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Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth,…

Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (1998)

by Lewis Hyde

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In "Trickster Makes This World", Hyde recounts and interprets ancient stories about the "trickster" – a common mythical figure across Greek, Native American and Chinese cultures – a sly boundary-crosser, translator between groups and occasional thief.

Much like his previous work, "The Gift," Hyde applies his interpretation to modern day artists from Marcel Duchamp to John Cage, making the trickster myths relevant to us all. And as with "The Gift," Hyde's ability to marry powerful, accessible writing with rigorous, academic research is a marvel to behold. Highly recommended. ( )
  jasonli | Feb 15, 2015 |
If you like reading about myths and legends or you're a anthropology lover this is a really good read. One might say the author stretches his Trickster analysis when examining actual artists, but I think it's a technique that's excellent for prompting one to really start looking at the myths and the functions they serve in both our cultures and other cultures. As you read the book you can feel the inquisitiveness of the author as well as a sense of play. He's not saying Fredrick Douglass is a trickster, but he does apply some lessons learned from looking at how people react to Tricksters and how the Trickster reacts to himself to shed some light on Douglass actions.

I read most of the book straight through and took a little longer reading the appendixes and re-reading parts of the book. A good read and I"m hoping to track down more of the author's work. ( )
1 vote JonathanGorman | Dec 4, 2010 |
Book Description: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux New York (1998). 1st Edition Hardcover Fine, dj Illustrations 417pp. Appendices, Notes, Bibliography,
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
Masterful non-fiction writing: A brilliantly written, funny and moving book--filled with substantial scholarship and honest about its own stakes. To tell you the truth, I was moved to write this review by the two reviews below, both of which fall pretty wide of the mark. First, this is an amazingly well-written book, and that goes for both Hyde's prose style and his winding structure. His reflections of his own project do not upstage the subject matter but rather deepen and situate it in "time-haunted history." I wonder why anyone would expect or want a book about tricksters to be linear and transparent. By this I don't mean to suggest that Hyde is exactly "performing" the trickster in his writing. He announces his approach perfectly well: Saturn dreams of Mercury. I suspect that this book will frustrate all species of lazy reader because it asks for a sustained, continuous, and thorough reading. All the chapters are rewarding individually, but they are best read sequentially. If you want to be able to look at a table of contents and pick one or two chapters by topic, find a doctoral thesis, or a utilitarian academic monograph.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
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(Introduction): The first story I have to tell is not exactly true, but it isn't exactly false, either.
The trickster myth derives creative intelligence from appetite.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865475369, Paperback)

Trickster Makes This World solidifies Lewis Hyde's reputation as, in Robert Bly's words, "the most subtle, thorough, and brilliant mythologist we now have." In it, Hyde now brings to life the playful and disruptive side of human imagination as it is embodied in trickster mythology. He first revisits the old stories--Hermes in Greece, Eshu in West Africa, Krishna in India, Coyote in North America, among others--and then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Duchamp, Ginsberg, John Cage, and Frederick Douglass. Authoritative in its scholarship, loose-limbed in its style, Trickster Makes This World ranks among the great works of modern cultural criticism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:20 -0400)

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Lewis Hyde's ambitious and captivating Trickster Makes This World brings to life the playful and disruptive side of the human imagination as it is embodied in the trickster mythology. Most at home on the road or at the twilight edge of town, tricksters are consummate boundary-crossers, slipping through keyholes, breaching walls, subverting defense systems. Always out to satisfy their inordinate appetites, lying, cheating, and stealing, tricksters are a great bother to have around, but paradoxically they are also indispensable culture heroes.In North America, Coyote taught the race how to dress, sing, and shoot arrows. In West Africa, Eshu discovered the art of divination so that suffering humans might know the purposes of heaven. In Greece, Hermes the Thief invented the art of sacrifice, the trick of making fire, and even language itself. Hyde revisits these old stories, then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, Maxine Hong Kingston, Frederick Douglass, and others.… (more)

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