What is it about?

Compares Dostoevsky’s The Gambler (1867) to aspects of the modern self introduced in Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821) by English writer Thomas De Quincey. The two texts exemplify the genealogy of the modern self while showing that obsessive and repetitive self-production is a sort of intoxication that can be called modernity’s own addiction. The texts embody the ritual cycle of suffering, where decentralization of meaning is compensated for by strong sensation and mediated experience, in many ways defining the modern self.

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Why is it important?

This article provides a vital contribution to Dostoevsky studies, and more generally to comparative literature, because it investigates the subject of excess in relation to the representation of modern subjectivity. Excess and intensity as the hallmarks of modern experience was a topic very important to Dostoevsky in his writing, although it has received insufficient attention until now in either the Western or Russian scholarship on Dostoevsky.

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This page is a summary of: Suffering Games: De Quincean Transgression and Self-Production in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Igrok (The Gambler), The Dostoevsky Journal, January 2017, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/23752122-01801004.
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