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Horace Walpole and the Fate of Finance

Horace Walpole and the Fate of Finance Abstract: Long before Marx said that interest-bearing capital was "something dark and mysterious," Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto (1764)—a groundbreaking gothic novel informed by early-capitalist structures of financial speculation, public credit, and other "spectral" forms of value. While Walpole has been associated with a Whig ideology that supported the advancement of England's commercial interests, this essay argues that his famous novel can also be read as a terrified response to an emerging finance economy, a development in capitalism that Walpole feared could come to dominate society. Featuring a crumbling castle and a prophecy about a lord who has "grown too large to inhabit it," The Castle of Otranto demonstrates how the discourse of rampant economic speculation—and the inevitable bursting of financial bubbles—could inscribe a new form of fate onto the generic codes of the supernatural novel. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

Horace Walpole and the Fate of Finance

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 58 (2) – Jun 14, 2017

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 University of Pennsylvania Press.
ISSN
1935-0201
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Long before Marx said that interest-bearing capital was "something dark and mysterious," Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto (1764)—a groundbreaking gothic novel informed by early-capitalist structures of financial speculation, public credit, and other "spectral" forms of value. While Walpole has been associated with a Whig ideology that supported the advancement of England's commercial interests, this essay argues that his famous novel can also be read as a terrified response to an emerging finance economy, a development in capitalism that Walpole feared could come to dominate society. Featuring a crumbling castle and a prophecy about a lord who has "grown too large to inhabit it," The Castle of Otranto demonstrates how the discourse of rampant economic speculation—and the inevitable bursting of financial bubbles—could inscribe a new form of fate onto the generic codes of the supernatural novel.

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Jun 14, 2017

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