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Female AlliancesGender, Identity, and Friendship in Early Modern Britain$
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Amanda E. Herbert

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300177404

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300177404.001.0001

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. Noble Presents

. Noble Presents

Gender, Gift Exchange, and the Reappropriation of Luxury

(p.52) 2. Noble Presents
Female Alliances

Amanda E. Herbert

Yale University Press

This chapter examines female alliances that were built through the exchange of gifts. It considers four specific gift objects that seventeenth-and eighteenth-century women made or used and then recorded in their writings: a jar of marmalade, a bottle of perfume, a piece of embroidery, and a painted picture. These gift objects were intended to speak to the gendered tastes, skills, and habits cultivated by privileged women in this period and therefore to create bonds between elites. But in creating and giving these luxury objects, women stressed instead their economy and thrift. The chapter examines the reappropriation of luxury by illustrating the ways in which elite women manipulated expensive ingredients in order to use them in ways that emphasized their supposedly feminine attention to emotion, care, and household economy.

Keywords:   gift giving, marmalade, perfume, embroidery, painted picture, female friendship, alliances

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