The Beauty of Bankruptcy

Outside the U.S. District Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
How to think about the coming Chapter 11 epidemic.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I n 19th-century English novels, bankruptcy is a tragedy that just happens to people, often with no real explanation, as though it were a natural disaster or an unexpected infection, a cartoon anvil out of the sky over the head of some poor Wile E. Coyote in Regency garb. Bankruptcy was on the mind of everyone from Charles Dickens to William Makepeace Thackeray to George Eliot to Anthony Trollope, and it is a major plot point in Dombey and Son, Vanity Fair, and The Mill on the Floss, among many other novels. The threat of bankruptcy produces suicides in The Way


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