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Lewis Hyde
Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, Kenyon College

"Culture as Commonwealth"
Humanities Lecture Series

Tue., Aug. 25, 2009, 7:30pm
Location: Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union
Lewis Hyde's first and most renowned book, The Gift, has been described as "a masterpiece" and an "epiphany, in sculpted prose". An extended study of reciprocity and the role of the artist in a commercial society, The Gift remains in print more than 25 years since its first publication. In his lecture, Hyde will take us through his current work-in-progress, exploring the "cultural commons," that vast store of unowned ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and that we continue to create. At present, Hyde argues, this legacy suffers from a kind of public invisibility. The free market is surrounded by a full and well-elaborated speech, but the commons is not. It is hard to be good stewards of a wealth so few can see or seem to care about.

Hyde's credits include a book of poems, This Error is the Sign of Love, the non-fiction work Trickster Makes This World, and edited volumes on the works of Vicente Aleixandre, Henry David Thoreau, and Allen Ginsberg. He has also published essays and poetry in numerous journals, including The Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, and The Nation.

Currently, Hyde is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. He previously taught writing and was director of the Creative Writing faculty at Harvard University. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lannan Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Hyde is a 1991 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

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