The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England

Hardcover | February 13, 2009

EditorC. Klekar, Linda Zionkowski

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Offering a variety of disciplinary perspectives, The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England analyzes the long-overlooked role of gift exchange in literary texts, cultural documents, and economic relations in the period from 1660-1800. Contributors argue that the gift was instrumental to the workings of eighteenth-century society: it supported the phenomenal rise of charities, explained the increasingly complicated trade relations, enforced conventions of obligation and social hierarchies, and both strengthened and challenged the emergence of a market economy. Building upon the works of recent theorists, these essays provide innovative readings of how gift transactions shaped the institutions and practices that gave this era its distinctive identity.

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Offering a variety of disciplinary perspectives, The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England analyzes the long-overlooked role of gift exchange in literary texts, cultural documents, and economic relations in the period from 1660-1800. Contributors argue that the gift was instrumental to the workings of eighteenth-century soc...

Linda Zionkowski is Professor of English at Ohio University and author of Men’s Work: Gender, Class, and the Professionalization of Poetry, 1660-1784. She is currently finishing a book on women and gift economies in novels by Richardson, Burney, and Austen. Cynthia Klekar is Assistant Professor of English and Associate Editor of Compa...

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Paperback|Sep 27 2015

$23.94 online$24.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:276 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.03 inPublished:February 13, 2009Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan USLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230608299

ISBN - 13:9780230608290

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“An exceptionally rich collection, unusually well focused and well organized. Its title belies the breadth of the issues under examination, for the gift ultimately subsumes issues as diverse as poverty, charity, benevolence, sensibility, conduct, poor relief, and the emergence of the welfare state. Because such issues are usually owned by nineteenth-century studies (from the early labor history of the Hammonds up to Gertrude Himmelfarb), it is refreshing to see them pushed back into the eighteenth century. The essays draw on the rich tradition of theorists of the gift, from Mauss, Irigaray, Bourdieu, Cixous, Hyde, Derrida, and Bataille, but in conjunction with an attention to historical detail. What is finally at stake here is our central modernization narrative, the one that presumes an inevitable conflict between subordination and commercialization, when the interlocking chains of deference and obligation (Harold Perkin) are eroded by the morality of improvement (Raymond Williams). This collection will be of interest to anyone studying eighteenth-century culture.”—James Thompson, Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill