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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.49, No.4, 781 ~ 802, 2003
Articles : From Sex to High Finance: A Historical Reading of Roxana
Yang Sook Shin
Counter to the argument that "Defoe intended The fortunate Mistress to be a `woman`s novel`" of the late 17th and early 18th century, this article argues the novel should be understood as a dramatic reconstruction of how to keep and manage money as a new way of reaching the very summit of wealth in the contemporary European society. The heroine`s illegitimate love stories being merely a device to provide her with seed money for financial management, the story, despite its erotic frame, is flooded not with sex or sensuality, a notable characteristic of the women`s novels of the period, but with financial details. The contemporary complicated monetary system, institutionalized banks that appeared in Europe but a while ago, private bankers such as goldsmiths and international merchants, safe methods of keeping money at home or of remitting it abroad, financial management techniques that ensure regular earning of interest on sure collateral, etc. ; such contemporary financial details of high interest fill the novel and therefore are noted in this article in connection with the heroine`s money accumulating career. The novel, having been published shortly after the 1720 shocking financial bubbles both in France and England, incorporates the downside as well as the upside of the financial management strategies, thus showing Defoe`s economic views and attitudes which were solider than ever before. The "abrupt" ending, pointed out so often as a problem, is explained away in this article as a natural as well as logical ending when viewed in terms of the contemporary European financial reality.
Key Words
sex, money, financial management, financial bubbles, abrupt ending,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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