Margaret Visser The Gift Of Thanks

ISBN 13: 9780006394907

The Gift Of Thanks

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9780006394907: The Gift Of Thanks

In The Gift of Thanks, Margaret visser continues her exploration of the cultural implications of common objects and ordinary behaviour. The simple habit of saying “thank you,” and indeed the entire notion of gratitude itself, becomes a key to understanding many of the basic assumptions, preferences and needs underlying Western culture. Taking into consideration cultural history; questions of politics and rights; questions of ideas of freedom and equality; and questions of the newly awakened scientific interest in the emotions, visser specifically addresses the questions: What does “gratitude” actually mean? Where did the notion come from (many languages have no specific word for it)? What is its history? And why is our society so invested in its operations?

Like all of Visser’s celebrated work, The Gift of Thanks is a fascinating look at our everyday behaviour—from to tipping a waiter after a meal to wrapping a present for a friend.

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About the Author:

MARGARET VISSER is an award-winning author and essayist. Her previous five books, all bestsellers, have met with international acclaim. Much Depends on Dinner won the Glenfiddich Prize for Food Book of the Year and was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly and The New York Times. The Rituals of Dinner won the IACP Literary Food Writing Award and the Jane Grigson Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent book, The Geometry of Love, also the subject of a prize-winning documentary film, was a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize. A professor of classics at York University for 18 years, she now devotes her time to research and writing. Visser lives in Toronto, Paris and the south of France.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Like a modern Ruth Benedict immersed in classical literature, Visser (Much Depends on Dinner) examines what it really means, in the course of human interaction, to be thankful. Her kindly book turns on itself in an exhaustive but continually engrossing fashion. Beginning with the assumption that [g]ratitude must be freely given; otherwise, it might be a polite show, but it is not gratitude, Visser asks many questions of cultures East and West and provides a plethora of answers. The obscured and deeper meaning of giving thanks is probed through such divergent cultural markers as the work of Georg Simmel and Dickens; the Bible and Proust; Japanese sumimasen, which is both a thanking and an apologizing, and C.C. Baxter in Bill Wilder's The Apartment; Plato's Laws and Seneca's massive treatise on gift giving and the slipperiness of saying you're welcome in today's U.K. What is tipping all about? What is the etymological relationship between votive, vow, favors, grace and gratitude? What might the gestures of courtesy—the curtsy for example—be? Overall, this is a delightful and graceful gift of a book, for which any fortunate recipient will be thankful. (Nov. 19)
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Visser, Margaret
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