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Writing and the Rise of Finance


  • Page extent: 240 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.362 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: n/a
  • Dewey version: n/a
  • LC Classification: PR448.C34 N53 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--18th century--History and criticism
    • Capitalism and literature--Great Britain--History--18th century
    • Finance--Great Britain--History--18th century
    • Capitalists and financiers in literature
    • Satire, English--History and criticism

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521604482 | ISBN-10: 0521604486)

The early eighteenth century saw a far-reaching financial revolution in England, whose impact on the literature of the period has hitherto been relatively unexplored. In this original study, Colin Nicholson reads familiar texts such as Gulliver's Travels, The Beggar's Opera and The Dunciad as 'capital satires', responding to the social and political effects of the installation of capitalist financial institutions in London. The founding of the Bank of England and the inauguration of the National Debt permanently altered the political economy of England: the South Sea Bubble disaster of 1721 educated a political generation into the money markets. While they invested in stocks and shares, Swift, Pope and Gay conducted a campaign against the civic effects of these new financial institutions. Conflict between these writers' inherited discourse of civic humanism and the transformations being undergone by their own society, is shown to have had a profound effect on a number of key literary texts.

• The first book-length investigation of the influence of the eighteenth-century financial revolution on contemporary literature • Interdisciplinary - of interest to economic historians as well as literary scholars • Ties in with current trendy focus on commodification, material culture, economic pressures on the production of literary texts


Preface; Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. A culture of commodities: 'Trivial Things' in The Rape of the Lock; 2. Cultivating the bubble: some investing contemporaries; 3. 'Some Very Bad Effects': The strange case of Gulliver's Travels; 4. 'Bilk'd of Virtue': The Beggar's Opera; 5. 'Abusing the City's Best Good Men': Pope's poetry of the 1730s; 6. 'Illusion on the town': Figuring out credit in The Dunciad; Bibliography; Index.

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