Writing and the Rise of Finance: Capital Satires of the Early Eighteenth Century
The early eighteenth century saw a far-reaching financial revolution in England. 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. While they invested in stocks and shares, Swift, Pope and Gay conducted a campaign against the civic effects of new financial institutions such as the Bank of England and the inauguration of the National Debt. 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.
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