The Gift Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (KINDLE)

Uently disharmonious and artless it has to be in order to work in the larger fable but didn t have to be shouldn t have been in order to work as art His details freuently clutter and his abstractions freuently clog Whole two hundred page swaths of his work are unreadable A corollary to this could be that many times a good and forceful artist who fails as a great artist succeeds as a great fable Great artists are themselves always great fables but the moral of their work is always the same I AM THAT I AMPart goodpart bad artists are much interesting because they succeed in their failures They now they didn t uite get itThe Gift occasionally sounds like Thoreau occasionally like some guy sitting in his basement One of those books that makes you not comfortable about your failed artisthood so much as charged I immediately wanted to make things but then remembered that I am not really crafty or energetic enough to do this The title of this book is the most egregious misnomer I ve ever encountered Combined with the misleading jacket description I don t think I ve ever had a disappointing or frustrating experience from a book that I thought was going to be pretty straightforwardIt would have been accurately subtitled not Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World but An Ethnographic Study Through the Works of Whitman and Pound If that subtitle still appeals to you by all means read the book but at least now you have a accurate perception of what you re in for I see now that earlier versions were subtitled Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property which is both accurate though still annoyingly vague and less interesting As it is the current subtitle is only directly addressed in the concluding section for a total of 20 or so pages out of than 300As I was reading this reminded me of both Robert Bly s Iron John and Radin s The Trickster When I stopped to examine this feeling I realized that all three books are written by poetsfolklorists and they all use the same loose ephemeral arguments to support their theses They also all ostensibly treat a very fascinating subject matter but get bogged down in esoteric mumbo jumbo and poetic fluffiness leaving a rational reader disappointed Some examples from this oneThe tribe and its gift are separate but they are also the same there is a little gap between them so they may breathe into each other and yet there is no gap at all for they share one breath one meal for the two of them 46If we pause now to contrast the esemplastic cognition of imagination to the analytic cognition of logos thought we will be in a position to see one of the connections between the creative spirit and the bond that gift establishes 196The first passage above says pretty much nothing and the second one says something that I m not going to take the time to figure outEssentially those passages are a microcosm of the book The central thesis as finally addressed head on in the conclusion is that it s difficult for artists to make a living because their gifts aren t appropriately valued on the commercial market The fact that this is one of those no duh statements perhaps explains why Hyde had to fill up the book with so much irrelevant fluff In fact the entire 1st half of the book is dedicated to a tedious tracing of the anthropological history of gift exchange which only appears to relate in a very background way to what the cover of the book told me it was going to be about As I said frustratingIn addition the rational non literary arguments that Hyde does propose demonstrate either a misunderstanding or arguments that Hyde does propose demonstrate either a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of facts that arouses suspicion toward the rest of his argumentation For example on p150 Hyde attempts to euate the simultaneous group reinforcement and other repulsion of Mosaic usury laws with the biological cell membrane but does not accurately portray the membrane making the argument useless for anyone with an intermediate understanding of biology and misleading for anyone else Later less forgivably he s not a science teacher after all he pens the following footnote talking about Pound s anti semitism and the Hermes archetypeThis figure who is good with money but a little tricky is always treated as a foreigner even if his family has been around for centuries Often he actually is a foreigner of course He is invited in when the nation needs trade and he is driven out or murdered when nationalism begins to flourish the Chinese out of Vietnam in 1978 the Japanese out of China in 1949 the Yankees out of South America and Iran the East Indians out of Uganda under Idi Amin and the Armenians out of Turkey in 1915 16 The outsider is always used as a catalyst to arouse nationalism and when times are hard he will always be its used as a catalyst to arouse nationalism and when times are hard he will always be its as wellThe problems with this passage are many and outrageous not least of which is that he counts Americans in South AmericaIran and the Japanese in China as victims Let s I wanted to like this book but ended up hating it thoroughly by the time I was done with it His exploration of gift economies is one sided and glosses over most of their problematic aspects a text I read by a feminist author last year pointed out that in old school gift economies women were often used as gifts and traded in the same way as a form of homosocial bonding Hyde refuses to acknowledge these less pleasant aspects of gift economies focusing instead on everything that he can use to support his thesis namely a naive HEY GUYS CREATIVE WRITING IS AWESOMEHis conflation of the various meanings of the word gift is also problematic Most of the book hinges on his ability to alternately interpret gift both as a literal physical object gifted to another and as an innate talent possessed by the author The fact that the two of these are NOT the same and that he ignores this so that he can act like your writing is a gift to the outside community in all cases is also problematic I don t think I Generations and Collective Memory know of a single author who thinks about his books in this way and I wouldn t even count his Pound and Whitman sections as supporting this argument In the afterward he even admits that most of his book has been empty bluster and then in the 25th anniversary afterward he shamelessly plugs his own charityHis analysis of gift economies is reminiscent of Marx s argument against capitalism but much worse written and much less thought provoking Even then he ignores the gifting which often occurs within capitalist systems Substitute gift economy with socialism throughout the text and you get much the same messageI love writing but I don t need morally bankrupt feel good justifications like this in order toeep me going The fact that Hyde does only makes me respect him less. Han when it first appeared An illuminating and transformative book and completely original in its view of the world The Gift is cherished by artists writers musicians and thinkers It is in itself a gift to all who discover the classic wisdom found in its page. I picked this up at a bookstore where I was illing some time before an appointment I read the preface and the introduction and wept through them both I left for my appointment thinking I d have to find a used copy of this book sometime and read it A couple of hours later I had to go back and buy it because I was still thinking about it So it lit a fire under me for sure Whether or not it fulfilled the promise of that fire is still up for debate The preface and the intro are really easy reading and point at some really salient issues The actual text ind of does a dance around the issue at hand We re supposed to read the author s analysis of gift giving as a metaphor for the artistic experience and make the connections ourselves I suspect And sometimes I could Other times it was such a stretch and the academic style of writing so alienating I could barely manage to pay attention let alone make expansive inferences He s on to something about value and the arts and an alternate currencymarkets but I longed for solutions not just examples of the schism in culture that creates market driven art The literary analysis of Whitman and Pound were fascinating sure but for me didn t really help me understand all that much about art and the modern world Mostly I walked away from that section feeling pretty depressed that two of our great authors lived in poverty for most of their lives Also I left with a fear that my sense of moral outrage about the treatment of artists in this culture could lead me to a life like Ezra Pound s and a fascination with fascism I mean no I m not going to become a fascist like Pound but somehow Hyde s arguments make me feel how easily a person could slide down that slippery slope All of which leaves the uestion hanging about how to balance the gifts of art artists et al But paragraphs like these show up too and this is what stokes the fireEvery culture offers its citizens an image of what it is to be a man or woman of substance There have been times and places in which a person came into his or her social being through the dispersal of his gifts the big man or big woman being that one through whom the most gifts flowed The mythology of a market society reverses the picture getting rather giving is the mark of a substantial person and the hero is self possessed self made So long as these assumptions rule a disuieting sense of triviality or worthlessness even will nag the man or woman who labors in the service of a gift and whose products are not adeuately described as commodities When we reckon our substance by our acuisitions the gifts of the gifted man are powerless to make him substantialAnd this uote from May SartonThere is only one real deprivation I decided this morning and that is not to be able to give one s gift to those that one loves most The gift turned inward unable to be given becomes a heavy burden even sometimes a ind of poison It is as though the flow of life were backed up True true and true But how do we fix itThere are gems in the straw of this book It s absolutely worth reading Just put your University hat on before you do and don t expect any clear answers either Now in its 25th anniversary edition this book is as current and necessary as it was in 1979 A creative mix of ethnography folklore economics the gift economy the market economy the vegetable money economy and literary criticism Whitman and Pound all seen through the prism of art as a gift and the artist as a gifted person Keen observations are sprinkled throughout on how an artist needs to protect from market forces that space where the artwork is conceived essentially a gift and only when it s finished and it s a true expression conceived essentially a gift and only when it s finished and it s a true expression hisher gift then make the transition to how that gift makes its way into the world a market economy an agent or sometimes not at all In other words how to be an artist and nurture your gift and not go crazy trying to survive in a market economy I m not explaining it very well but if you are an artist or an artisan or care about art in this modern world read this book Lots of underlining and lots to chew over My favorite uoteHyde describes making art as a labor as opposed to worklabor on the other hand sets its own pacewriting a poem raising a child developing a new calculus resolving a neurosis invention in all forms these are laborsAnd labor because it sets its own pace is usually accompanied by idleness leisure even sleep While Hyde has given his readers the gift of a lens through which to view artistic endeavors this could have been done in about 50 pages not 385 This book reminded me of a typical college freshman essay I want to write about everything And therefore nothing is really achieved While the gift metaphor is interesting it s too vague to help in any but the most theoretical way This could have been a tight essay a literary work like a novel or short story or a scholarly work on the anthropological history of gift giving or even a series of biographies of writers Since Hyde attempts all of these things he achieves none well But if it took him 385 these things he achieves none well But if it took him 385 to discover that HIS true gift is as an artistic coop organizer God Bless Him The world has plenty of writers but very few people with the talent to help them write I tried to like this book since it had come so highly recommended and it was this book since it had come so highly recommended and it was a 25th anniversary edition If it has been in print all those years there must be something to it right Nope First of all it s badly structured The first half is an extended discussion of the concept of gifts vs paying for things in ancient vs modern societies Once you get the basic point that especially older societies exchanged goods and services as gifts not for money and that Hyde thinks that s a better way to do it then you ve got the idea He says that an artist basically has to straddle the world of gifts because hisher art is best thought of as a gift both received and given to the world and the world of commerce gotta pay the rent The second half of the book then talks about Whitman and Pound two worthy poets but hardly connected in any real or useful sense to the foregoing gift discussion Second and my other main complaint about the book is that Hyde beats the gift horse to death He defines ponders muses and ruminates about various aspects of what is after all a pretty simple concept for pages weaving in fairy tales ethnography much of it outdated or inaccurate and random commentary about various writers and artists It s a maddening frustrating book that is simultaneously and less than it aspires to be G blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bla. “A manifesto of sorts for anyone who makes art and cares for it” Zadie Smith“The best book I now of for talented but unacknowledged creators A masterpiece” Margaret Atwood“No one who is invested in any ind of art can read The Gift and remain unc. ,


Free download The Gift Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

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The Gift Creativity and the Artist in the Modern WorldH blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bla I felt I needed to write a review to counter the negative ones here Any book that calls the zeitgeist into uestion is bound to draw confusion and pushback I ve bought this book three times because I give it to friends who don t always give it back That s okay The Gift was and is a profound touchstone for me and for an older generation of writers who new Hyde from his Minnesota days I recommend it to artists who wonder how their gifts may be appeciated for their worth if not always always their fair value in a modern economy Some of the reviewers gripes probably owe to the fact this is a dense dense book Hyde s ideas build and spiral through varied concrete examples drawn from anthropology open source programming poetry and pure versus applied sciences Hyde also shows balance he recognizes that fees for services are useful when we simply don t care about a long term relationship with the producer but a certain spirit is lost too in the case of so many dead objects we bought but which now crowd the attic Having just reread the book again I can say it not only has aged well but the Great Recession and the rise of the sharing economy lend an even greater resonance in fact the anniversary material in the newer edition is less striking than the original For me the most moving chapters are those in the second half on Whitman and Pound who illustrate how the gift can circulate to the benefit of a nation or traded for willpower lead to soul s rot Truly artists should buy the book just for the cautionary tale on Pound Here and there the book s prose rises to a level of poetry that astonishes me than on the first reading where I was just wrestling with the ideas and their implications This book saves me from choosing will over gift I chose this edition because the new one looks like a Valentine s day card I expected it to be perfumed inside The Gift is a large and pretty messy book to its credit but the main thrusts are 1 To use detailed analyses of folk tales anthropology and economic theory to come up with a model for human interaction that parallels commodity exchange but is based around gift giving and 2 To give detailed readings of Whitman and Pound two poets whose careers and lives Hyde sees standing at an intersection of gift giving and commerce in art and life I found the first part of this mildly boring and the second part fascinating Especially the Pound stuff Hyde s parable made me uncomfortable Pound is important to me and I take assesment of his work personally especially when it has to do with his ideas about energy and creativity Hyde s reading is moving and persuasive it really is a fable Through it Pound is transformed from a man who new best how to organize himself so that poetry could reinvent itself through him into someone who misunderstood the nature of creativity so deeply that it STUNTED AND WITHERED HIS MOST IMPORTANT PROJECTS WHAT A and withered his most important projects What a But I don t now if I m totally happy with it Here s the significance of the argument for me anyway how we understand Pound is how we understand creation in the 20 21st century Pound was a strategist of energy before he was anything else he worked constantly in and outside himself to create that ground which would allow his vision to come into the world And this is Hyde s point at least he failed He failed to himself to othersmaybe not Pound excited and angered a huge amount of peopleIn order to explain this failure Hyde imagines a creative imagination that is divided into two parts will and inspiration Will is mental commerce sterile eualizing while inspiration is the imagination s euivalent of the gift free given expansive Hyde wants us to embrace the subconscious and unwilled aspects of the creative process this as he sees it is where the magic happens So forcing things only leaves you sterile and fragmentary see the CantosI agree with this for the most part but find the set up Hard Bread (Phoenix Poets (Paper)) kind of a red herring Much better is how Gombrowicz describes it in his diariesThe whole trick though is that while surrendering yourself passively to the work and letting it create itself you do not even for a moment stop controlling it Your rule in this matter must be I do notnow where the work will lead me but wherever it leads me I have to express myself and satisfy myselfAll the problems that a work being born and blindly creating itself suggest to you problems of ethics style form intellect must be solved with the full participation of your most alert consciousness and with maximum realism as this is a game of compensation the crazier fantastic inventive unpredictable irresponsible you are the sober controlled responsible you must be Diaries lovely too that all great artists no matter how experimental their writing sound utterly and even boringly healthy when they talk about their work The artist is always pragmatic that is always concerned with what worksThe answer to Hyde s argument an answer that he sort of ind of admits in the book s conclusion not a new answer is that the mind is a single piece and to over emphasize inspiration is just as myopic as thinking a book can be a blueprint whose spaces you have to fill in The mind may be diverse but it makes a unity So back to Pound s failure and how he did itPound failed Hyde argues because after a certain point he became all will He organized and organized but the visions stayed manifold and to him this organized but the visions stayed manifold and to him this a failure he wanted to fix the big thing and thought that doing this would allow even little things to come into existence He was trying to do what Gombro asks but he couldn t Why can t we Is it impossible and if so just for Americans Or for everybody Which brings the uestion back to fables Pound succeeds in one type of fable but fails in another His art and his life form a single thing that you can read from the outside but the thing is fre. Hanged” David Foster WallaceBy now a modern classic The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities This book is even necessary today
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