By Lewis Hyde
Via now a contemporary vintage, The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated safeguard of the worth of creativity and of its significance in a tradition more and more ruled via funds and overrun with commodities.
Widely on hand back after twenty-five years, this publication is much more worthwhile this day than whilst it first seemed. An illuminating and transformative publication, and fully unique in its view of the realm, The Gift is loved by means of artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers. it truly is in itself a present to all who detect the vintage knowledge present in its pages.
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Extra resources for The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
As Joyce Crick (1999, 4) poignantly observes, Woolf was a very apt writer for 'catching up', for it was literary modernism that had been lost under the Nazis. And by engaging with an English modernist at that, and one, moreover, whom Auerbach placed in a long view of world literature, it was possible to dissociate oneself trebly from the burden of being German. If the Niinnings' skilful account of the various trends and stages of the scholarly reception of Woolf draws attention to the sheer wealth of response, it reminds us also of the difficulty of reading reception in specifically 'national' terms.
In other words, this new 'life' of Woolf, which has already been translated into French and German and enthusiastically reviewed throughout Europe, is expressive of the richness of her reception: Woolf as political thinker, as a feminist, a woman of Bloomsbury, a modernist, as sexually abused, as a professional writer and a fragile and possibly 'insane' genius and so on. This new 'Virginia Woolf might be multiple, but she is also iconic: Occurring across the cultural terrain, whether in academic discourses, the intellectual media, or mass/popular culture, the proliferation of Virginia Woolfs [both visual and verbal] has transformed the writer into a powerful and powerfully Introduction 17 contested cultural icon, whose name, face, and authority are persistently claimed or disclaimed in debates about art, politics, sexuality, gender, class, the canon, fashion, feminism, race, and anger.
Reading Woolf could be coded to carry a contemporary political message. Moreover, the very act of commentary and translation allowed women to speak when their access to an independent voice had been forbidden: 'the conscious use of translation and preface writing' allowed women 'to say by proxy that which was forbidden in their social context, that which they were not allowed to say in an autonomous text'. Translation in fascist Portugal 'allowed people to voice their muteness; and "women writers, doubly silenced, would often seize this chance of "speaking culturally from the margins'" (Abranches, 317).