Gift-Giving and Materiality in Europe, 1300-1600: Gifts as Objects - Lars Kjaer; Gustavs Strenga; | Foyles Bookstore
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Gift-Giving and Materiality in Europe, 1300-1600: Gifts as Objects
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Gift-Giving and Materiality in Europe, 1300-1600: Gifts as Objects (Hardback)

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Gift-giving played an important role in political, social and religious life in medieval and early modern Europe. This volume explores an under-examined and often-overlooked aspect of this phenomenon: the material nature of the gift.

Drawing on examples from both medieval and early modern Europe, the authors from the UK and across Europe explore the craftsmanship involved in the production of gifts and the use of exotic objects and animals, from elephant bones to polar bears and 'living' holy objects, to communicate power, class and allegiance. Gifts were publicly given, displayed and worn and so the book explores the ways in which, as tangible objects, gifts could help to construct religious and social worlds. But the beauty and material richness of the gift could also provoke anxieties. Classical and Christian authorities agreed that, in gift-giving, it was supposed to be the thought that counted and consequently wealth and grandeur raised worries about greed and corruption: was a valuable ring payment for sexual services or a token of love and a promise of marriage? Over three centuries, Gift-Giving and Materiality in Europe, 1300-1600: Gifts as Objects reflects on the possibilities, practicalities and concerns raised by the material character of gifts.

Lars Kjaer is Associate Professor in Medieval History at the New College of the Humanities, UK. He is the author of The Medieval Gift and the Classical Tradition (2019) and the co-editor of Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages (2014). Gustavs Strenga is a Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Greifswald, Germany. He has previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Tallinn University, Estonia, and Researcher at the National Library of Latvia.

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