Abstract

French literature has received a lot of attention lately from an unexpected public: economists. Whereas Piketty et al. study nineteenth-century novels to identify the wealth people needed to appear distinguished in the 1820s, and note the fears of bankruptcy felt by the have-nots, I argue that such issues need to be contextualized in a broader history of emotion. This chapter focuses on John Law’s ill-fated “System” and shows how it launched a series of opportunities for parodying economists and soothsayers of their ilk. Writers and artists used fiction and caricature to temper the French confidence about money, banks, and credit.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 43-58
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-02
Open Access
No
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