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Darwin’s Clever Neighbour

George Warde Norman and his Circle D.P. O’Brien, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Durham, UK and John Creedy, The Truby Williams Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne, Australia
George Warde Norman, 1793–1882, a Director of the Bank of England 1821–72, was an important figure in both the development and the implementation of the theory of monetary control, embodied in the Bank Charter Act of 1844. Norman wrote an Autobiography covering his first 54 years, and this provides a remarkable portrait not only of Norman himself but of the social and intellectual network in which he lived. He was an intimate of the Utilitarians, especially George Grote with whom there was ultimately a quarrel which has never been made public before. He was a businessman, at first in the timber trade, in which connection he spent time in Norway, and made the acquaintance of Napoleon’s Marshall, Bernadotte, by then King of Sweden and Norway, and then in fire insurance. He also wrote on economic matters, not only on monetary issues but also on trade theory and taxation. The Autobiography, which has survived fire and flood, was rediscovered in the 1960s by D.P. O’Brien who at that time prepared a typescript which has been used by scholars. With the release of this edition, the work is now available for the first time in a fully edited and corrected version. It should be of interest to historians of economic thought, economic historians, and students of nineteenth century intellectual history and society.
Extent: 512 pp
Hardback Price: $188.00 Web: $169.20
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 557 4
Availability: In Stock
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George Warde Norman, 1793–1882, a Director of the Bank of England 1821–72, was an important figure in both the development and the implementation of the theory of monetary control, embodied in the Bank Charter Act of 1844. Norman wrote an Autobiography covering his first 54 years, and this provides a remarkable portrait not only of Norman himself but of the social and intellectual network in which he lived. He was an intimate of the Utilitarians, especially George Grote with whom there was ultimately a quarrel which has never been made public before. He was a businessman, at first in the timber trade, in which connection he spent time in Norway, and made the acquaintance of Napoleon’s Marshall, Bernadotte, by then King of Sweden and Norway, and then in fire insurance. He also wrote on economic matters, not only on monetary issues but also on trade theory and taxation. The Autobiography, which has survived fire and flood, was rediscovered in the 1960s by D.P. O’Brien who at that time prepared a typescript which has been used by scholars. With the release of this edition, the work is now available for the first time in a fully edited and corrected version. It should be of interest to historians of economic thought, economic historians, and students of nineteenth century intellectual history and society.
‘This is an elegant and scholarly volume by two prominent authorities in the history of economic thought. . . This is a work of tremendous scholarship and one which will be of great interest to historians of economic thought and others interested in nineteenth century intellectual history and society.’
– John Vint, History of Economic Thought Newsletter

‘This is the autobiography of a prominent 19th century economist, which was miraculously saved from destruction by fire. It would be interesting simply as a personal account of the education of an upper class gentleman of the Victorian era. But Norman became a long-serving director of the Bank of England who entered into public debates on matters of public finance and international trade. The editors are well-known authorities in the history of economic thought and provide us with a 50-page introduction to the technicalities of Norman’s contributions. This is an invaluable entrée into classical economics as it was experienced at the time.’
– The late Mark Blaug, formerly of the University of London and University of Buckingham, UK

‘This book has been a long time in the making but well worth the wait. It is a work of immense scholarship. The editors of George Warde Norman’s autobiography have put a huge effort into the production. The volume has a splendid introduction and is then packed with fascinating detail revealing the world of an important nineteenth century figure – the grandfather of Montagu Norman no less – that lights up the working of the Bank and the City and much else besides.’
– Forrest H. Capie, Bank of England, UK
Contents: Preface by D.P. O’Brien Introduction by D.P. O’Brien 1. Early Years 2. Eltham School 3. Eton 4. Early Working Life 5. France and Napoleon 6. Serious Illness 7. Travels 8. The Bank and Economic Studies 9. More Illness and Travels 10. Monetary Problems 11. More Travels 12. Some Family Matters 13. Public Life 14. The Storms of 1848 Index