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Paperback The Hero's Journey : Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work Book

ISBN: 1608681890

ISBN13: 9781608681891

The Hero's Journey : Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work

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Book Overview

Joseph 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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

One of the best storytellers of our time!

This was required reading for a graduate course in the Humanities. This is a great book written about a very engaging storyteller. Joseph Campbell describes the monomyth in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces as embodying all the necessary elements of the hero's journey in the many myths in human history. Campbell discovered through extensive research that humankind shares a universal monomyth in its various religions and legends especially pertaining to the creation of the world and humankind. Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from James Joyce's book Finnegan's Wake. Campbell's intuitive insight in human myth proves that for thousands of years these myths display a certain standard structure, which he summarizes beautifully in his book. A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man (Campbell 30). There are at least four major stages that a monomyth has however, in his book, Campbell goes on to describe seventeen stages that some monomyth's posses. The four stages making up the cycle of a monomyth are "passage: separation-initiation-return:" In the passage stage the hero is summoned to journey or embark on an adventure by some kind of event that takes place or from a message, he receives. The hero may embark on this passage willingly or reluctantly. During the separation stage, the hero meets with a mentor or wise man who gives the hero either an amulet or some words of wisdom to be of help to the hero on the adventure. It is during this stage that the hero will go through his first transformation, also known as "crossing the first threshold," as he crosses over to another world or dimension leaving behind the old world. In the initiation stage, the hero goes through several trials or tests. The hero often receives help in these ordeals along the way by allies or from a supernatural force. As the hero completes these ordeals successfully, he proves himself more worthy to continue the adventure. Most importantly, during this stage the hero must pass through a major ordeal that will expand his consciousness, and thereby change his character forever. Often, this ordeal entails the death of an ally or enemy. Once the hero successful accomplishes his ordeal he is rewarded with a gift, it could be intrinsic like the "holy grail, or it can be new found knowledge to better the world with. The last stage the hero travels is that of the return whence he came. Often the hero will undergo further trials on his return before he is permitted to cross the threshold back to the world he left. During his return journey, the hero will use his newfound wisdom or gift to make a safe return home. Once home the gift is used to cure some ill in the hero's home or to impart new wisdom to his neighbors. Campbell points to the

A thought-provoking introduction to a fascinating man

I read this as one who was unfamiliar with Joseph Campbell and his remarkable insights into myths and their role in our lives. The claim is made in the book that at some time in the 1980s, seven or eight of the top ten grossing films of all time were in some way based on material originating in Campbell's books. That makes Campbell a man whose thoughts are worth learning about. The book is in general fairly easy reading, since much of it is transcribed from conversations involving Campbell. Quotable quotes abound: "myths have to do with how you live your life", "the young male is a compulsively violent piece of biology", "when people say they're looking for the meaning of life, what they're really looking for is a deep experience of it", "the best thing I can say is follow your bliss". If you want to be inspired by a life lived thoughtfully and well, you should find this book rewarding.

Joyful and Inspiring

Those are the only words I can think of to describe this fabulous book! Not only do you get a picture of Campbell the man in a way you can't elsewhere, except maybe in the diaries of his Asian trips, but you also get a wonderful insight into the mythology that was his life's work. It's like being able to look through both sides of a lens at once!There are lovely pictures of Campbell, his friends and family that are literally breathtaking--they are part of that lens. The book itself is made up of a series of conversations and panel discussions involving Campbell and a number of his friends and colleagues--including his wife, choreographer Jean Erdman and artists like George Lucas, Robert Bly and Richard Adams. It is structured so that it follows Campbell's life story in the shape of his Hero Journey, as laid out in Hero with a Thousand Faces. The cover announces this as the Centennial Edition, which alerted me to the fact that Campbell would have been 100 this upcoming March. What a wonderful way to celebrate the life of a man whose joy (bliss) has inspired so many, and to take more inspiration from his ideas.

Stuck with a metaphor

For those who once bemoaned there being no autobiography by (or biography of) Joseph Campbell this book fills a void. For those who have watched The Power of Myth videos, and read several Joseph Campbell books, this collection of high-power dialogues with Campbell is no disappointment. No intimate details are given of Campbell's life, however, When asked for autobiographical details during one session, Campbell responds (more or less): "That's biography, and I don't do biography". Campbell relays several anecdotes of his friends Robinson and Zimmer, and gives honorable mention to the Bollingen Press and Sarah Lawrence College for crucial assistance in his career development. Particularly of interest are the frequent remarks concerning, and discussions with, his wife (and former student) Jean Erdman. While many of Campbell's remarks are near-verbatim replies heard in The Power of Myth videos, some are unreleased gems: There are two kinds of people in this world - those who know their myth is a fact (the orthodox religious) and those who know their myth is a lie (the atheists)- both KNOW that their myth is most certainly NOT a metaphor. Good book.

A wonderful collection

Each chapter of this book begins with a biographical narrative, followed by excerpts from myriad interviews with Campbell, organized in such a way that the interview topics follow the biographical line of the book. Jean Erdman, Stuart Brown, Phil Cousineau, Robert Bly, John Densmore and many more appear in the interviews with Campbell. The book also contains a complete timeline of Campbell's life and a list of books written or edited by Campbell.Note that this is a collection and is not as comprehensive a biography as 'A Fire In The Mind.' But what it misses in magnitude and detail, it makes up for in presentation. The book lends itself to both the page-through and in-depth readers. It is full of photographs (some full page)and highlights many of Campbell's memorable quotes. In a beautifully written introduction, Phil Cousineau refers to Campbell as the "ecstatic scholar", an "animateur" who was capable of evoking "the telling shiver of truth about your own life." This book re-animates Campbell's work and he is capable as ever, through the interviews on these pages, of speaking to the heart of his listeners and reawakening the mysteries of life with enthusiasm and awe. (I do also recommend 'A Fire In The Mind,' which contains details of Campbell's life and excerpts from his personal journals that are not included in this work.)
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