NEH Award Seeks HydeGAMBIER, Ohio (January 2, 2008) A fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Humanities fuels English professor Lewis Hyde's exploration of the "cultural commons" in his new book.
The NEH recently announced the $33,600 award, including it among 260 grants worth a total of $15 million to support work on humanities-related projects. Hyde received one of seven awards distributed in Ohio.
"Humanities projects funded through Endowment support help us understand where we've been, who we are today, and what ideas we must pass on to future generations," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. A spokesman for the NEH described the selection process as rigorous and very competitive.
Hyde, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, will devote the first six months of 2008 to work on his book on the cultural commons -- the collection of ideas, inventions, and art that our culture has inherited from the past without ownership. His project title is "Intellectual Property and the Tension between Private Ownership and the Public Domain at the American Founding."
Hyde is focusing on how the Founding Fathers imagined then what is now called "intellectual property." Hyde seeks "to use the models they offer us as a way of broadening current debates over the balance between private and common ownership."
"I am very pleased," Hyde said. "It's an honor." This is the second such honor for Hyde, who won an NEH grant in 1979, while working on his heralded 1983 book The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property.
Hyde has completed a draft of the new book, as yet unnamed and to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. At least one more draft is in the works.