A poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic, Lewis Hyde is most widely known for his book, The Gift, a groundbreaking study of creativity in a market-driven world, re-released in 2007 in celebration of its 25th anniversary. Hyde asks questions central to the lives of artists as well as teachers and others who serve the public good: How do we discover work that satisfies beyond financial compensation? What are our norms for reciprocity and how do gifts create bonds in communities? His current project extends these questions to the realm of the “cultural commons” — “that vast store of un-owned ideas, inventions, and works of art we have inherited from the past, and that we continue to create.”
In his lecture, “The Gift and the Commons: Creativity and the Public Good,” Hyde discusses personal gifts, the creative spirit, and our shared cultural past and imagined future. A MacArthur Fellow, Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. The lecture was co-presented by PNCA and Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling Center for Community Engagement.