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Dealing with Economic Failure

Between Norm and Practice (15th to 21st Century)

Edited By Albrecht Cordes and Margrit Schulte Beerbühl

Dealing with economic failure is one of the persistent and ubiquitous features of economic life. This volume brings together international scholars from several academic disciplines – economic and social history, legal history and law. They address a variety of different aspects on economic failure ranging from case studies on bankruptcy, insolvency, speculation, and strategies of coping with economic and financial squeezes. One focus throughout the book is on the in-betweens and the reciprocal impact of law and practice. The timeframe covers the period from the late middle ages to the present day. Irrespective of the temporal, spatial or cultural differences a slow and tedious evolution from a creditor-friendly to a more debtor-friendly perspective can be perceived. The chances for a fresh start have slightly improved.
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Viera Rebolledo-Dhuin - Below and Beyond Bankruptcy: Credit in the Parisian Book Trade in the Nineteenth Century

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Viera Rebolledo-Dhuin

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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