Between Norm and Practice (15th to 21st Century)
Viera Rebolledo-Dhuin - Below and Beyond Bankruptcy: Credit in the Parisian Book Trade in the Nineteenth Century
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Below and Beyond Bankruptcy: Credit in the Parisian Book Trade in the Nineteenth Century1
“What does it mean to go bankrupt?” asked Eugénie [Grandet]. “To go bankrupt”, replied her father, “is to commit the most dishonourable of all the acts that can dishonor a man.” […] “Bankruptcy, Eugénie, is a kind of theft which is unfortunately protected by the law. People entrusted their property to Guillaume Grandet on the strength of his reputation for honor and integrity, then he took everything and left them only their eyes to weep with. A bankrupt is worse than a highway robber: with the robber attacks you, you can defend yourself, he risks his life; but the bankrupt… In short, Eugénie, Charles is dishonoured.”2
Honoré de Balzac, Eugénie Grandet, trans. by Lowell Bair, New York, Bantam Classic, 1959.
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