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A model of rangy, creative, but not far-fetched interpretation, in this case of a common mythological archetype, the shifty trickster. With often inspired readings of a variety of myths, including the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, North American tales of Raven and Coyote, myths of the Yoruba god Eshu and the Norse god Loki, Hyde (Art and Politics/Kenyon Coll.; The Gift, 1983) delineates some of their common themes: voracious appetite, ingenious theft, deceit, opportunism, and shamelessness. Through such themes trickster tales dramatize a mythic consciousness of accident and contingency (supplementing fate), moral ambiguity, foolishness, and transgression--in other words, the world as it is, rather than the way it may originally have been intended by the more senior gods. While careful to note that tricksters are heroes in a symbolic, imagined world and fixtures of wider polytheistic moral orders, Hyde ultimately identifies the trickster's crucial role as boundary-crosser with the provoking one often taken up by the artist in modern times. Without ever being heavy-handed about universal archetypes, Hyde uses such examples as Marcel Duchamp, Allen Ginsberg, and Maxine Hong Kingston, vividly illustrating the ``trickster consciousness'' as a vital component of human imagination. His choice of the fiery 19th-century African-American orator Frederick Douglass may at first seem puzzling in this regard. But in light of the real-life gravity of the ``boudaries'' Douglass crossed, and the ingenuity with which he did so, Hyde's example makes sense. Indeed, with his clever interpretive skills and his eye for the meaning-rich detail, Hyde brightly illuminates the ways in which his examples struggled to subvert such seemingly intractable elements as the defintion of art or slavery and segregation. Eclectic and cunning in its own connections, Hyde's wandering journey through cultures shows him to be nearly as versatile and ingenious as that master trickster, Odysseus. (illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
[A] hymn to the gods of mischief, who are also the gods of artistic and cultural renewal. (Michael Dirda, The Washington Post)
A major work of scholarship that is also a major work of art. (Sacvan Bercovitch, Harvard University)
Brilliant . . . By the time [Hyde] is done he has folded language culture, and the very habit of being human into his ken. (The New Yorker)
Hyde is one of our true superstars of nonfiction. (David Foster Wallace)
[Trickster Makes This World] should be ready by anyone interested in the grand and squalid matter of all things human. (Margaret Atwood, Los Angeles Times)
Interesting commentary on the classics that avoids being dry and academic--a rare feat.
That said, I felt the book could've been better organized
The history and role of the trickster is well defined in this book. The trickster is still with us, just have to have the eyes to see him. Now I do.Published 6 months ago by Jan
TERRIFIC!!! Everyone who questions, who is an artist, and actor, a comedian, must read this book. I thought the trickster was outside. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Nancy N. Thornton
I can count on my fingers to books which have rearranged by thinking , changed how I perceive, and altered how I relate. This book goes deep and wild . I do like thatPublished 11 months ago by Philip Belove
This book is a treasure. I have collected trickster stories across cultures for over 50 years. They have woven their way into much of my art work and I've drawn upon them often... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amy Patricia Komar Hare
Lewis Hyde is an amazing observer of history, humans and their myths. Every paragraph either teaches me something new, or gives me a completely different way of understanding this... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ursula E. Winters
Excellent book, very informative & insightful. Read a little bit from a copy from my university's library & liked it so much I thought I should purchase my own copy.Published 19 months ago by Jose Benavides
Lewis Hyde writes with stories the ways the best story tellers talk: beginning, middle, end. And though the stories may seem familiar initially, they every one seem strange when... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Walter J. Smith
I absolutely love this text. Lewis Hyde is incredible, and if you have any interest in Tricksters, this is definitely worth the read. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jessica