Ann Bermingham on “Meltdown! Picturing the World’s First Bubble Economy”

A contribution by

Ann Bermingham
University of California, Santa Barbara


Three hundred years ago, the collapse of two joint stock corporations that capitalized on the anticipated expansion of maritime trade in the new world precipitated the first modern bubble and financial meltdown. The caustic satirical prints generated by this catastrophe immortalize a fascinating story of economic speculation, folly, desperation and destruction, illuminating, in the process, the otherwise invisible forces of a nascent credit economy. Drawing from the riches of The New York Public Library’s print collection, the authors explore with humor and expertise the fantasies and major figures who triggered the disaster. Meltdown! Picturing the World’s First Bubble Economy is an innovative, insightful study of how art and economics intersected in the early eighteenth century to tell a quintessentially modern story.


Meltdown!
Picturing the World’s First Bubble Economy

By Nina Dubin, Meredith Martin, and Madeleine Viljoen
Scheduled for Autumn 2020

Sample Pages

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