Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

English and American Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In Modernist Amateur Economists: Heterodox Economic Theory and British Literary Modernism, I argue that a range of British writers of literary modernism responded to a moment of institutional and economic instability by engaging with heterodox economic theories in their literary works. Paying close attention to the institutional history of the academic disciplines of Literary Studies and Economics and to the state of heterodox economic theorization in the first half of the twentieth century, I assemble a group of writers I term “Modernist Amateur Economists,” who rejected the tendency of professional economists to abstract economic questions from broader cultural contexts. In working through economic ideas and theories in their literary texts, writers such as T.S. Eliot, John Maynard Keynes, George Bernard Shaw, A.R. Orage, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf attempted to imagine alternative economic futures in response to a moment of economic crisis. The widespread nature of this tendency among modernist writers enriches our understanding of modernism and provides a provocation to creative economic thinking in our present moment.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Vincent Sherry

Committee Members

Talia Dan-Cohen, William Maxwell, Steven Meyer, Melanie Micir,