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The gift of narrative in medieval England places medieval narratives – especially romances – in dialogue with theories and practices of gift and exchange. It argues that the dynamics of the gift are powerfully at work in these texts: through exchanges of objects and people; repeated patterns of love, loyalty and revenge; promises made or broken; and the complex effects that time works on such objects, exchanges and promises. The book ranges widely, from the twelfth-century Romance of Horn and English versions of the Horn story to the romances of the Auchinleck Manuscript, and from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to Geoffrey Chaucer and John Lydgate. In reading these texts alongside some of the debates about giving and receiving that radiate from Anthropology and critical theory, Nicholas Perkins asks a number of questions: What role does the circulation of things play in creating narratives? Do romance protagonists themselves act as exchanged objects, and what difference does gender make to how they navigate networks of obligation and agency? Is storytelling a form of gift-giving? Do linguistic exchanges such as promises operate like gifts? How do medieval stories place obligations on the audiences who listen to them or, perhaps, receive a manuscript copy as a precious gift?

Bringing together literary studies, Anthropology and material practice in an invigorating way, this book encourages close attention to the dynamics and pleasures of the gift in narrative.

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Artisanal virtuosity and material memorialisation
Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin

In 1528 master armourer and active citizen William Vynyard presented a spectacular gift to his guild, originating from his own workshop. He gave to the Armourers’ Company a polychromed oak sculpture of St. George and the Dragon, with the saintly hero clad in an exceptionally intricate miniature steel armour (see Plate 12 ). Vynyard's material gift went on to play a significant role in the ceremonial life of the guild, as when the company travelled by boat to Greenwich in 1540 to celebrate the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves, ‘with

in Crafting identities
The symbolism of largesse
Jenny Benham

, Buc has suggested that, since medieval historians do not have access to ritual practices, but only to texts describing them, it is impossible for them to use anthropological models as these are based on observations of behaviour not on observations of texts. 7 One anthropological model that has often been used by historians is that of Marcel Mauss on gift giving. In medieval

in Peacemaking in the Middle Ages
Paul Auster’s fiction and film

‘I keep wanting to give you things’ In the final section of the previous chapter, I began to explore the relationship between friendship and mourning and, more broadly, to consider the kinds of obligations and responsibilities that shape relations between friends and citizens. In the first half of this chapter, I turn to three novels by Paul Auster in which these issues are also at stake, and in which one male friend is tasked with accounting for the life of another. I approach these novels, and some of Auster’s other works, by way of the gift. Like

in The politics of male friendship in contemporary American fiction
Hitchhiking as economic allegory
Jonathan Purkis

the coming pages we'll be bottling some of our Alaska Highway empathy to look for inspiring people and human-scale initiatives which can return hope to economics, to think about longer-term human advancement, less from the algorithmic perspective of Wall Street and more from the perspective of those who might be standing waiting to gift the future with more tangible social contributions on the dustier roads of the world. The secret history of trading In his influential critique of the failure of centralised planning Seeing

in Driving with strangers
Nicholas Perkins

Romance of Horn – which certainly probes these questions, while its generic affiliations allow for connections with other forms of writing and thinking. I shall return to some of those generic links and pressing questions, but my focus will be on gifts at various levels – linguistic, structural, thematic, ethical – in relation to some core debates about the gift in Anthropology and theory. Later, I will ask how the operation of the gift is engaged in two other Insular versions of the Horn story: King Horn and Horn Childe and Maiden Rimnild

in The gift of narrative in medieval England
Emma Gleadhill

presents’, the concatenation of the three obligations of giving, receiving and making a return gift once one has been accepted, bound Martha in a continuous process of exchanging keepsakes with other women throughout her travels. 8 A great deal of time and effort went into selecting or producing accoutrements intimately connected to the body of the giver or receiver. In 1804 Martha noted in her journal that she was fashioning a ‘bracelet of my hair’ with a female friend to send to her older sister Katherine, who would

in Taking travel home
Labour, narrative and community in the novels of Sarah Scott
Jennie Batchelor

1111 2 3 4 5111 6 7 8 9 10111 11 211 3111 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40111 1 The ‘gift’ of work: labour, narrative and community in the novels of Sarah Scott What I understand by society is a state of mutual confidence, reciprocal services, and correspondent affections; where numbers are thus united, there will be a free communication of sentiments, and we shall then find speech, that peculiar blessing given to man, a valuable gift indeed; but when we see it restrained by suspicion, or contaminated by detraction, we rather

in Women’s work
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England’s shared exceptionalism
Ben Wellings

Kingdom outside of the European Union was based on their view of the past and the long development of England’s representative democracy and sovereignty of Parliament. This development and the imperial trusteeship that helped spread it was described after the First World War as England’s ‘gift to the world’ (Morris and Wood, 1924: vii), a refrain adopted by senior Brexiteers in 2016. Despite this seeming universalism, the parliamentary version of representative democracy paradoxically formed the basis of English exceptionalism whilst simultaneously being

in English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere
Negotiating the Fulbright Agreement
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

12 1 ‘Free gift’ or ‘infiltration’?: Negotiating the Fulbright Agreement The Australian Fulbright Program was born of a simple idea. That was Senator J.  William Fulbright’s proposal that people–​people exchange between nations was a better disposal of Allied countries’ funds than repaying the debt they had incurred purchasing US war materials. In September 1945, only weeks after the atomic bombing of Japanese cities brought an end to the war, Fulbright framed a bill as an Amendment to the Surplus Property Act of 1944, to ‘utilize foreign credits in many

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies