By John O'Brien
Lengthy prior to Citizens United and sleek debates over enterprises as humans, such corporations already stood among the private and non-private as either autos for trade and innovative constructs in line with teams of people. during this ebook, John O’Brien explores how this dating performed out in economics and literature, fields that received prominence within the comparable era.
reading British and American essays, poems, novels, and tales from the 17th throughout the 19th centuries, O’Brien pursues the belief of incorporation as a trope discernible in quite a lot of texts. Key authors comprise John Locke, Eliza Haywood, Harriet Martineau, and Edgar Allan Poe, and every bankruptcy is orientated round one of those company mirrored of their works, corresponding to insurance firms or banks. In exploring matters equivalent to even if sentimental curiosity is equal to monetary curiosity, those works undergo witness to capitalism’s impact on historical past and human hard work, wish, and reminiscence. This period’s ingenious writing, O’Brien argues, is the place the unconscious of that technique left its mark. via revealing the tricky ties among literary versions and fiscal thoughts, Literature Incorporated exhibits us how the enterprise company has formed our figuring out of our social global and ourselves.
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Additional resources for Literature Incorporated: The Cultural Unconscious of the Business Corporation, 1650-1850
Scarcity was widely understood by many Europeans to be a basic condition of the environment in which they lived. Whether they understood it to be a sign of the postlapsarian state of the world, evidence that humanity was on the downslope of the classical cycles of corruption and rejuvenation, or whether, more in keeping with the empiricist spirit to which Locke contributed, they had begun to notice the environmental degradation of northern Europe caused by centuries of deforestation, overfishing, mining, and other demands on the common resources of the earth, seventeenth-century English people were motivated to undertake colonial ventures in no small part because they were after goods that they believed or knew to be scarce.
24 Desire, for so long condemned as mere avarice, was now widely heralded as the force that drove the trade upon which the social order depended, and, naturalized into an irreducible constant that motivated all participants in the marketplace, it lent economic thought a degree of coherence that guaranteed its systematicity. ”25 What has summoned this forth, however, is not philosophical musing, but rather the collective interests of the East India Company, of which North was a defender and Barbon an investor, and which was at this time mounting a campaign in print to lower the rate of interest for government borrowing to lower the cost of its own operations.
To the modern scholar, writing at a time when knowledge has become hyperspecialized, and when it takes the better part of a decade to be accredited at the highest levels of even a single discipline, the scope of Locke’s interests, knowledge, and influence is humbling. Yet surely no small part of the reason for this is not only that Locke was extraordinarily intelligent—though he was—but that he lived at a time when the quantity of what was known and knowable about many topics was still modest enough for a single intelligent man, one with curiosity, time, and access to the means by which information was disseminated (primarily through universities, salons, correspondence, and print periodicals) to gain what was at the time fairly advanced degrees of knowledge in many of them.
Literature Incorporated: The Cultural Unconscious of the Business Corporation, 1650-1850 by John O'Brien