Lecture programme for 2017/18 now available and first lecture, ‘Stories of the City’

The programme of lectures to be delivered at Society meetings in 2017/18 is now available here. Unless otherwise specified, these meetings take place at 6-7.30pm on the third Tuesday of each month at The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WCIH 0AB and are open to all.

Beginning the lecture programme this year is Jennifer Adam from the Bank of England, who will be presenting on the title Stories from the City: Bank of England in Literature. This paper links to the Bank of England exhibition, Stories from the City, which opened on 19th July 2017 at the Bank of England. Further information about the exhibition, including visiting times, can be found here. The lecture will take place on Tuesday 17th October at 6pm at the Warburg Institute. 

Lecture Abstract:

In September 2017, the Bank of England issued a new £10 note, featuring Austen on the reverse. This presented an ideal opportunity to explore the theme of money in Austen’s work. Her discussions of money are more than drawing room gossip – they provide witty social commentary that captures the social, political and economic reality of her time.

Stories from the City is an exhibition that celebrates the launch of the new £10 note, and explores the Bank of England’s literary connections – from its appearances  as a setting, an inspiration, and – as an institution – a kind of character in itself. 

 Austen is not the first writer to appear on a Bank of England note – the display features the William Shakespeare £20 and artwork from the Charles Dickens £10 note. Dickens had accounts at the Bank of England, and wrote about the institution in both his fiction and journalism. Robert Browning narrowly escaped a career here; Kenneth Grahame, author of the Wind in the Willows, spent his working life as a Bank of England official. Elsewhere in the City, Charles Lamb, PG Wodehouse, and TS Eliot both worked and wrote. Other writers, from Jules Verne to Neal Stephenson, imagine thefts from the Bank; real-life frauds and counterfeiters have also inspired writers to tell their tales. Meanwhile, from Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot, to David Hare and John Lanchester, literature continues to provide an outlet to explore the impacts of financial crises.

 These and more will be discussed in a lecture that explains how the Bank of England, its currency, buildings and reputation gained a presence in the literary world as well as that of economics.