movement, it examines the important political and philosophical questions current in Russia and Europe at the time. The Gambler explores the compulsive nature of gambling, one of the author's own vices and a subject he describes with extraordinary acumen and drama.
Both Dostoevsky's first wife and his brother died in the year that Notes was published, and he wrote The Gambler when he was deeply in debt and pursued by creditors. As with most of Dostoevsky's important works, these two were written as he underwent acute personal crisis.