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The Gift

Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
By now a modern classic, The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities. Widely available again after twenty-five years, this book is even more necessary today than when it first appeared. An illuminating and transformative book, and completely original in its view of the world, The Gift is cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers. It is in itself a gift to all who discover the classic wisdom found in its pages.
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By now a modern classic, The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities. Widely available again after twenty-five years, this book is even more necessary today than when it first appeared. An illuminating and transformative book, and completely original in its view of the world, The Gift is cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers. It is in itself a gift to all who discover the classic wisdom found in its pages.
Product Details
Paperback (464 pages)
Published: December 4, 2007
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307279507
Other books byLewis Hyde
  • Trickster Makes This World

    Trickster Makes This World
    Mischief, Myth, and Art
    In Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde brings to life the playful and disruptive side of human imagination as it is embodied in trickster mythology. He first visits the old stories—Hermes in Greece, Eshu in West Africa, Krishna in India, Coyote in North America, among others—and then holds them up against the lives and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Duchamp, Ginsberg, John Cage, and Frederick Douglass. Twelve years after its first publication, Trickster Makes This World—authoritative in its scholarship, loose-limbed in its style—has taken its place among the great works of modern cultural criticism. This new edition includes an introduction by Michael Chabon.

    Common as Air

    Common as Air
    Revolution, Art, and Ownership
    Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is “intellectual property,” Lewis Hyde turns to America’s Founding Fathers—men such as Adams, Madison, and Jefferson—in search of other ways to imagine the fruits of human wit and imagination. What he discovers is a rich tradition in which knowledge was assumed to be a commonwealth, not a private preserve.   For the founders, democratic self-governance itself demanded open and easy access to ideas. So did the growth of creative communities such as that of eighteenth-century science. And so did the flourishing of public persons, the very actors whose “civic virtue” brought the nation into being.   In this lively, carefully argued, and well-documented book, Hyde brings the past to bear on present matters, shedding fresh light on everything from the Human Genome Project to Bob Dylan’s musical roots. Common as Air allows us to stand on the shoulders of America’s revolutionary giants and thus to see beyond today’s narrow debates over cultural ownership. What it reveals is nothing less than a vision of how to reclaim the commonwealth of art and ideas that we were meant to inherit.

    Lee Mingwei

    Lee Mingwei
    The Living Room
    Lee Mingwei's simple yet elegant installations provide a stage for interpersonal exchange around ordinary human events or activities -- admiring an object, making conversation, or writing a letter to a friend or family member. His past installations such as "The Dining Project "and "The Letter-Writing Project" are explored along with a recent project developed while an artist in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum called "The Living Room." This installation creates a modern-day version of the salon life the museum's founder used to enliven her collection. In his essay, Lewis Hyde asks us to consider Isabella Gardner's intentions in creating a place that was her home as well as a public space for appreciating art. Lee's new installation reflecting his interest in Gardner's interaction with visitors to her museum at the turn of the century and his installations as exchanges between viewer and artist are explored in an essay by Jennifer Gross.

    In Praise of Shadows

    In Praise of Shadows
    Juxtaposing the work of a selection of international contemporary artists such as William Kentridge, Kara Walker, Lotte Reiniger, Jockum Nordström and Nathalie Djurberg with the tradition of European shadow theater--particularly as it is practiced in Turkey and Greece, where it is still very much an active art form--this volume examines the historical use of shadows in art. Shadow theater is an oral tradition, based on folk tales and simple narratives expressed with an economy of means, that operates, in large part, on improvisation. It has served as a source of inspiration for a number of contemporary artists who have paid homage and appropriated the aesthetics of shadow plays in their work. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, which will travel to Istanbul and Athens. This volume includes essays by critic Lewis Hyde, IMMA Director Enrique Juncosa and exhibition curator Paolo Colombo. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

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