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The Gift

Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Crown
 | 
December, 2007
ISBN:
9780307279507
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Banyen's Description: 

Twenty-five years ago, the writer Lewis Hyde met with his editor, who asked him to define the audience for this groundbreaking work on creativity and society, The Gift. Hyde replied “poets.” Then, as now, poets had a difficult enough time creating an audience for their own work, much less serving as the primary audience for someone else’s work of nonfiction. It seems, therefore, a minor miracle of publishing that the work not only made it into print but has quietly found its way to classic status, as evidenced by the recently released 25th anniversary edition.

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.

   What is surprising, in retrospect, is how timely Hyde’s ideas on the free flow of art and ideas in a capitalistic culture would become for an entirely new form of information exchange: the Internet. Hyde, who divides his time between teaching creative writing and his work at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, turned out to be a dual prophet for both the literati and the technorati and the past two decades have proven Hyde to be a remarkably prescient thinker on the ways that information and ideas can flow through the economy.

It seems correct to speak of the gift as anarchist property because both anarchism and gift exchange share the assumption that it is not when a part of the self is inhibited and restrained, but when a part of the self is given away, that community appears.

“The best book I know of for talented but unacknowledged creators. A masterpiece.” —Margaret Atwood, author of The Door: New Poems

Publisher’s Description: 

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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