“Only the Ledger Lives”: Financial Disease and Deception at Mid-Century

  • Sara Malton


In indicting the limited abilities of Bank of England bank note specialists, Dickens reveals the increasing fallibility of visual interpretation, particularly as a means to distinguish with absolute certainty the authentic from the fraudulent. His essay identifies forgery as disrupting not only financial economies, but also economies of knowledge. The forged note becomes the economic emblem of a world in which appearances are dangerously unreliable; its circulation shows that we cannot trust what we see.


Ledger Life Bank Failure Unmarried Mother Woman Writer Shaky Ground 
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© Sara Malton 2009

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  • Sara Malton

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