Financial Times


Material Information

Financial Times Finance Capitalism, London, and the British Modernist Novel, 1870-1940
Physical Description:
1 online resource (225 p.)
Martin, Regina
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Committee Chair:
Wegner, Phillip E.
Committee Members:
Kershner, R. B.
Turim, Maureen C.
Alter, Nora M.
Schiefer, Ronald


Subjects / Keywords:
britain, capitalism, character, collins, doyle, finance, hardy, holmes, literature, modernism, moonstone, novel, rhys, sherlock, tonobungay, voyage, waves, wells, woolf
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
English thesis, Ph.D.
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )


FINANCIAL TIMES: FINANCE CAPITALISM, LONDON, AND THE BRITISH MODERNIST NOVEL, 1870-1940 "Financial Times: Finance Capitalism, London, and the Modernist Novel, 1880-1940," reconsiders the British modernist novel with respect to the phase of finance capitalism that Giovanni Arrighi argues characterized the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Britain. During this period, the British economy became increasingly reliant on financial modes of accumulation— what Paul Krugman, in a recent op-ed describing the financialization of the U.S. economy, calls "the business of moving money around, of slicing, dicing and repackaging financial claims"—and an increased flow of liquid resources were channeled into and through the London-anchored international banking networks. London was, in one scholar’s words, "the prop for the British economy as a whole." Thus, I argue that London became central to British national identity in a way it had not been before, and a novelistic tradition that had grown up under the hegemony of the feudal estate—the social structure upon which the manufacturing economy of the nineteenth century had been based—found itself having to adapt to the uniquely and complexly heterogeneous social and geographic spaces of London. Before turning to the modernist novel’s new-found interest in London, Chapter 1 lays the foundation for that investigation by tracing the history of "character" in the British novel. If, as many critics argue, the eighteenth-century British novel taught us how to read and attach value to character, I look at how the eighteenth-century novel renders character legible through a complex of domestic reading conventions that construct the place we call home. Then, via a reading of Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868), I argue that the idea of home begins to unravel. In an effort to shore up the epistemology of character, Collins’s novel intensifies the logic of home; but in so doing destabilizes it and renders it incapable of serving as a source of certainty. To conclude Chapter 1 I turn to Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet (1887), and argue that Holmes represents a re-emergence of the figure of the quixote, who was so important to the burgeoning hegemony of domestic discourse in the eighteenth-century. But unlike his predecessors, Holme’s quixotism wields narrative authority and instead of discrediting a prior mode of literary representation begins to imagine a new one, a new mode of literary representation that disassociates questions of character from personhood and like later modernist novels conceives of character as a problem of textuality that is no longer referential. Tracing the history of character in fiction is important to understanding how and why modernist novels became so interested in the city during the financial phase of Britain’s global hegemony. Chapter 3 examines how London causes problem for the epistemology of character in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. As an ostensibly provincial novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles is an important test case for my claim that the financialization of the British economy was accompanied by a cultural turn toward London. I argue that Tess is in fact a London novel, as it depicts a provincial Wessex infused with the logic of London. Indeed, the novel’s central conflict, Angel’s reaction to Tess’s confession, arises from the misapplication of pastoral hermeneutics to a world, the novel suggests, is best made sense of through an urban poetics. In subsequent chapters I look at how London provides a model for novelists trying to rethink character as a textuality that encodes and decodes the manufacturing of value under finance capitalism. With its reading of H. G. Wells’s Tono-Bungay (1909), Chapter 4 anchors my dissertation because Wells’s novel offers the most explicit and thorough articulation of the phenomona I observe piecemeal in the other novels. It registers a full-blown awareness of the challenges the shift to financial modes of accumulation and the consequent turn toward London pose for the novel and the model of subjectivity it posits. As I demonstrate, through the novel’s financial mogul, Teddy Ponderevo, Tono-Bungay locates epistemological isomorphisms between finance capitalism, urban space, an emergent form of subjectivity, and a new novelistic poetics. If Wells’s novel finds congruence between subjectivity, finance capital, and London’s complex spatial regime, that congruence does not inform the novel’s structure as it does in the final two novels I examine. In Chapter 4, I argue that the formal innovations of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves ground a new mode of subjectivity resembling what I call the speculating subject. Reading Woolf’s novel alongside the economic theory of her fellow Bloomsberry John Maynard Keynes reveals parallels between Keynes’s theory of financial speculation and The Waves’s vision of collective subjectivity. "Financial Times" concludes with a reading of Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark that locates a sparseness at the heart of fiancé capitalism, which is mirrored in Rhys’s heroine, Anna Morgan. If Teddy Ponderevo’s behavior and speech patterns are repeated in Tono-Bungay’s representation of London and his financial empire, and if Woolf’s formal experimentation imagines a speculating subject whose value emerges as a process of textuality rather than character, Anna Morgan is the opposite side of the same coin. She similarly encodes a world saturated by the logic of London and finance capitalism.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Regina Martin.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
General Note:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
General Note:
Adviser: Wegner, Phillip E.
General Note:

Record Information

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Rights Management:
Copyright Regina Martin. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
lcc - LD1780 2010
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