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The Double and The Gambler (Vintage Classics) Paperback – January 16, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375719016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375719011
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Pevear and Volokhonsky may be the premier Russian-to-English translators of the era." –The New Yorker

About the Author

About the Translators: Richard Pevear has published translations of Alain, Yves Bonnefoy, Alberto Savinio, Pavel Florensky, and Henri Volohonsky, as well as two books of poetry. He has received fellowships or grants for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the French Ministry of Culture. Larissa Volokhonsky was born in Leningrad. She has translated works by the prominent Orthodox theologians Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff into Russian. Together, Pevear and Volokhonsky have translated Dead Souls and The Collected Tales by Nikolai Gogol, The Complete Short Novels of Chekhov, and The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, Notes from Underground, Demons, The Idiot, and The Adolescent by Fyodor Dostoevsky. They were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of The Brothers Karamazov and of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and their translation of Dostoevsky's Demons was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Like Dislike recommend Both stories are good.
Marcie Moore
The Gambler provides one of the finest insights into the mind of the compulsive gambler ever written (understandable, given Dostoevsky was a compulsive Gambler).
Charcoal Chicken
As for why you should buy this particular edition... The translation: Pevear and Volokhonsky are simply brilliant.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By selffate on January 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The perfect little companion piece to two of Dostevsky's several short stories, and two of his best if not THE best might I add.

I have read both these stories before but translated by different authors in the Great Short Works compilation by Perennial classics. Before I go on to mention about the Peaver/Volkhonsky translations which are superior I will talk briefly about both stories, not so much what they are about (you can find many of those around here) but of the translations themselves.

The Double is quite a fascinating short story, but for a lot of people it doesn't have closure, and the ending gives the impression of cheating the reader. I first read the George Bird translation which is actually okay compared to this one, but nowhere near as colourful. You will really get a kick of Mr. Golyadkin's play into madness, it is quite a wild ride.

The Gambler is truly one of those books that litteraly makes your skin crawl. Also Peaver/Volokhonsky's translation compared to Constance Garnett is FAR superior full of life and what I call Dostoevsky "flow" where as Garentt's comes off as 'flat'. The Gambler isn't just a well written story but also gives a glimpse into a time period that doesn't exist any more, (his comments about Frenchmen, Englishmen, Germans and Poles is quite insane) and a depth into the soul of the tortured novelist who suffered the afflictions of the main character. You will also get a serious kick out of the high wheeling grandmother (baboushka) in this book, she is one of the most memorable characters in any story EVER.

Both these stories are great page turners you wont be able to stop until you are done.

More importantly, the Everyman book looks great on my book shelf as always.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By littlecatland on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
These two short novels by Dostoevsky, are a change of pace fot the writer. "The Double" was written when the author was young and was sort of a "riff" on Gogol-style absurdity. Mr. Golyadkin goes to work one day and finds a man with the same name who looks just like hiim doing his job. What's worse is that the other man is more popular with the coworkers than he ever was. It is a darkly comic story who's main character is a vague, early take on Dostoevsky's Underground Man/Raskolnikov character.

"The Gambler" was written for money and in a hurry. He was trying to finish "Crime and Punishment" but needed to publish a book FAST so he dictated this short book to a secretary (whom he later married). It's about the foolishness of the gambling community at Baden-Baden in Germany. All of Dostoevsky's Gemran stereotypes are on display so take those for what they're worth. The great fun of this book is the pace; the dictated novel zips along faster than most 19th century novels ever do. It's as close to a Summer read as Dostoevsky ever got.

Five stars might be a little high for such trifles that are so out of character for Dostoevsky but the writing is top notch, much better than reading "The Adolescent" or "Insulted and Injured." The translation is tight and the stories are really a lot of fun. The translations by Jessie Coulson (published by Penguin, I think) are also very good.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lgrfl on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A work like this has three aspects:

1. The quality of the story
2. The quality of the translation
3. The quality of the book itself

This book, as is the case with all of the Everyman books translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, gets a 5/5 on all three counts.

The story: The Double's initial reception was not altogether favorable. It has since gained appreciation, and rightfully so. It's a brilliant, hilarious, sometimes confusing story that is simultaneously humorous and melancholy. I haven't finished The Gambler, but it too is a tremendous work of literature; certainly it is one of Dostoevsky's greatest works with his signature embedded psychological study. I needn't sell you on the story, though--if you're looking at this page you no doubt appreciate Dostoevsky's genius and are looking for more to read. As for why you should buy this particular edition...

The translation: Pevear and Volokhonsky are simply brilliant. They've done Dostoevsky, Tolstoy's two big novels, and most if not all of Chekhov and Gogol (among other works). Their translations are superlative. I read their translation of Crime and Punishment back-to-back with Garnett's and there was no comparison. Their translations have become standard in the academic world, and for good reason. They are faithful to the text and have a wonderful feel for each individual work. Garnett, on the other hand, reduces everything to the monotony of Victorian-style prose. Don't even consider getting another translation. And if you're going to get the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, then you must get this version...

The book: Every time I buy a classic work of literature I check first to see if there's an Everyman edition, specifically the cloth-bound hardcover versions.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Though largely famous for long novels, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote a number of notable novellas, of which The Double is an early example and The Gambler is last. This collection includes both in new translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the Russian to English translators now most in vogue, as well as an insightful Introduction. This is not only convenient but an excellent value. The stories are not on par with longer works, but fans of those revered pieces will like them, as they have much of the greatness on a small scale. Also, along with Notes from Underground, they are a good place to start for those curious about Dostoevsky but intimidated by his thick masterpieces.

Though an early work and not as well-crafted as The Gambler, The Double is an interesting story that manages to put a new spin on the doppelganger phenomenon. In it, Dostoevsky very skillfully portrays one man's lonely descent into madness - and manages to be screamingly funny while doing so. This is certainly no major work, but some of the themes - namely madness - were worked out in more detail later, and the uncharacteristic humor may appeal those not keen on Dostoevsky's famous dark side.

The Gambler is quite different and better overall; fans and scholars will have a proverbial field day comparing the stories and why they were put together, but it works quite well on its own. Dostoevsky is world renowned for psychological insight, and The Gambler is a consummate example. The first-person narrative gives a fascinating peek into a gambling addict's mind; we learn much about what causes such behavior and, more importantly, what perpetuates it, often against better judgment.
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