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Realist Narration and Conspiracy Form in Balzac and Dickens

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningpeer review

This paper argues that the basis for Honoré de Balzac’s early stories and Charles Dickens’s last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend is the circulation of money, which allows narrative point of view into every living room and place of work where money can be borrowed or owed. Not only does this means of representing the life of a city require the presence of a money-lender, the plots are structured by the figures of conspiracy that oversee or pursue the movement of finance across the social range. The moneylender ‘Gobseck’, for instance, boasts of his ‘gaze like God’s’ and that ‘nothing is hidden from me’, a claim founded on his membership of a secretive group of financiers whose networks of credit enable the near omniscience associated with realism. Dickens’s novel also includes a Jewish moneylender, though he is merely a figurehead (and lightning rod) for the predatory business, Pubsey and Co. This paper examines how the lines of suspicion and surveillance in these works are attached to the circulation of commodities, and how the conspiracy plots’ racist overtones connect literary realism to anti-Semitic critiques of capital.
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2020
BegivenhedInternational Society for the Study of Narrative: 2020 Conference (New Orleans) - Intercontinental Hotel, New Orleans, USA
Varighed: 5 mar. 20208 mar. 2020


KonferenceInternational Society for the Study of Narrative: 2020 Conference (New Orleans)
LokationIntercontinental Hotel
ByNew Orleans

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