The Gift

How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World

Lewis Hyde

The passage into mystery always refreshes. If, when we work, we can look once a day upon the face of mystery, then our labor satisfies. We are lightened when our gifts rise from pools we cannot fathom
The Gift (Paperback ISBN 9780857868473) cover artwork

Available as Paperback, eBook

Introduced by Margaret Atwood

The Gift brilliantly argues for the importance of creativity in our increasingly money-driven society. Reaching deep into literature, anthropology and psychology Lewis Hyde’s modern masterpiece has at its heart the simple and important idea that a ‘gift’ can inspire and change our lives.


“A masterpiece … THE GIFT is the best book I know of for the aspiring young, for talented but unacknowledged creators, or even for those who have achieved material success and are worried that this means they’ve sold out. It gets at the core of their dilemma: how to maintain yourself alive in a world of money, when the essential part of what you do cannot be bought or sold”
Margaret Atwood

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“Reminds us of our cultural gifts and our responsibilities to them … a manifesto of sorts … In a climate where we know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Lewis Hyde offers us an account of those few, essential aspects of human experience that transcend commodity, or that will do so, if you let them”
Zadie Smith

“Helpful, beautiful and profound. It will change the way you look at everything”
independent On Sunday

“Buy several copies for yourself and the rest of your friends interested in, well, anything … Hyde is far more than an astute cultural critic; he’s an original and important thinker. Pass it on”
Geoff Dyer

“Few books are such life-changers as THE GIFT”
Jonathan Lethem


Lewis Hyde

Lewis Hyde was born in Boston and studied at the Universities of Minnesota and Iowa. In addition to The Gift, he is the author of Trickster Makes this World, a portrait of the kind of disruptive imagination that all cultures need if they are to remain lively and open to change. Editor of On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg and The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau, Hyde’s most recent book is Common as Air, a stirring defence of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present.

A MacArthur Fellow and former Director of Creative Writing at Harvard, Hyde is currently the Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College in Ohio.


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