Money and literature have an awkward relationship. Most authors are very human and like to be well paid. Yet authors also have a tendency to distinguish between literature as an art form and writing as a way of making a living, and they put literature on a higher plane of existence than the vulgar and repetitive accumulation of wealth. Despite the undoubted genuineness of their private efforts to improve their own fees and royalties, many authors in public deprecate the materialism of modern society. In October 2000, the Institute of Economic Affairs, a London-based think tank, published a book on The Representation of Business in English Literature. In a foreword, the institute’s director, John Blundell, asked, “Why does the novelist, the writer of fiction, spit at the market, despise its institutions such as private property and the rule of law, and try to bite off the hand that feeds him?” The book provoked some irritation in...


New to The New Criterion?

Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.

Popular Right Now