I'm reading Dostoevsky Portrayed by His Wife: the diary and reminiscences of Mme. Dostoevsky. We're currently going through Dostoevsky's gambling phase, and I'm at a loss to understand how the denominations of money are ordered or how they might equate to modern money. Helpful to note, they are in Baden, Germany in 1867.

They're using the following phrases: franc, louis, louis d'or, thaler, gulden, coppers, pennies, kreutzers and florins.

Though largely unhelpful, here's what I've found from internet research:

  • Wikipedia says that thalers were used all over Europe and are somewhat equivalent to the idea of a dollar.
  • I think* franc, louis and louis d'or might all by synonyms for each other?
  • I also think gulden (or the English version guilder, according to Wikipedia), copper, and pennies are all synonymous.

*Term "think" used very loosely here. "Inclined to believe" might be more accurate.

I want to understand, when Fedya gambles their last louis or thaler, which he does often, how dire straights are they really?

Or is this all very literary and I'm doomed to be driven mad by the Dostoevsky's apparently unintelligible finances.

Edit: typo and added more terms they started using.

Source: reddit post


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