As his new novelis published, John Lanchester has written a nice essay (‘Show Me The Money’) in this morning’s Financial Times about the curious lack of interest modern literature has in business – a striking contrast to many writers of the 19th century. In fact he names only one modern exception, Jay McInerney’s marvellous .
There are a few others I can think of.of course. David Lodge wrote a campus novel, , that specifically addressed the chasm between the humanities and the world of business – a much greater chasm actually than between the humanities and the sciences. A while ago I wrote a post (The economist as hero) about a batch of novels about economists, notable rarities.
As Lanchester points out, genre fiction has shown more interest in the business world. He mentions Arthur Hailey, or recently Robert Harris’s terrific thriller,. And in a funny way, crime fiction is often quite business-focussed, albeit the illicit business of the illegal drugs trade or underworld bosses.
There’s a similar lacuna in film and TV, once you set aside criminal enterprise.had the oil business. There was . My all-time favourite, though, was , which was sharply focused on trade and commerce, and even better was set Up North. As for movies, , of course, and its . , the movie. No doubt there are others, but they don’t leap to mind, which perhaps proves the point about their scarcity.