English 285lm. Language and Money in English Literature

Instructor: Marc Shell
Terms: Fall Term

Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: Barker 269

This seminar investigates interrelationships between money and language as means of representation and exchange. Literary works include Charles Johnstone’s Chrysal, Elizabeth’s Inchbald’s Nature and Art, Ezra Pound’s Cantos, Martin Amis’ Money, Thomas Love Peacock’s Paper Money Lyrics, and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Economic works include Aristotle’s Economics and Poetics, Jacques Derrida’s early essays, and Marx’s economic manuscripts and interpretations of literary works.  Two or three meetings will consider that printed money has been the most widespread literature in the world and will thus focus on medieval coinage in England, Native American wampum at Harvard in colonial times, paper money in revolutionary America, and nowadays electronic money around the world.  The seminar will conclude with attention to theories of meaning as value, notions of metaphorization as retaliation, and consideration of changing monetary form and literary format.

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