Guggenheim WinnerGAMBIER, Ohio (April 13, 2006) A work exploring the notion of an American "cultural commons" has earned a 2006 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for Lewis Hyde, the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon.
"My book will offer a model of our 'cultural commons,' that vast store of unowned ideas, inventions, and works of art left to us by the past," Hyde explains. "I am concerned to know how such common assets are valued, and concerned with how we engender them, protect them, and keep them lively."
The book will combine a history of how the concept originated in medieval Europe and has evolved in America, with "a parallel history of how we have imagined the creative self," he said. "I am honored to have my ongoing work recognized by the Guggenheim Fellowship."
Hyde, who earned his B.A. at the University of Minnesota and his M.A. at the University of Iowa, joined the Kenyon faculty in 1989 and received tenure in 2000. The author of The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (1983) and, most recently, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (1998), he has also published a book of poetry, This Error is the Sign of Love (1988), and edited numerous volumes. He is a past recipient of MacArthur and Lannan foundation grants.
The foundation was created in 1925 to honor the memory of John Simon Guggenheim, the late son of Colorado Senator Simon Guggenheim, and to assist research and artistic creation. In 2006, the foundation awarded 187 fellowships in the United States and Canada, out of nearly 3,000 applicants. The average grant amount was $40,107.
Past honorees with ties to the College include literary giants John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell '40, E.L. Doctorow '52, and James Wright '52; physicist Wilson M. Powell; and biologist and Kenyon Trustee Harvey Lodish '62. Hyde may be the first active member of the Kenyon faculty to receive a Guggenheim award.