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
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