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Lewis Hyde

Lewis Hyde
Born 1945
Boston, Massachusetts
Occupation Author, Poet and Scholar
Known for The Gift
Trickster Makes this World
Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership

Lewis Hyde (born 1945) is a scholar, essayist, translator, cultural critic and writer whose scholarly work focuses on the nature of imagination, creativity, and property.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Awards 2.1
  • Works 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Hyde was born in Boston, the son of Elizabeth Sanford Hyde and Walter Lewis Hyde. He received an M.A. in comparative literature from the University of Iowa and a B.A. in sociology from the University of Minnesota after which there were many years of freelance work and odd jobs, before teaching writing in the 80s.


Hyde taught writing at Harvard University (1983–1989); in his last year there, he directed the undergraduate writing program. From 1989 to 2001 he was the Luce Professor of Arts and Politics at Kenyon College in Ohio. Since 2006 he has served as the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon, and a visiting fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center. He is also a Nonresident Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Communication.


Hyde's awards include an NEH Fellowship for Independent Study and Research (1979); three NEA Creative Writing Fellowships (1977, 1982, 1987); a MacArthur Fellowship (the "Genius" award) (1991); a residency at the Getty Center, Los Angeles (1993–94); an "Osher Fellow" at the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1998);[1] a Lannan Literary Fellowship (2002); an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2003); and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2006).


Hyde's popular works of scholarship, including the books The Gift (1983) and Trickster Makes this World (1998) have been widely praised by fiction writers, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem and David Foster Wallace.[2] The Gift has also been cited as the inspiration for visual artist Jim Mott's Itinerant Artist Project. Robert Darnton in The New York Times called Hyde's latest book, Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership ( Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010), "an eloquent and erudite plea for protecting our cultural patrimony from appropriation by commercial interests."[3]

Personal life

Hyde is married to Patricia Vigderman. The couple divide their time between Gambier, Ohio and Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  • Twenty Poems, by Vicente Aleixandre (1979) Translated by Lewis Hyde and Robert Bly, edited by Lewis Hyde
  • A Longing for the Light: Selected Poems of Vicente Aleixandre (1979; Copper Canyon Press, 2007) (edited by Lewis Hyde)
  • The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (1983) also re-published with the alternate subtitle: "Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World" in 2007
  • On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (Under Discussion) (1985)
  • Alcohol and Poetry: John Berryman and the Booze Talking (1986)
  • This Error is the Sign of Love: Poems (1988) Milkweed Editions
  • "Elegy for John Cage" (1993) Kenyon Review 15 (3): 55-56
  • "American memory, American forgetfulness + Heritage and history" (1997) Kenyon Review 19 (1): U1-U4
  • "2 ACCIDENTS, REFLECTIONS ON CHANCE AND CREATIVITY" (1996) Kenyon Review 18 (3-4): 19-35
  • "The Land of the Dead" (1996) Kenyon Review 18 (1): 27-34
  • "Prophecy (An excerpt from the forthcoming book, Trickster Makes This World)" (1998) American Poetry Review 27 (1): 45-55
  • Created Commons (Paper Series) (1998)
  • Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (1998) also re-published with the alternate subtitle: "How Disruptive Imagination Creates Culture" in 2008
  • "Henry Thoreau, John Brown, and the problem of prophetic action (Excerpted from the introduction to The 'Essays of Henry D. Thoreau')" (2002) Raritan - A Quarterly Review 22 (2): 125-144
  • The Essays of Henry David Thoreau (2002) Edited by Lewis Hyde
  • Posts at On The Commons blog
  • Common As Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership (2010)


  1. ^ See Exploratorium Lewis Hyde biography.
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links

  • Lewis Hyde's official website
  • Frames from the Framers: How America's Revolutionaries Imagined Intellectual Property
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