How has business been represented in English literature? The question is important because novelists are prominent among the ‘intellectuals’ whom Hayek regarded as the gatekeepers of ideas. They are thus influential in determining the view which people form of business.
In this volume, five authors – experts in different periods of English literature – have produced original surveys of how business has been portrayed by novelists, starting in the eighteenth century and continuing to the end of the twentieth century. For businessmen, the results of this review may seem depressing: Professor Arthur Pollard, who has edited the volume and who introduces it, summarises the attitude of novelists as the belief that ‘making money is a dirty game’. But there are many nuances in the portrayal of business by novelists which make this survey fascinating reading.