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By Alison V. Scott

The effect of any reward is heightened while apparently to not anticipate a counter-gift or a gift. in the patronage structures of early sleek England, the language of altruism, drawing upon Seneca's version of advantages, was once a paradoxical yet pivotal technique of persuasion utilized by literary consumers looking recompense for his or her labors and by means of buyers looking to current themselves as noble givers. "Selfish presents" investigates the connection between gift-exchange practices, perfect cultural versions of giving, and literary representations of reward giving on the overdue Elizabethan and early Stuart courts, demonstrating the centrality of gift-theory to the patronage literature and tradition of the days. With a specific specialise in the interaction among gender politics, strength, and giving, the ebook bargains new readings of canonical texts via Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, and Daniel, and combines those with clean paintings on lesser-read texts by way of canonical and non-canonical writers alike. Alison V. Scott teaches at Macquarie collage.

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Additional resources for Selfish Gifts: The Politics of Exchange And English Courtly Literature, 1580-1628

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The mistress is authored by the poet but apparently binds him in servitude; she is powerful in her beauty, yet this power is only enacted through the words of the speaker. Equally, the poet gives his poem/gift, which is ostensibly a product of his mistress’s lack of reciprocation, in some cases, to a female patron (Daniel, for example, dedicated Delia to the renowned patroness Mary, Countess of Pembroke), but designs it to induce that woman’s material reciprocation of his gift. Similarly, throughout Elizabeth’s reign, courtiers strategically used, indeed, were perhaps forced to use, terms of personal affection and subjection in order to pursue political offices and favors.

With the physical and symbolic apportionment of the country, loyalties are split between Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan, and even, to a certain extent, Cordelia and France. With no clear and singular source of reward, patrons come to compete with each other in a manner normally reserved for clients, indeed, the very distinction between the patron and the intro 9/19/05 3:21 PM Page 39 (1,1) introduction 39 client is dismantled and, with it, the boundaries between gifts, bribes, and sales give way.

Cordelia refuses, not only to compete with her sisters, but also to barter with her affection for her father—she is the model of true giving alongside which the audience must measure him/herself. Derrida’s argument that “[f]or there to be a gift, there must be no reciprocity, return, exchange, countergift, or debt” (Given Time, 12) is pertinent here. ” In reality, of course, Cordelia’s gift is not functional—it doesn’t initiate or maintain beneficial bonds like the Jacobean patronage gifts circulating within networks of exchange familiar to Shakespeare.

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