ABSTRACT

 According to many literary historians, the English novel came into being around the same period that many financial and economic historians say commitment issues regarding public credit began to resolve themselves. Although this book has not argued for a causal relationship between the rise of the novel and the rise of public credit, it has nonetheless suggested that the coincidence of these two events is more than an accident. The particular problems of commitment endemic to the radical transformation associated with the rise of public credit illuminate some of the formal decisions taken by writers of fiction in the eighteenth century. Public credit is, therefore, relevant to literary history. Literary history, which accounts for fictional texts circulating in the public sphere that also facilitated a virtual world of public opinion, adds to the discussion of how individuals transformed themselves into the types of individuals that make up the modern economy.