Money novel is also known as the ‘business novel’ or the ‘economic novel. The narrative of this novel is constructed around the process of money-making or the machinery of business; and shows the political, social, and acquisitive power conferred by these activities. Often cast as rags-to-riches stories (with both men and women as protagonists), money novels make epic or poetic the intricacies of dealing, markets, and financial cunning; money novel heroes have epic and sometimes Faustian qualities, their activities being translated into forms of conflict and conquest.
The Gilded Age (1860-1900) and its aftermath (especially in America) and the 1980s produced notable examples: Frank Norris’s The Pit (1902), Theodore Dreiser’s “Trilogy of Desire”(1913-47), and Upton Sinclair’s The Money Changers (1909) are ancestors of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), Po Bronson’s The Bombardiers (1995), and Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money (1987).
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