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About Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum's collection of totem poles. Campbell was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. While abroad he was influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These encounters led to Campbell's theory that all myths and epics are linked in the human psyche, and that they are cultural manifestations of the universal need to explain social, cosmological, and spiritual realities.
After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, and then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 40s and '50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He also edited works by the German scholar Heinrich Zimmer on Indian art, myths, and philosophy. In 1944, with Henry Morton Robinson, Campbell published A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake. His first original work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, came out in 1949 and was immediately well received; in time, it became acclaimed as a classic. In this study of the "myth of the hero," Campbell asserted that there is a single pattern of heroic journey and that all cultures share this essential pattern in their various heroic myths. In his book he also outlined the basic conditions, stages, and results of the archetypal hero's journey.
Throughout his life, he traveled extensively and wrote prolifically, authoring many books, including the four-volume series The Masks of God, Myths to Live By, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space and The Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Joseph Campbell died in 1987. In 1988, a series of television interviews with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, introduced Campbell's views to millions of people.
For more on Joseph Campbell and his work, visit the web site of Joseph Campbell Foundation at JCF.org.
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Explore the Hero's Journey in stories as old as humanity and as new as last night's dream
The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change. — Joseph Campbell
Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faceshas influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.
As part of the Joseph Campbell Foundation’s Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, this third edition features expanded illustrations, a comprehensive bibliography, and more accessible sidebars.
As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Facescontinues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artists—including authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakers—and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.
“I have returned to no other book more often since leaving college than this one, and every time I discover new insight into the human journey. Every generation will find in Hero wisdom for the ages.”
— Bill Moyers
“In the three decades since I discovered The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it has continued to fascinate and inspire me. Joseph Campbell peers through centuries and shows us that we are all connected by a basic need to hear stories and understand ourselves. As a book, it is wonderful to read; as illumination into the human condition, it is a revelation.”
— George Lucas
“Campbell’s words carry extraordinary weight, not only among scholars but among a wide range of other people who find his search down mythological pathways relevant to their lives today....The book for which he is most famous, The Hero with a Thousand Faces [is] a brilliant examination, through ancient hero myths, of man’s eternal struggle for identity.”
The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition
The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit.
This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell’s work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound influence on our culture.
Explore the life and work of Joseph CampbellJoseph Campbell, arguably the greatest mythologist of the twentieth century, was certainly one of our greatest storytellers. This masterfully crafted book interweaves conversations between Campbell and some of the people he inspired, including poet Robert Bly, anthropologist Angeles Arrien, filmmaker David Kennard, Doors drummer John Densmore, psychiatric pioneer Stanislov Grof, Nobel laureate Roger Guillemen, and others. Campbell reflects on subjects ranging from the origins and functions of myth, the role of the artist, and the need for ritual to the ordeals of love and romance. With poetry and humor, Campbell recounts his own quest and conveys the excitement of his lifelong exploration of our mythic traditions, what he called “the one great story of mankind.”
Explore myth as a tool for personal growth and transformationJoseph Campbell famously defined myth as “other people's religion.” But he also said that one of the basic functions of myth is to help each individual through the journey of life, providing a sort of travel guide or map to reach fulfillment — or, as he called it, bliss. For Campbell, many of the world's most powerful myths support the individual's heroic path toward bliss.
In Pathways to Bliss, Campbell examines this personal, psychological side of myth. Like his classic best-selling books Myths to Live By and The Power of Myth, Pathways to Bliss draws from Campbell's popular lectures and dialogues, which highlight his remarkable storytelling and ability to apply the larger themes of world mythology to personal growth and the quest for transformation. Here he anchors mythology's symbolic wisdom to the individual, applying the most poetic mythical metaphors to the challenges of our daily lives.
Campbell dwells on life's important questions. Combining cross-cultural stories with the teachings of modern psychology, he examines the ways in which our myths shape and enrich our lives and shows how myth can help each of us truly identify and follow our bliss.
Explore the mysteries of the feminine divineJoseph Campbell brought mythology to a mass audience. His bestselling books, including The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces, are the rare blockbusters that are also scholarly classics.
While Campbell’s work reached wide and deep as he covered the world’s great mythological traditions, he never wrote a book on goddesses in world mythology. He did, however, have much to say on the subject. Between 1972 and 1986 he gave over twenty lectures and workshops on goddesses, exploring the figures, functions, symbols, and themes of the feminine divine, following them through their transformations across cultures and epochs.
In this provocative volume, editor Safron Rossi—a goddess studies scholar, professor of mythology, and curator of collections at Opus Archives, which holds the Joseph Campbell archival manuscript collection and personal library—collects these lectures for the first time. In them, Campbell traces the evolution of the feminine divine from one Great Goddess to many, from Neolithic Old Europe to the Renaissance. He sheds new light on classical motifs and reveals how the feminine divine symbolizes the archetypal energies of transformation, initiation, and inspiration.
Discover Myth"There's no one quite like Joseph Campbell. He knows the vast sweep of man's panoramic past as few men have ever known it." --The Village Voice
Joseph Campbell famously compared mythology to a kangaroo pouch for the human mind and spirit: "a womb with a view." In Myths to Live By, he examines all of the ways in which myth supports and guides us, giving our lives meaning. Love and war, science and religion, East and West, inner space and outer space — Campbell shows how the myths we live by can reconcile all of these pairs of opposites and bring a sense of the whole.
This classic has been newly illustrated and annotated in its first new edition since its original publication, which also marks the first ebook in the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series. In the tradition of The Power of Myth and Pathways to Bliss, Myths to Live By remains one of Joseph Campbell's most enduring, popular, and accessible works.
Find yourself in myth
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."—Joseph Campbell
One of Joseph Campbell's most popular, most quoted works, A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living is a treasure trove of insight and inspiration, thought-provoking in its depth, poetic in its scope.
Drawn from a month-long workshop at the world-famous Esalen Institute held in celebration of the scholar's eightieth birthday, the Joseph Campbell Companion captures Campbell at his best: wise, funny, intelligent and inspiring.
Discover the myths underlying into the Western traditionWoven from Joseph Campbell’s previously unpublished work, this volume explores Judeo-Christian symbols and metaphors — and their misinterpretations — with the famed mythologist’s characteristic conversational warmth and accessible scholarship.Campbell’s insights highlight centuries of confusion between literal and metaphorical interpretations of Western religious symbols that are, he argues, perennially relevant keys to spiritual understanding and mystical revelationReviews:“[A] romp through the Judeo-Christian tradition — a lightning-paced tour with an extremely knowledgeable and provocative guide to illuminate some intriguing, untrammeled paths.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)“It is Campbell the armchair speaker who shines through, buoyant with life and with comments that are eerily relevant to current times.”— Parabola“The work confirms the commonality of the human experience. A much-needed prescription in today’s world.”— San Francisco Chronicle
Explore the magic of the Arthurian legends
The first collection of Joseph Campbell’s writings and lectures on the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages, a central focus of his celebrated scholarship, edited and introduced by Arthurian scholar Evans Lansing Smith, PhD, the chair of Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Throughout his life, Joseph Campbell was deeply engaged in the study of the Grail Quests and Arthurian legends of the European Middle Ages. In this new volume of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, editor Evans Lansing Smith collects Campbell’s writings and lectures on Arthurian legends, including his never-before-published master’s thesis on Arthurian myth, “A Study of the Dolorous Stroke.” Campbell’s writing captures the incredible stories of such figures as Merlin, Gawain, and Guinevere as well as the larger patterns and meanings revealed in these myths. Merlin’s death and Arthur receiving Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, for example, are not just vibrant stories but also central to the mythologist’s thinking.
The Arthurian myths opened the world of comparative mythology to Campbell, turning his attention to the Near and Far Eastern roots of myth. Calling the Arthurian romances the world’s first “secular mythology,” Campbell found metaphors in them for human stages of growth, development, and psychology. The myths exemplify the kind of love Campbell called amor, in which individuals become more fully themselves through connection. Campbell’s infectious delight in his discoveries makes this volume essential for anyone intrigued by the stories we tell—and the stories behind them.
Explore the fundamental myths of Asia
Master mythologist Joseph Campbell had a genius for finding the unifying symbols and metaphors in apparently distinct cultures and traditions. In Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal, Campbell explores, with his characteristic clarity and humor, the principle that underlies all the great religions of India and East Asia, from Jainism and Hinduism to Buddhism and Taoism: the transcendent World Soul.
Joseph Campbell began his comparative study of the world’s religions with a chance meeting with the renowned Indian theosophist Jeddu Krishnamurti on a trans-Atlantic steamer. Though Campbell was deeply fascinated by mythologies and religions from every continent, Asia’s potent mix of theologies captured his imagination more than any other, and offered him paths to understanding the essence of myth.
In Myths of Light, Campbell explores the core philosophies and mythologies of the East, comparing them through vivid examples and stories to each other and to those of the West. A worthy companion to Thou Art That and to Campbell’s Asian Journals, this volume conveys complex insights through warm, accessible storytelling, revealing the intricacies and secrets of his subject with his typical enthusiasm.
In this work, beloved mythologist Joseph Campbell explores the Space Age. He posits that the laws of outer space are actually within us as well, and that a new mythology is implicit in that realization. But what is this new mythology? How can we recognize it? Campbell explores these questions in the concluding essay, "The Way of Art," in which he demonstrates that metaphor is the language of art and argues that within the psyches of today's artists are the seeds of tomorrow's mythologies.
Campbell writes in his introduction: "My desire and great pleasure in the preparation of this little volume has been as rendering a return gift to the Graces for the transforming insights of these recent years, which...we have been testing out in a broadly shared spiritual adventure."
Explore the magic of modern mythIn 1927, as a twenty-three-year-old postgraduate scholar in Paris, Joseph Campbell first encountered James Joyce’s Ulysses. Known for being praised and for kicking up controversy (including an obscenity trial in the United States in 1920), the novel left Campbell both intrigued and confused, as it had many others. Because he was in Paris, he was able to visit the Shakespeare & Company bookstore—the outpost of the original publisher of Ulysses, Sylvia Beach. She gave him “clues” for reading Ulysses, and that, Campbell attested, changed his career. For the next sixty years, Campbell moved through the labyrinths of Joyce’s creations—writing and lecturing on Joyce using depth psychology, comparative religion, anthropology, and art history as tools of analysis.
Arranged by Joyce scholar Edmund L. Epstein, Mythic Worlds, Modern Words presents a wide range of Campbell’s writing and lectures on Joyce, which together form an illuminating running commentary on Joyce’s masterworks. Campbell’s visceral appreciation for all that was new in Joyce will delight the previously uninitiated, and perhaps intimidated, as well as longtime lovers of both Joyce and Campbell.