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The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Hardcover – July 28, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1577315933 ISBN-10: 1577315936 Edition: Third

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Product Details

  • Series: The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; Third edition (July 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577315936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577315933
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.”
Time

“In the long run, the most influential book of the twentieth century may turn out to be Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”
— Christopher Vogler

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More About the Author

Joseph Campbell 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.

Customer Reviews

Very interesting book!
Gary Karibyan
It's amazing how Joseph Campbell brings together stories from various cultures, all basically depicting the hero's journey in one shape or another.
Ramona B.
The great thing about this book is that you don't read it once, it can read over and over again.
David M. Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By P.G. on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
So what is "Hero?" Campbell is a comparative mythologist, and the original title was "How to Read a Myth." While scholarly in nature, "Hero" is not a formal scholarly paper and should not be read as such. Instead, it falls in the realm of literature. Campbell was awarded the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Contributions to Creative Literature for "Hero." As a scholar, he was particularly proud of this fact. While the book is not necessarily an easy read, it was written for the general public. It's difficulty may account for the "snooze factor" some reviewers attribute to it. "Hero" is a broad survey of what is similar about the world's mythologies, remarkable in breadth for its length. Rather than focus on what makes us different, as most comparative religion scholars do, he chose to focus on what makes us similar. If this interests you I suggest you read it. If after you are finished you wish for more depth, I suggest you try his four volume series "Masks of God."

If you read some of the negative reviews you will get the impression Campbell tries to provide you with answers to life's great mysteries. This is false. Instead, he borrows vocabulary from a staggering variety of the world's mythologies to describe that mystery. You will also get the impression that Campbell thinks he found the one and only way to interpret mythology. This is also false. On page one of the epilogue he says, "There is no final system for the interpretation of myths, and there will never be any such thing." You may also get the impression that Campbell was a mystic or part of the New Age movement. Again, false. When asked what method of meditation he practices, he once responded, "I underline sentences." In other words, he is a scholar.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Maryann Madsen on October 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really? I have to say why I like this book and think it deserves five stars? Campbell spent a lifetime focused on mythology and shares his insights in language the rest of us can understand. This is the book that helped us awaken to our hard-wiring for story and how those stories are told. This is the book other how-to books are based on. This is the third time I've bought this book because someone either borrows it and doesn't return it, or I read the pages thin.

Highly recommended for anybody setting out on their own journey as a storyteller, those interested in mythology and comparative religion, and those curious about how the human condition expresses itself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on February 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
_First of all, I feel inadequate and unworthy to review this book, but since Amazon has given me the chance, all I can say is that this is one of the greatest Books (with a capital "B") of my experience. I suspect that it shall be recognised as one of the single greatest products to come out of 20th century American letters. No, I'm not setting Campbell up as a prophet or anything like that, indeed, I suspect that this book's greatness lies in the eternal truths that transcend Campbell's individual personality. He just managed to tap into them- thank God.

_The entire work deals with the hero's journey. This is the Monomyth shared by all cultures- and indeed seems to be a direct inspiration from the cosmos itself by way of the collective unconscious. Here we have the eternal cycle of 1) the call to adventure; 2) the crossing of the threshold; 3) the tests, trials, and helpers; 4) the sacred marriage, apotheosis (becoming one with god), or elixir theft; 5)the flight 6) recrossing/ressurection; and 7) the return to society with hard won gifts. He examines all of these elements in depth with a wealth of cross-cultural examples. The first half of the book deals with this cycle on a more individual and personal level (the microcosm), while the second half deals with the greater cosmogonic importance (the macrocosm.)

_Now, the really amazing part of all this is that virtually all of it comes across as meaningful, interesting, and totally nonacademic. That's why many academic types hate Campbell, and his mentor Jung,- they know that Campbell's and Jung's works will endure and be read a thousand years from now, while their own monographs will be justly forgotten. There are a lot of mediocre Ph.D's out there that can never forget that Campbell never bothered to get a doctorate, because he considered such degrees to be a worthless and meaningless waste of time....
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Deborah F. Baratti on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ever wonder why Frodo and Harry Potter seem to have many of the same personality quirks, face similar self-doubts and challenges? Ever wonder why literally every civilizations has dragon myths? Joseph Campbell was the master of symbology and insight into mankind's quest to fashion for a road map through the journey of life on this planet.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. E. S. on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Campbell lived in another time, and so sometimes his vocabulary may not entirely translate. However the ideas and the careful, methodical thought he puts into his writing is priceless. It is clear that he wishes to help us all to "follow our bliss". Through the medium of mythology, Campbell truly explores the deepest need in us all...to live a meaningful and love filled life. Genius.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David M. Brown on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have wanted to read this book for a long time and I finished it in a day and a half. I've begun the second reading and will be more methodical on this read. The great thing about this book is that you don't read it once, it can read over and over again. Once you know that as a writer, that all stories have been written and re-written all you have to do is come up with new places and characters to create a new Hero's journey. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a writer or to someone just wanting to understand story telling in an in depth way.
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