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The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Paperback – July 10, 2012
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David L. Miller, Watson-Ledden professor of religions, Syracuse University
Campbell, who is known for speaking his mind, pulls no punches here. This book, more than any other, unambiguously delineates his basic understanding of mythology and religion....Inveterate underliners will be tempted to highlight things on virtually every page.”
The wealth and breadth of reference in this small book is truly prodigious...as Campbell now soars like an eagle to a generalization about The Big Bang, now dives like a hawk to a precise description of the color and number of lotus petals in each of the seven centers of the chakra system, rendering both lucid in a single universe of discourse.”
About the Author
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Because of the great advances in learning which have become accelerated and dramatized by space exploration, Campbell points out that our old gods are either already dead or dying. The big question now is what new mythology will emerge from a modern understanding of a unified planet amidst a vast universe.
The creation of any new mythology will certainly depend in part on the contributions of art because artists will be the ones who will produce the images of the future. Those images will come from our knowledge of a constantly changing and expanding universe. Campbell writes about the connection between art and mythology with conviction, no doubt due to the long-standing influence of his wife, Jean Erdman, a well-known dancer and choreographer.
The most remarkable feature evident in THE INNER REACHES OF OUTER SPACE is the breadth and depth of the author's knowledge and understanding of mythology. Joseph Campbell led an enviable life driven by a singular passion and his writings are the best reflection of that life.
What a brilliant book! By turns thought-provoking and breathtaking, I found myself rethinking many long-held ideas. And this for someone who has read and seen many Campbell works in the past.
The last chapter, The Way of Art, really flattened me. Campbell writes thoughout his work of the mythic role of the artist, but here is the clearest statement of the artist's power and responsibility.
I give this book 5 stars because it is the best presentation of this type of information for laymen I have found.
His writings have brought up the argument that what is lacking in America today is an education in mythology. This is something that would not only enhance an individuals life by adding value to our culture which is in my opinion too often dismissed as empty, but also would enhance our connection with our past and our future.
Joseph Campbell has influenced many people and many creative efforts. George Lucas credits Mr Campbell with making StarWars a better movie. In fact Mr Campbell's interviews with Bill Moyers (on many PBS stations) was taped at Skywalker Ranch. I found this link indranet.com/welcometoearth having searched for information about Mr Campbell.
In addition to those seeking anthropological or spiritual information, if you enjoy magical stories like Harry Potter or science fiction stories then you will enjoy The Inner Reaches of Outer Space.
Any book by Campbell will usually be loaded with insights. In THE INNER REACHES OF OUTER SPACE one of my favorite chapters deals partially with a discussion of the Infinite and in this segment the author's extensive knowledge of Eastern religions and mythology is most apparent.
After reading this book it is even easier than before to appreciate why Joseph Campbell has managed to acquire such a devoted following.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm amazed by Campbell's intellect and his ability to communicate his knowledge of mythology and its application to us as individuals and our world.Published 7 months ago by Phil
He draws some interesting parallels between prehistoric myth and various religions. The Abrahamic religions seem to draw on these prior myths for the stories of a great flood and... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Dan
Very usefull to read and to bewcome Aware of our common heritage
He is so great I have his series on mysth and religion that was made in the 80's and wanted to see what this book saidPublished 21 months ago by christine vota
What I find fascinating is how the same stories get interpreted so many different ways, and always just as convincingly - yet surely they can't mean all those things, at once? Read morePublished 23 months ago by Vrinda Pendred