The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 23, 2015
  • Updated: 9:52am

The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am
 

The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World


by Lewis Hyde


Canongate, HK$148


First published in 1983, The Gift is an eloquent defence of creativity in the face of an increasingly materialistic world that's turning art into just another commodity; 25 years later, the barricades are holding, but only just. Writers, painters and poets will find inspiration in publishing house Canongate's reissue of The Gift - How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World. American poet Lewis Hyde's point is that artistic talent - any talent - is a gift (as in, a gifted musician) to be shared. By freely sharing a gift, the artist enriches society and receives in return support and encouragement for further inspiration. Hyde reflects in a new preface and epilogue on the irony that the cold war of capitalism versus communism was a high point for art, at least in the US. The CIA was a generous, if indirect, sponsor of anything that showed off the west's cultural superiority. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the spread of consumerism, the cultural imperative has gone, replaced by an empty materialism. Hyde marshalls folk lore, the Old Testament and the Reformation to his cause and determines the creative gift to be fundamental to prosperity, both economic and cultural.


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