Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Salon 13 July THE GIFT by Lewis Hyde


This book comes highly recommended by Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith. It has a subtitle: how he creative spirit transforms the World.

Chapter 1 looks at folk tales about gift giving. Traditionally, gift-giving is circular. In the Kula community of New Guinea two types of gifts are passed around in different directions. For the women there is a string of red shells, while the men have a bangle made from a large white shell. Gifts are never kept because then they lose their power. The giver is the one that accrues benefit. In the Maori society the circle includes the forest; when the forest yields food than a little of what it yields is given back. This, Lewis Hyde says, is the start of ecology. Man is part, rather than lord, of his environment.
Link

5 Comments:

Blogger Josette said...

There are a few books which have the title 'The Gift' and it's quite confusing. I bought a second-hand book called The Gift too but it's written by Peter Dickinson!

Sun Jul 13, 07:33:00 am  
OpenID frumiousb said...

Interesting, it sounds like a book that I would enjoy. Does he treat Potlatch as one of his subjects?

Sun Jul 13, 11:43:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, Josette - not a terribly good title in that way, I guess - but seems apt for this book itself.

Yes, FrumiousB, the second chapter considers the Potlatch in quite some detail - interesting stuff, and not something I'd come across before.

Sun Jul 13, 12:05:00 pm  
OpenID thekoolaidmom said...

That sounds like a fascinating book. I'm reading The White Mary right now, which takes place in Papau New Guinea. I'll have to check this one out. Thanks!

Sun Jul 13, 06:38:00 pm  
OpenID frumiousb said...

I used to work with a theater company called Potlatch back in the day. We were very into creativity and performance as gift-- hence my interest.

Mon Jul 14, 09:55:00 am  

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