Event—Adult Education

Full Tilt: Gambling in Literature & Film


Get your poker face ready for this class focused on how gambling is depicted in literature and film.

Poker Alice, Howard Landers, Lester Fat Clyde, Gilbert Parker, Banks Stewart, Grasshopper Jim and Fred Borsch playing poker. Undated. Call number: CB&Q A-5-3 Record Group A-5 Box 88 Folder 4009

Class Description

From classics like Dostoevsky’s "The Gambler" to cult novels like A. Alvarez’s "The Biggest Game in Town," this class will explore depictions of gambling in literature, both fiction and non-fiction, and film, with a special emphasis on poker. 

We will ask, how does the randomness intrinsic to gambling create narrative suspense, tension, and intrigue? Pending availability, the final session of the class will feature a poker game with a professional player and author.

Harrison Sherrod manages a film production company by day and teaches seminars at the Newberry by night. He has led courses on everything from metaphysical detectives and con games to Star Wars and Marxism.

Materials List

  • A. Alvarez, The Biggest Game in Town. Picador, 2009. ISBN: 978-0312428426
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Double and The Gambler. Vintage, 2007. ISBN: 978-0375719011

First Reading

  • Please read Dostoevsky "The Gambler" and Arthur Schnitzler's "Night Games" before the first class.

Cost and Registration

Four Sessions, $195 ($175.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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