Getting engaged now requires more emotional and financial resources than ever before. Here Essig traces the history of engagements from the birth of companionate marriages in the nineteenth century to the invention of rituals like the bended knee and fetish items like the diamond ring in the early twentieth century. But the real change happened at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as engagements became “spectacular,” requiring not just highly staged events but also highly produced videos and images that could then be disseminated to the larger world.
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