Finance and Fictionality in the Early Eighteenth Century: Accounting for Defoe
In the early eighteenth century, the increasing dependence of society on financial credit provoked widespread anxiety. Texts of credit stock--certificates, IOUs, bills of exchange--were denominated as potential "fictions," while the potential fictionality of other texts was measured in terms of the "credit" they deserved. Sandra Sherman argues that the work of Daniel Defoe, which straddles both finance and literature, epitomizes the market's capacity to unsettle discourse, and to blur the distinctions between finance and fiction.
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