‘Irrational Exuberance’: Behavioural Finance and Émile Zola’s L’Argent

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Abstract

Émile Zola’s 'L’Argent' has been relatively neglected by critical studies. This study adds to earlier approaches by examining the ways in which Zola’s novel anticipates strands of contemporary behavioural finance, notably in its analysis of the psychological and social conditions behind ‘irrational exuberance’ and a speculative stock market bubble. A few avenues are explored, enabled by Robert Shiller’s 'Irrational Exuberance'. The novel reflects contemporary thinking from behavioural finance, but goes further, in its greater human depth, its humour and complexity. Moreover, the novel displays, beyond behavioural finance, a conjunction of financial exuberance with bodily, philosophical and artistic ‘jouissance’, further anticipating modern times in its poetic prose.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberknad233
JournalFrench Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2023

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