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Realizing CapitalFinancial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Form$
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Anna Kornbluh

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254972

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254972.001.0001

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. Investor Ironies in Great Expectations

. Investor Ironies in Great Expectations

(p.45) 2. Investor Ironies in Great Expectations
Realizing Capital

Anna Kornbluh

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that Dickens’s unusual use of first person narration allows the novel to reflect on the logics of personhood that accompany financialization. It attends to the novel’s dramatization of bad investment and to the conspicuous images of psychic economy with which it undermines the protagonist, and claims that this celebrated Bildungsroman actually repeatedly casts shadows on the protagonist’s moral edification, resulting in an unreliable first person who, in admitting that he “feel(s) like a bank of some sort, rather than a private individual,” formalizes the limited liability of the corporate person birthed by the Limited Liability Act of 1855 and the Joint Stock Companies Act of 1856. In ironizing the corporate person, the text calls attention to unstable investor vehicles, while in probing the ethical pitfalls of the psychic economy idea it refuses to stabilize the grounds of economics in psychology.

Keywords:   Dickens, Irony, Corporate Person, First Person, Analepsis, Psychic Economy, Bildungsroman, Liability

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