Cover image for Gambling, game, and psyche
Gambling, game, and psyche
Knapp, Bettina Liebowitz, 1926-2010.
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 308 pages ; 24 cm.
Pascal: a geometer's wager with God -- Balzac: The wild ass's skin: the gambler's quest for power -- Poe: "William Wilson": gambler? wastrel? reprobate? -- Dostoevsky's flayed gambler -- Serao's Naples: smorfia mania and the devouring father -- Sholom Aleichem: "The lottery ticket": a human gamble -- Hesse's The glass bead game: computerized culture -- Kawabata's The master of go: game as ritual of exile -- Zhang Xinxin's Orchid madness.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN56.G27 K58 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The fate of the hero-gambler, as described by Dostoevsky, Balzac, Poe, and others, is the focus of this unprecedented exploration of gambling and the human psyche.

Author Notes

Bettina L. Knapp is Professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in the departments of Romance Languages, Comparative Literature, and Women's Studies.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Games and gambling are human universals. Although the psychology of gambling is based on observation, Knapp (Hunter College, CUNY) speculates on and interprets fiction from the viewpoint of the century-old theory of psychoanalysis. She considers nine stories from seven nationalities across three continents and three centuries, providing the important message that human themes of domineering father, thrill-seeking, deceit, and masochism appear in literature across time and space. But though this emphasis on cross-cultural similarities advances the worthy goals of peace and tolerance, Knapp presents no evidence that these stories are representative of their milieu and were not selected in order to support her conclusion. Recommended for general and undergraduate readers interested in literature or psychoanalysis. Undergraduates through professionals with a scientific or practical interest in gambling will find Michael Walker's The Psychology of Gambling (CH, Jun'93) more useful. R. A. Drake; Western State College of Colorado

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 Pascal: A Geometer's Wager with Godp. 15
Chapter 2 Balzac: The Wild Ass's Skin-The Gambler's Quest for Powerp. 43
Chapter 3 Poe: "William Wilson"-Gambler? Wastrel? Reprobate?p. 73
Chapter 4 Dostoevsky's Flayed Gamblerp. 97
Chapter 5 Serao's Naples: Smorfia Mania and the Devouring Fatherp. 127
Chapter 6 Sholom Aleichem: "The Lottery Ticket"-A Human Gamblep. 167
Chapter 7 Hesse's The Glass Bead Game: Computerized Culturep. 191
Chapter 8 Kawabata's The Master of Go: Game as Ritual of Exilep. 227
Chapter 9 Zhang Xinxin's Orchid Madnessp. 251
Conclusionp. 277
Notesp. 283
Bibliographyp. 289
Indexp. 299