Dice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History Of French Culture by Thomas M. KavanaghDice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History Of French Culture by Thomas M. Kavanagh

Dice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History Of French Culture

byThomas M. Kavanagh

Hardcover | April 30, 2005

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Gambling has been a practice central to many cultures throughout history. In "Dice, Cards, Wheels," Thomas M. Kavanagh scrutinizes the changing face of the gambler in France over a period of eight centuries, using gambling and its representations in literature as a lens through which to observe French culture. Kavanagh argues that the way people gamble tells us something otherwise unrecognized about the values, conflicts, and cultures that define a period or class. To gamble is to enter a world traced out by the rules and protocols of the game the gambler plays. That world may be an alternative to the established order, but the shape and structure of the game reveal indirectly hidden tensions, fears, and prohibitions.
Drawing on literature from the Middle Ages to the present, Kavanagh reconstructs the figure of the gambler and his evolving personae. He examines, among other examples, Bodel's dicing in a twelfth-century tavern for the conversion of the Muslim world; Pascal's post-Reformation redefinition of salvation as the gambler's prize; the aristocratic libertine's celebration of the bluff; and Balzac's, Barbey d'Aurevilly's, and Bourget's nineteenth-century revisions of the gambler.
"Dice, Cards, Wheels" embraces the tremendous breadth of French history and emerges as a broad-ranging study of the different forms of gambling, from the dice games of the Middle Ages to the digital slot machines of the twenty-first century, and what those games tell us about French culture and history.
Title:Dice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History Of French CultureFormat:HardcoverDimensions:9.36 × 6.92 × 0.98 inPublished:April 30, 2005Publisher:University Of Pennsylvania PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812238605

ISBN - 13:9780812238600

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Editorial Reviews

"With his connoisseur's knowledge (and manifest love) of the rules, and ruses, of games and the culture that they shape, Kavanagh makes a convincing case that gambling ought to be considered not a moral failing or individual pathology but a conspicuous, and uncommonly revelatory, practice that sets the social scene that it dramatizes."--"Journal of Modern History"