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Julia Douthwaite Viglione
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)
Worrying about Money in France: The Art and Literature of Financial Crisis, from Regency to Restoration

A book-length study of how 18th- and 19th-century French cultural expressions responded to economic crises in France between 1720 and 1820.

French literature has received a lot of attention lately from an unexpected public: economists. Nineteenth-century novels have particular appeal for economists seeking information on the wealth needed to frequent the elite of the 1820s, or the harsh consequences of bankruptcy laws. But the 1720s were actually more important for the history of finance than the 1820s. They saw the rise and fall of the Law System, which caused the first boom and bust in asset prices and left a long shadow over the years ahead. I argue that the Law System impacted an entire corpus of artifacts that I seek to study and combine in a new narrative of financial calamity. My book addresses how novelists, artists, and journalists kept fears of credit and borrowing in the air at four crucial moments: 1) during and after Law's system (1718-31); 2) during the early Revolution when the assignat was created 1789-91); 3) in the Directory period (1795-99); and (4) during the reign of Louis XVIII (1815-24).

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; European History; French Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2016 – 6/30/2017