Expansion in the Fossil Economy and Craik’s John Halifax, Gentleman
  • Ayşe Çelikkol
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics book series (PSLCE)


The accumulation of capital, a process whose limits preoccupied classical economists such as David Ricardo, appears boundless in Dinah Mulock Craik’s John Halifax, Gentleman (1856). The novel lays bare the impossibility of divorcing economic expansion from the combustion of fossil fuels under industrial capitalism. This chapter shows that Craik seeks to normalize this relationship by presenting accumulation as an antidote to inequality and by conflating it with biological reproduction. The bourgeoning of multiple plotlines late in the narrative signals the clash between the myth of the self-made man and inheritance in the age of economic growth. The chapter also shows that the nineteenth-century obsession with growth that finds a full expression in Craik’s novel was critiqued by John Stuart Mill earlier in the century.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayşe Çelikkol
    • 1
  1. 1.Bilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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