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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.
'Lewis Hyde's second masterpiece.' Margaret Atwood
“One of our true superstars of nonfiction” (David Foster Wallace), Lewis Hyde offers a playful and inspiring defense of forgetfulness by exploring the healing effect it can have on the human psyche. We live in a culture that prizes memory—how much we can store, the quality of what’s preserved, how we might better document and retain the moments of our life while fighting off the nightmare of losing all that we have experienced. But what if forgetfulness were seen not as something to fear—be it in the form of illness or simple absentmindedness—but rather as a blessing, a balm, a path to peace and rebirth? A Primer for Forgetting is a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography, and social criticism by the author of the classics The Gift and Trickster Makes This World. It forges a new vision of forgetfulness by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to the modern, weighing the potential boons forgetfulness might offer the present moment as a creative and political force. It also turns inward, using the author’s own life and memory as a canvas upon which to extol the virtues of a concept too long taken as an evil. Drawing material from Hesiod to Jorge Luis Borges to Elizabeth Bishop to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from myths and legends to very real and recent traumas both personal and historical, A Primer for Forgetting is a unique and remarkable synthesis that only Lewis Hyde could have produced.
Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature. Twenty-six authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (Little (Grrl) Lost), Ellen Klages, (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Patricia A, McKillip (Ombria in Shadow), and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world—each surprising, engrossing, and thought provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess. The Coyote Road, like its companions The Green Man (winner of the World Fantasy Award) and The Faery Reel (a World Fantasy Award Finalist), is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantasy fiction.
Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past that continues to enrich our present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is "intellectual property," Lewis Hyde turns to America's founding fathers—men like John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson—in search of other ways to value 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 founding fathers, 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 to see beyond today's narrow debates over cultural ownership. What it reveals is nothing less than an inspiring vision of how to reclaim the commonwealth of art and ideas that we were meant to inherit.
Thoreau's major essays annotated and introduced by one of our most vital intellectuals. With The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau, Lewis Hyde gathers thirteen of Thoreau's finest short prose works and, for the first time in 150 years, presents them fully annotated and arranged in the order of their composition. This definitive edition includes Thoreau's most famous essays, "Civil Disobedience" and "Walking," along with lesser-known masterpieces such as "Wild Apples," "The Last Days of John Brown," and an account of his 1846 journey into the Maine wilderness to climb Mount Katahdin, an essay that ends on a unique note of sublimity and terror. Hyde diverges from the long-standing and dubious editorial custom of separating Thoreau's politics from his interest in nature, a division that has always obscured the ways in which the two are constantly entwined. "Natural History of Massachusetts" begins not with fish and birds but with a dismissal of the political world, and "Slavery in Massachusetts" ends with a meditation on the water lilies blooming on the Concord River. Thoreau's ideal reader was expected to be well versed in Greek and Latin, poetry and travel narrative, and politically engaged in current affairs. Hyde's detailed annotations clarify many of Thoreau's references and re-create the contemporary context wherein the nation's westward expansion was bringing to a head the racial tensions that would result in the Civil War.
Indigenous Symbols and Practices in the Catholic Church presents views, concepts and perspectives on the relationships among Indigenous Peoples and the Catholic Church, as well as stories, images and art as metaphors for survival in a contemporary world. Few studies present such interdisciplinary interpretations from contributors in multiple disciplines regarding appropriation, spiritual and religious tradition, educational issues in the teaching of art and art history, the effects of government sanctions on traditional practice, or the artistic interpretation of symbols from Indigenous perspectives. Through photographs and visual materials, interviews and data analysis, personal narratives and stories, these chapters explore the experiences of Indigenous Peoples whose lives have been impacted by multiple forces – Christian missionaries, governmental policies, immigration and colonization, education, assimilation and acculturation. Contributors investigate current contexts and complex areas of conflict regarding missionization, appropriation and colonizing practices through asking questions such as, 'What does the use of images mean for resistance, transformation and cultural destruction?' And, 'What new interpretations and perspectives are necessary for Indigenous traditions to survive and flourish in the future?'

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