Trickster Makes This World is Lewis Hyde's exposition on the cross cultural meaning of the trickster mythos, using examples from Greek, African and Native American societies. This book is another entry into the world of culture studies, combining anthropology, literature, psychology and the like to explain the connection of trickster myths to human life.

Unlike many people who might wish to make sweeping statements from hermeneutic readings of various texts, Hyde seems to have the academic background (he was a professor at Harvard) to pull it off. Hyde seems to be genuinely aware of the intricacies of the cultures and literatures he is studying.

The greatest problem with the book is that Hyde may be too well educated. Metaphor is one of the best forms of data compression, and this book presents a great amount of interlocking metaphors and allusions that probably are quite clear in Hyde's mind, but that seemed to merely slip and slide into each other with no conclusion in my own. Along with this, some of the people he chooses to illustrate his ideas about tricksters, such as John Cage and Maxine Hong Kingston, seem to be quite tangental to the subject, and seem to be put in there more to fit his own musings. This makes the book hard to follow, although for those who wish to peek into the mind of a man who is undoubtedly innovative and intellectual, it is a good work.

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