Money, Language, and Thought: Literary and Philosophic Economies from the Medieval to the Modern Era

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JHU Press, 1993 - Business & Economics - 245 pages

In Money, Language, and Thought, Marc Shell explores the interactions between linguistic and economic production as they inform discourse from Chretien de Troyes to Heidegger. Close readings of works such as the medieval grail legends, The Merchant of Venice, Goethe's Faust, and Poe's "The Gold Bug" reveal how discourse has responded to the dissociation of symbol from thing characteristic of money, and how the development of increasingly symbolic currencies has involved changes in the meaning of meaning.

Pursuing his investigations into the modern era, Shell points out significant internalization of economic form in Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger. He demonstrates how literature and philosophy have been driven to account self-critically for a "money of the mind" that pervades all discourse, and concludes the book with a discomforting thesis about the cultural and political limits of literature and philosophy in the modern world.


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read especially ch. 6 what is truth on lessing's numismatics and heidegers alchemy - how is truth determined or weighed, nathan the wise is a merchant and money lender and also has some grasp of truth in the eyes of saladin.
see pg. 108 for Marx's criticism of economists' confused view of coin money as only having symbolic value or an ideal existence.


The Bug for Gold
From Nothing to Something
Last Words
Likeness and Likelihood

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About the author (1993)

Marc Shell is professor of comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of The Economy of Literature and Money, Language, and Thought, also available from Johns Hopkins .

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