Victorian Investments
Paperback Original

Victorian Investments

New Perspectives on Finance and Culture
Edited by Nancy Henry and Cannon Schmitt
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/4/2008
ISBN: 978-0-253-00343-0
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Victorian Investments explores the relationship between the financial system in Great Britain and other aspects of Victorian society and culture. Building on the special journal issue of Victorian Studies devoted to Victorian investments, this volume is the first to define an interdisciplinary field of study emerging in the space between Marxist critiques of capitalism and traditional histories of business and economics. The contributors demonstrate how phenomena such as the expansion of colonial and foreign markets, the broadening of the investor base through the advent of limited liability, and the rise of financial journalism gave rise to a "culture of investment" that affected Victorian Britons at every level of society and influenced every kind of cultural production. Drawing together work by prominent historians as well as literary and cultural critics, Victorian Investments both defines the methodologies and perspectives that characterize an existing body of scholarship and pushes that scholarship in new directions, demonstrating the signal role of economic developments in Victorian culture and society.

Author Bio

Nancy Henry is Professor of English at the University of Tennessee. She is author of George Eliot and the British Empire and The Cambridge Introduction to George Eliot, and is co-editor of a 2002 special issue of Victorian Studies.

Cannon Schmitt is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto. He is author of
Alien Nation: Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fictions and English Nationality.


"Serious, ample, and provocative, the essays are an important addition to the literature of nineteenth-century finance and offer constructive consideration of a fundamental feature of the practice and myths of capitalism as we continue to live with and in them." —Victorian Studies , Vol. 52, No. 1

"This is a generous collection in every sense of the term, commendable for the breadth of its voices and for the wealth of information it offers both newcomers to and veterans of the study of Victorian finance. . . . Assembling contributions from top scholars in history and literature, Henry and Schmitt offer us a diverse and highly readable volume." —
Journal of British Studies , Vol. 50, No. 3, July 2011

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Finance, Capital, Culture Nancy Henry and Cannon Schmitt

Part 1. A Prehistory of Victorian Investment
1. "Signum Rememorativum, Demonstrativum, Prognostikon": Finance Capital, the Atlantic, and Slavery Ian Baucom

Part 2. Cultures of Investment
2. Writing about Finance in Victorian England: Disclosure and Secrecy in the Culture of Investment Mary Poovey
3. The First Fund Managers: Life Insurance Bonuses in Victorian Britain Timothy Alborn
4. Limited Liability, Market Democracy, and the Social Organization of Production in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Britain Donna Loftus
5. Fair Enterprise or Extravagant Speculation: Investment, Speculation, and Gambling in Victorian England David C. Itzkowitz
6. Ladies of the Ticker: Women, Investment, and Fraud in England and America, 1850—1930 George Robb

Part 3. Fictions of Investment
7. Trollope in the Stock Market: Irrational Exuberance and The Prime Minister Audrey Jaffe
8. "Rushing into Eternity": Suicide and Finance in Victorian Fiction Nancy Henry
9. Rumor, Shares, and Novelistic Form: Joseph Conrad's Nostromo Cannon Schmitt

Afterword Martin Daunton

List of Contributors