chapter  3
36 Pages

Terribly wild rang the panic cry": Finance, Panic and the Struggle for Life in Little Dorrit

Nineteenth-century, City of London-based financial capitalism was largely an unregulated, laissez-faire-driven and highly-concentrated financial system which produced tumultuous ups and downs-a regular cyele of booms and busts from the joint-stock mania of the 1820s through the railway mania of the 1840s to the panic of 1866, bringing riches to some and ruin to many more. Critics of Dickens, and of Little Dorrit in particular, have studied the economic impact of nineteenth-century capitalism and its effects on society, and have examined Dickens's radical criticism of nineteenth-century capitalism primarily in economic terms, using Marxian concepts like the commodity, exchange-and use-value, and others.!