Lewis Hyde

Essayist, translator, scholar and poet whose work focuses on the nature of imagination, creativity, the “cultural commons” and, most recently, “the art of forgetting” as it appears in myth, politics, art and spiritual life.  A true “writer’s writer.”

  • Author of the highly acclaimed book,  The GiftHyde illuminates and defends the non-commercial portion of creativity, and cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers alike.  “Few books are such life-changers as The Gift: epiphany, in sculpted prose.”—Jonathan Lethem
  • His book, Trickster Makes This World, uses a group of ancient myths to argue for the kind of disruptive intelligence all cultures need if they are to remain lively, flexible, and open to change.  Trickster is “Lewis Hyde’s second masterpiece” (Margaret Atwood, Los Angeles Times Book Review).
  • His book, Common as Air is a stirring defense of our “cultural commons”, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present, “an eloquent and erudite plea for protecting our cultural patrimony from appropriation by commercial interests” (Robert Darnton, New York Times Book Review)
  • His new book, A Primer for Forgetting, explores the beneficial uses of forgetfulness in myth and politics, in art and spiritual life. Drawing material from Hesiod to Jorge Luis Borges to Elizabeth Bishop to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from poetry 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.
  • PRAISE FOR A Primer for Forgetting: Lewis Hyde’s new book is so counterintuitive, so bracingly clear and fresh, that reading it is like leaping into a cold lake on a hot hike. It shocks the mind. It flushes all kinds of monotony and mental fatigue right out of your system. I have filled a notebook with things from this book I am determined to remember, which is quite a paradox, given that it’s a book about forgetting. Christian Wiman, Wall Street Journal

Lewis Hyde Common As Air  Lewis Hyde The Gift