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Giving: Charity and Philanthropy in History

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Overview

"According to Greek mythology mankind's first benefactor was the Titan, Prometheus, who gave fire, previously the exclusive possession of the gods, to mortal man." With these words the esteemed scholar Robert Bremner presents the first full-fledged history of attitudes toward charity and philanthropy. Giving is a perfect complement to his earlier work The Discovery of Poverty in the United States. The word philanthropy has been translated in a variety of ways: as a loving human disposition, loving kindness, love of mankind, charity, fostering mortal man, championing mankind, and helping people. Bremner's book covers all of these meanings in rich detail.

Bremner describes the ancient world and classical attitudes toward giving and begging; Middle Ages and early modern times, emphasizing hospitals and patients and donors and attributes of charity; the eighteenth century and the age of benevolence; the nineteenth century and the growth of the concept of public relief and social policy; and a careful multiple chapter review of the twentieth century. Bremner reviews the act of giving in such comparative contexts as London, England and Kasrilevke, Russia with such figures as Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, and Sholem Aleichem, as well as the more familiar wealthy industrialist/philanthropists, forming part of the narrative.

The final chapters bring the story up to date, discussing the relationships of modem philanthropy and organized charity, and the uses of philanthropy in education and the arts. Bremner has an astonishing knowledge of the cultural context and the economic contents of philanthropy. As a result, this volume is intriguing as well as important history, written with lively style and wit. Whether the reader is a professional in the so-called "third stream" or "independent sector," or simply a citizen wondering just what the act of giving and the spirit of receiving is all about, Giving will be compelling reading.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This volume is different in that it draws almost entirely on literary sources—stories, poems, ballads, scripture, novels, plays, and essays—for the allusions that profile the cultural attitudes toward charity and philanthropy… Recommended for college, university, and professional libraries, and for those who live by the promotion of philanthropy.” —J. H. Smith, Choice
Library Journal
Bremner has been the leading American historian of philanthropy since the 1950s, and in this work he traces the changing attitudes toward charity in the Western world from the Greeks to the present. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Bremner ( The Discovery of Poverty in the United States , Transaction, 1992) traces the evolution of the uses of charity from Cicero to Carnegie in terms of the relevant social, political, and economic conditions. He examines a multitude of literary sources, ranging from Dickens to Douglas, using materials from England, France, Russia, and Italy and including material about the attitudes of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe. He explores the sources of charity in human nature, using examples that range from the establishment of the first hospital in England to the creation of the modern welfare organization. The author considers motives of donors in rendering gifts, as well as responses of the recipients. This book is an excellent sources document for those wanting to learn about notables whose writings reflect a concern for the human condition. For academic libraries.-- Arthur K. Steinberg, Livingstone Coll., Salisbury, N.C.
Booknews
Traces the attitudes and practices of philanthropy from classical begging through the Medieval and early modern hospitals, 18th- century benevolence, and the rise of public relief in the 19th to the myriad manifestations throughout the world in the 20th. Novelists have a voice as well as the familiar industrialist/philanthropist. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560008842
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 235
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. Bremner is professor emeritus of history at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Among his books are American Philanthropy; The Public Good: Philanthropy and Welfare in the Civil War Period; and The Discovery of Poverty in the United States.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Pt. 1 The Ancient World
Prologue: The First Philanthropist 3
1 Classical Attitudes toward Giving and Begging 5
2 Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Texts on Giving and Charity 11
Pt. 2 Middle Ages and Early Modern Times
Prologue: A Hospital and Its Patients 23
3 Begging, Fund Raising, and Charity 25
4 Donors and Attributes of Charity 35
5 God and Neighbor 45
Pt. 3 The Eighteenth Century
Prologue: The World Is All Alike 55
6 The Age of Benevolence 57
7 Poets and Philanthropists 71
8 Beggars, Importunate and Long Remember'd 85
Pt. 4 The Nineteenth Century
Prologue: If All Were as Happy as We 95
9 Relief of Need 99
10 The Good Samaritan: Charles Dickens on Public Relief and Private Charity 111
11 Philanthropy and Reform 121
12 Love and Kindness 135
Pt. 5 1890s to the Present
Prologue: And May Not This Be? 145
13 Paupers, Tramps, and Beggars 147
14 Modern Philanthropy and Organized Charity 159
15 Philanthropic Foundations and the Uses of Philanthropy in Higher Education and the Arts 169
16 Giving by and for the Poor 185
17 Current History: Stories from Life 199
Bibliography 213
Index 229
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