Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain

Paperback | April 1, 2008

byMary Poovey

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How did banking, borrowing, investing, and even losing money—in other words, participating in the modern financial system—come to seem likeroutine activities of everydaylife? Genres of the Credit Economy addressesthis question by examining the history of financial instruments and representations of finance in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain.
Chronicling the process by which some of our most important conceptual categories were naturalized, Mary Poovey explores complex relationships among forms of writing that are not usually viewed together, from bills of exchange and bank checks, to realist novels and Romantic poems, to economic theory and financial journalism. Taking up all early forms of financial and monetarywriting, Poovey argues that these genres mediated for early modern Britons the operations of a market system organized around credit and debt. By arguing that genre is a critical tool for historical and theoretical analysis and an agent in the events that formed the modern world, Poovey offers a new way to appreciate the character of the credit economy and demonstrates the contribution historians and literary scholars can make to understanding its operations.
Much more than an exploration of writing on and around money, Genres of the Credit Economy offers startling insights about the evolution of disciplines and the separation of factual and fictional genres.

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How did banking, borrowing, investing, and even losing money—in other words, participating in the modern financial system—come to seem likeroutine activities of everydaylife? Genres of the Credit Economy addressesthis question by examining the history of financial instruments and representations of finance in eighteenth- and nineteenth...

Mary Poovey is the Samuel Rudin Professor in the Humanities andprofessor of English at New York University and author of, most recently, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:April 1, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226675335

ISBN - 13:9780226675336

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
INTRODUCTION
 
PREAMBLE / Mediating Genres
                        Imaginative Genres
                        Financial Writing
                        Monetary Genres
 
ONE / Mediating Value
                        Writing about Money in the New Credit Economy
                        The Fact/Fiction Continuum
 
TWO / Generic Differentiation and the Naturalization of Money
                        Inciting Belief through Print
                        Sir James Steuart’s Principles of Political Economy: Between Fiction and Theory 
                        Money Talks: Thomas Bridges’s Adventures of a Bank-Note
 
INTERCHAPTER ONE / “The Paper Age”
                        The Takeoff in the Book Trade
                        The Proliferation of Bank Paper
                        Differential Forms 

THREE / Politicizing Paper Money
                        The First Currency Radical: William Cobbett Pits Paper against Gold
                        Labor Notes and a Coinage of Pottery: Robert Owen and John Bray
 
FOUR / Professional Political Economy and Its Popularizers
                        Raising the Profile of Economic Theory: Ricardo, McCulloch, Chalmers, and John Stuart Mill
                        Financial Journalism: Economic Writing for Middle-Class Readers
                        W. Stanley Jevons and the Narrowing of Economic Science
 
FIVE / Delimiting Literature, Defining Literary Value
                        Literary Value and a Hierarchy of Imaginative Genres
                        Hierarchies of Reading
                        Facts, Fictions, and Literary Value
 
INTERCHAPTER TWO / Textual Interpretation and Historical Description
                        Reading Martineau’s Illustrations of Political Economy: Exemplary Interpretations
                        Historical Description
 
SIX / Literary Appropriations
                        Jane Austen’s Gestural Aesthetic
                        From Gesture to Formalism: Little Dorrit and Silas Marner
                        The Rewards of Form: The Last Chronicle of Barset
 
CODA
 
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Try convincing a mainstream economist that economic theory has something in common with literary theory and you are likely to be met with complete incredulity. Yet this is precisely what Mary Poovey . . . sets out to do in this impressive monogrpah. . . . Her erudition is dazzling, and novel connections are prodigious."