A collection of influential books gifted from the personal libraries of revered arts and cultural figures.
Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. His 1983 book, The Gift, illuminates and defends the non-commercial portion of artistic practice. Trickster Makes This World (1998) uses a group of ancient myths to argue for the kind of disruptive intelligence all cultures need if they are to remain lively, flexible, and open to change. Hyde’s most recent book, Common as Air, is a spirited defense of our “cultural commons,” that vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present. He is currently at work on A Primer for Forgetting, an exploration of the situations in which forgetfulness is more useful than memory.
A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde recently retired from teaching during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he was the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.