Selfish Gifts: The Politics of Exchange and English Courtly Literature, 1580/1628 (Paperback)

Alison V. Scott

ISBN 10: 0838640826 / ISBN 13: 9780838640821
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Paperback. The impact of any gift is heightened when it appears not to expect a counter-gift or a reward. Within the patronage systems of early modern England, the language of altruism, drawing upon .Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 304 pages. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The impact of any gift is heightened when it appears not to expect a counter-gift or a reward. Within the patronage systems of early modern England, the language of altruism, drawing upon Seneca's model of benefits, was a paradoxical but pivotal means of persuasion used by literary clients seeking recompense for their labors and by patrons seeking to present themselves as noble givers. "Selfish Gifts" investigates the relationship among gift-exchange practices, ideal cultural models of giving, and literary representations of gift giving at the late Elizabethan and early Stuart courts, demonstrating the centrality of gift-theory to the patronage literature and culture of the times. With a particular focus on the interplay between gender politics, power, and giving, the book offers new readings of canonical texts by Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, and Daniel, and combines these with fresh work on lesser-read texts by canonical and non-canonical writers alike. Alison V. Scott teaches at Macquarie University.

About the Author: Alison V. Scott is an honorary associate professor in the Department of English at Macquarie, Sydney, Australia.

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Title: Selfish Gifts: The Politics of Exchange and ...
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: New

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Alison V. SCOTT.
Published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison (2005)
ISBN 10: 0838640826 ISBN 13: 9780838640821
New First Edition Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison, 2005. Hardback/Cloth. Condition: New. 1st Edition. 304pp . [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery] Engaging with a wide range of texts on gift-theory, extending from Seneca's De Beneficiis to Derrida's Given Time , Selfish Gifts examines the importance of gift ethics and the rhetoric of honourable giving to the literature of late Elizabeth and early Stuart England. This work demonstrates that the ideal of the freely given and disinterested gift shaped the language of early modern clientage, along with literary representations of patrons and patronage systems during this period. Selfish Gifts examines how early modern clients moved quickly and strategically to assimilate the language of competition and equality, characteristic of an emerging market economy, within their existing discourses of gift exchange, in order to maximise the rewards they might induce from an increasingly diverse group of patrons. To give is to exercise power and thus, as numerous modern gift-theorists and anthropologists elucidate, the gift is implicitly self-interested even as it derives value from appearing altruistic; nowhere is this paradox more significant than in a patronage economy such as that which shaped literary production in early modern England. In pursuing that paradox and its implications, Selfish Gifts highlights crucial connections and cultural tensions between political and sexual giving, between giving' truth and flattery, between the sovereignty and subjection of gift donor/recipient, and between strategic and so-called sacrificial' giving. Those tensions are examined in the context of the latter years of Elizabeth I's rule, through the contrasting reign of James I and up to the early Caroline period. Selfish Gifts demonstrates the prominence of the gift ideal in Renaissance England and suggests the disturbing social and political consequences for those who give contrary to that ideal by bestowing self-interested gifts, by refusing to give, or by giving egotistically. The book establishes the centrality of gift theory to the discourses of patronage, friendship, and sovereignty, suggesting new ways of approaching and understanding a changing literature of praise and compliment that characterised the late Elizabethan and early Stuart ages. Alison V. Scott teaches at Macquarie University, Sydney. Seller Inventory # 2687

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