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Presents are all of the time with us: we use them positively to point out affection and current gratitude for favours; we suspect that others give and accept them as douceurs and bribes. The current moreover carried out these roles in early fashionable English custom: and assumed a additional very important place in consequence of networks of informal assist and patronage have been central to social and political behaviour. Favours, and their right acknowledgement, have been preoccupations of the age of Erasmus,
Shakespeare, and Hobbes. As in fashionable society, giving and receiving was difficult and full of the potential for social damage. 'Nearly nothing', males of the Renaissance found from that good classical info to morality, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 'is additional disgraceful than the reality that we do not know how each to
give or acquire benefits'. The Power of Presents is about these presents and benefits – what they’ve been, and the best way they’ve been offered and purchased in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It reveals that the mode of giving, in addition to what was given, was important to social bonding and political success.
The amount strikes from a primary consideration of the character of the current to an exploration of the politics of giving. Inside the latter chapters some of the properly-acknowledged rituals of English courtroom life – the New Yr ceremony, royal progresses, diplomatic missions – are seen by means of the prism of current-change. Presents to monarchs or their ministers may focus consideration on the donor, these from the crown may provide some assurance of favour. These fundamentals remained the similar all by means of the century
and a half sooner than the Civil Wrestle, nevertheless the angle of specific individual monarchs altered specific behaviour. Elizabeth anticipated to be wooed with presents and distributed benefits largely for service rendered, James I modelled giving as a result of the largesse of the Renaissance prince, Charles I's current-exchanges focused on
the paintings amassing of his coterie. And all of the time in every politics and the regulation courts there was the hazard that presents could be corroded, morphing from acceptable behaviour into bribes and corruption. The Power of Presents explores prescriptive literature, pamphlets, correspondence, approved situations and financial data, to light up social attitudes and conduct by means of a rich assortment of examples and case-analysis.
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