Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Fruits of a Gift

"For some years now I myself have tried to make my way as a poet, a translator, and a sort of 'scholar without an institution.' Inevitably the money question comes up; labors such as mine are notoriously non-remunerative, and the landlord is not interested in your book of translations the day the rent falls due...Every modern artist who has chosen to labor with a gift must sooner or later wonder how he or she is to survive in a society dominated by market exchange. And if the fruits of a gift are gifts themselves, how is the artist to nourish himself [sic], spiritually as well as materially, in an age whose values are market values and whose commerce consists almost exclusively in the purchase and sale of commodities?"

-Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property