ABOUT THIS BOOK
Since the early days of humanity, gifts as varied as valued objects, hospitality, and works of art have been an essential means of establishing and maintaining social ties. Strategic Affection? studies the exchange of gifts in order to explore the nature of seventeenth-century Dutch social relations. Looking at such widely divergent figures as schoolmasters, artisans, poets, and nobles, Irma Thoen compares seventeenth-century Dutch gifts with contemporary gift exchanges to show that both strategy and affection are necessary elements of any social relations—and that what changes most is not the system but the discourse of exchange.