Sessily's Reviews > The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

The Gift by Lewis Hyde
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Hyde originally wrote this book with poets in mind, but it is recommended for anyone working in any of the arts, or who wants to devote themselves to a career or calling that does not do well in a market economy. In the first half of the book he draws on cultural anthropology and folktales to lay out his theory of a gift economy, and the characteristics and requirements of a gift. In the second half, he uses that theory to examine the works and lives of Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound. Neither section provides any real solution to the problem of how these gifts (art, etc) can survive in a market economy--for that, you need to read the afterword (only in the 25th anniversary edition) where he discusses arts funding and the creation of new methods of distribution (the Internet, etc) and funding (Music Trust Fund, Creative Capital Foundation). In short, this book helped clarify my own conflicts with the market economy that currently dominates American life, and gave me hope that art will survive despite appearing inviable.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
December 5, 2008 – Shelved

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