By Alan D. Schrift

ISBN-10: 0415910986

ISBN-13: 9780415910989

First released in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Extra info for The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity

Sample text

J receiv~ Coming from one person, made or appropriated by him, being 30 ! Marcel Mauss from him, it gives him power over the other who accepts it. In the case where the prestation provided is not rendered in the prescribed juridical, economical, or ritual form, the giver obtains power over the person who has participated in the feast and has taken in its substances, the one who has married the girl or has bound himself by blood relations, the beneficiary who uses an object enchanted with the whole authority of the giver.

Gift, Gift Marcel Mauss The two meanings of "present" and "poison," into which this single word has diverged in the different Germanic languages, seem so far removed from each other that etymologists find it difficult to explain the passage from one to the other and their common origin. The very destiny of the word differs according to the languages, the meaning of poison being almost the only one to be kept in modern German, the sense of present and endowment being the only one to be maintained in English, Dutch having two words, one being neuter, the other feminine for indicating the poison and the present or dowry respectively.

It seems, then, that the most characteristic verb for "to give" was marked by a curious semantic ambivalence, the same sort of ambivalence affecting more technical expressions like "buy" and "sell" in Germanic (Germ. aL). "To give" and "to take" thus proclaim themselves here, in a very ancient phase of Indo-European, as notions that were organically linked by their polarity and which were susceptible of the same expression. Now *do - is not the only example of this. For a long time there has been a question about the etymology of the verb for "take" in Germanic: Goth.

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The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity by Alan D. Schrift

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