The Gift of Thanks: The Roots, Persistence, and Paradoxical Meanings of a Social Ritual

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Harper Collins, May 15, 2012 - Literary Collections - 560 pages
7 Reviews

In The Gift of Thanks, Margaret Visser continues her exploration of the cultural implications of common objects and ordinary behaviour. The simple habit of saying “thank you,” and indeed the entire notion of gratitude itself, becomes a key to understanding many of the basic assumptions, preferences and needs underlying Western culture. Taking into consideration cultural history; questions of politics and rights; questions of ideas of freedom and equality; and questions of the newly awakened scientific interest in the emotions, Visser specifically addresses the questions: What does “gratitude” actually mean? Where did the notion come from (many languages have no specific word for it)? What is its history? And why is our society so invested in its operations? Like all of Visser’s celebrated work, The Gift of Thanks is a fascinating look at our everyday behaviour—from tipping a waiter after a meal to wrapping a present for a friend.

 

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Review: The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude

User Review  - Goodreads

Referenced in Leithart's Gratitude (p. 2). Read full review

Review: The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude

User Review  - Goodreads

I got to page 98 but it's more of an anthropological study than what I'm looking for right now. Read full review

Contents

18MEMORY AND NARRATIVE
PART FOURFEELING
19EMOTIONS
20FEELING GRATEFUL
21LEARNING AND LASTING
PART FIVEREJECTING
22THE MARBLEHEARTED FIEND
23WE ARE NOT GRATEFUL

6WHY GIVE BACK?
7ALL WRAPPED UP
8THE THREE GRACES
9GIVE IT AWAY
10THE GIVEANDTAKE OF EVERYDAY LIFE
PART THREEMEANING
11VOTIVE OFFERINGS
12UNPACKING GRATITUDE
13THE FOURTH LAW OF NATURE
14AFTER ALL
15TIPPING
16FREEDOM AND EQUALITY
17GESTURES
24THE POISONED GIFT
PART SIXRECOGNIZING
25GRATITUDE INSTEAD
26PARTIALITY AND TRANSCENDENCE
27RECOGNITION
NOTES
Bibliography
Index
Also By Margaret Visser
Copyright
About the Publisher
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

MARGARET VISSER is an award-winning author and essayist. Her previous five books, all bestsellers, have met with international acclaim. Much Depends on Dinner won the Glenfiddich Prize for Food Book of the Year and was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly and The New York Times. The Rituals of Dinner won the IACP Literary Food Writing Award and the Jane Grigson Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent book, The Geometry of Love, also the subject of a prize-winning documentary film, was a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize. A professor of classics at York University for 18 years, she now devotes her time to research and writing. Visser lives in Toronto, Paris and the south of France.

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