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KNOXVILLE — Mary Poovey, a cultural historian and literary critic, will visit the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Thursday, Feb. 4, to discuss her recent book, “Genres of the Credit Economy,” which examines the history of literary and financial genres of writing.

Poovey, the Samuel Rudin University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English at New York University, will speak at 3:30 p.m. in 1210 McClung Tower. The title of her presentation is “Stories We Tell about Liberal Markets: The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Great-Men Narratives of Change.” Part of the Department of English’s Literature, Criticism and Textual Studies Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public.

Various booksellers have described Poovey’s book like this: “How did banking, borrowing, investing, and even losing money — in other words, participating in the modern financial system — come to seem like routine activities of everyday life? ‘Genres of the Credit Economy’ addresses this question by examining the history of financial instruments and representations of finance in 18th- and 19th-century Britain. Chronicling the process by which some of our most important conceptual categories were naturalized, Mary Poovey explores complex relationships among forms of writing that are not usually viewed together, from bills of exchange and bank checks, to realist novels and Romantic poems, to economic theory and financial journalism.”

Poovey is the author of foundational studies in 19th-century British literature, including “Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England” (University of Chicago Press, 1989) and “Making a Social Body: British Cultural Formation, 1830-1864” (University of Chicago Press, 1995). While her primary scholarly work focuses on 19th-century British literature, history and culture, she also has published on 18th-century British literature and culture, the history of literary criticism, feminist theory and economic history. Her two most recent books, “A History of the Modern Fact” (University of Chicago Press, 1998) and “Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain” (University of Chicago, 2008) examine the emergence of the modern disciplines. Her current work focuses on financial crises, both past and present.

Poovey’s visit is funded by UT’s Department of English. For more information, contact Nancy Henry at

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,