Misers : British Responses to Extreme Saving, 1700–1860 book cover
1st Edition

Misers
British Responses to Extreme Saving, 1700–1860




ISBN 9780367524623
Published May 6, 2022 by Routledge
260 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume uses the extreme case of misers to examine interlocking categories that undergirded the emergence of modern British society, including new perspectives on charity, morality, and marriage; new representations of passion and sympathy; and new modes of saving, spending, and investment.

Misers surveys this class of people—as invented and interpreted in sermons, poems, novels, and plays; analyzed by economists and philosophers; and profiled in obituaries and biographies—to explore how British attitudes about saving money shifted between 1700 and 1860. As opposed to the century before, the nineteenth century witnessed a new appreciation for misers, as economists credited them with adding to the nation's stock of capital and novelists newly imagined their capacity to empathize with fellow human beings. These characters shared the spotlight with real people who posthumously donned that label, populating into a cottage industry of miser biographies by the 1850s. By the time A Christmas Carol appeared in 1843, many Victorians had come to embrace misers as links that connected one generation’s extreme saving with the next generation’s virtuous spending.

With a broad chronological period, this volume is useful for students and scholars interested in representation of misers in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1. Miserable Sinners, 2. Necessary Evils, 3. Misers, Sex, and the Family, 4. The Butt of All Jokes, 5. Characters, 6. Saving Graces, 7. Succeeding Misers

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Author(s)

Biography

Timothy Alborn is Professor of History at Lehman College and the City University of New York. He is the author of All That Glittered: Britain’s Most Precious Metal from Adam Smith to the Gold Rush (2019) and, previously, books on life insurance (2009) and corporate governance (1998).