About This Project

Lewis Hyde

I think most artists are converted to art, by art itself: we meet somebody, or we see something that moves us - that makes sense, finally, of things we’re confused about - and converts us to this way of life. In Bob Dylan’s autobiographical book Chronicles, he tells the story of first listening to Woody Guthrie records. He was in Minneapolis, he would have been 18 or 19 years old- and a friend had all these old 78 RPM Guthrie records. And Dylan says he listened to them all day long- and they made him feel more like himself than ever before. And I’ve always found it such a strange remark: here’s this young kid who feels like himself… hearing somebody else’s singing. And so what is the human self? That doesn’t appear until you hear the art that some older person made - and is available to you. It seems as if it’s not a private self or individual self…it’s a self that participates in human consciousness. That is brought to life by the gifts of those that came before you.


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