Abstract

Commonly discussed for its treatment of gender and disguise, Mary Davys’s The Reform’d Coquet (1724) remains untouched by scholarship on the economic concerns of early eighteenth-century literature. But when we attend to the economic circumstances of the plot, a story of reformation emerges concerning the capitalist figure of the middleman—that is, the agent acting in a merchant’s interest who was generally met with distrust in the eighteenth century. As I argue, The Reform’d Coquet transforms a middleman into a married man, and, by unveiling the middleman as an eligible bachelor, Davys’s novel overcomes the historically “insurmountable illegitimacy” of the merchant (to borrow Marcel Hénaff’s phrase) by making his mediation essential to domestic harmony.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 555-584
Launched on MUSE
2014-08-18
Open Access
No
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