Daniel Defoe and the Bank of England

Daniel Defoe and the Bank of England

The Dark Arts of Projectors

Why is a novel like a corporation? How is Daniel Defoe connected to the Bank of England?


This little book tells the truthful story of how the Bank of England actually came into being. It is a story of pirates, treasure, random good fortune and sheer determination. This is an institution founded on risk, daring and imagination. The tale is entangled with that of the early novel, in particular the fortunes of one Moll Flanders, an entrepreneur of sexual relations in the growing London market for capital in the early eighteenth century.
These accounts are woven together with the life-stories of Daniel Defoe and William Paterson, founders of two of the key institutions of our modern age, the novel and the corporation. This reveals connections which are nowadays forgotten, and which the fractured specialisms of ‘Literature’, ‘History’ and ‘Business’ can rarely see.
These tales are set against the backdrop of the long eighteenth century - fervent years of inventiveness, high risk gambling, and political revolution. The authors show that the dark arts of deceit, and the credibility of fictions, are requirements for any creative enterprise, and that all organizations are fictions.

Listen to Mark Watson's BBC Radio 4 documentary featuring 'Daniel Defoe and the Bank of England': http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07k01bf


Though whisper it quietly, much of research in business would bore the bum off a buffalo. This on the other hand is an interdisciplinary masterpiece standing between English literature and Management which is an exciting tale of risk, danger, piratical endeavour, plunder, deceit and daring-do in the Age of Projects. It is a beautifully realised narrative interweaving the rise of the Bank of England with the economy of Scotland, Daniel Defoe’s biography and the story of Moll Flanders. It provides literary enjoyment and real insight into the contemporary world in equal measure. It’s a treasure. ~ Professor Gibson Burrell, Management, University of Leicester

This is an engaging and distinctive book about the links between the history of the novel and the Bank of England. Hamilton and Parker's work is an original contribution to our growing critical understanding of the fictional dimensions of finance and financial institutions. ~ Professor Nicholas Royle, Literature, University of Sussex

A bold and exciting fusion of literary and financial history, this provocative organisational study takes us to the very heart of the modern. ~ David Kynaston, Author and Social Historian

Valerie Hamilton
Valerie Hamilton Val runs her own consultancy practice in the City. Clients include household names such as the Bank of England and the Prudential. She has a...
Martin Parker
Martin Parker Martin Parker is Professor of Organization Studies at the University of Bristol Department of Management, and author or editor of many other...
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