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The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Paperback – March 11, 2014
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The man behind the myth is lovingly revealed in this collection of interviews with the late Joseph Campbell. Using Campbell's format for the "hero's journey," editor Phil Cousineau organized these interviews so that they reflect Campbell's own chronological life quest. He begins with "The Call to Adventure," in which Campbell speaks to his fascination with Native American myth as a child, and moves through "The Road of Trials" (his years in college and as a young professor at Sarah Lawrence) and the "Meeting with the Goddess" (referring to meeting his wife of 50 years, the modern dancer Jean Erdman). Since most of the book is written in a question and answer format (with a few excerpts from lectures), much of the text is in Campbell's own words. It is a feast for any fan to hear Campbell speak so personally about his own life while also imparting his usual insight and wisdom on every topic he discusses.
A few morsels of this feast can be found in the following tidbits: for example, readers may be surprised to discover that Campbell considered his half-mile track races in college to be the "peak" experiences of his life. (Campbell was an esteemed track star at Columbia University in the mid-1920s.) Or that it was the famous Paris-dweller and bookseller Sylvia Beach who helped Campbell understand the meaning behind Ulysses in 1928 and was influential in steering Campbell into the realm of mythology and heroes. Or that Campbell believed that his uncanny ability to relate myths to contemporary life came from teaching female students at Sarah Lawrence. "They always wanted the material to relate to themselves, to life," he explained to interviewer Stuart Brown. "I attribute the popular aspects of my writing to the training I got from these students." Or that The Hero with a Thousand Faces inspired numerous artists, including George Lucas of Star Wars fame and Richard Adams, author of Watership Down.
This is also a generously illustrated book, with numerous photos of Campbell, many of which are shown in their authentic sepia tones. Numerous full-color images of famous artwork and images speak to each mythological theme in the book, such as the "Death of Socrates" (Jacques Louis David, 1787) and the painting of "Sacred and Profane" (Titan, circa 1514). --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Campbell's spiritual autobiography, filled with quotable comments, offers insights into his Catholic youth, travels, teaching career and marriage as well as dialogues on poetry and ritual art with notables including Robert Bly and Jung. "Fans of . . . Campbell's books on comparative myth and religion will enjoy this amalgam of interviews, speeches and conversations," said PW. Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
While it may be tempting to read this brief introduction and summary of his life, philosophy,and work with a critical eye, it would be more growth-promoting to non-judgementally go for the ride. One may say he led a charmed life, but it was a life he chose and sacrificed for. By making the choices he made, he set in motion the theory which has come to personify his life: Follow your bliss and what you need will follow.
Nor does Campbell claim it will be a path strewn with roses. On the contrary, the task for each initiate is to maneuver the virign path, replete with challenges and rejection. A reductionistic position toward his life and work neglects the unknown day-to-day struggles we all confront. No one, but no one is able to avoid this one fact of life, regardless of socio-economic bracket or level of personal/professional success.
Would you like to read something new, something well-thought out? If yes, read this book. Do you want to take the easy road and criticize? If yes, good luck with that. This man spent five Great Depression years studying classical works within multiple genres. On a full-time basis. That would translate into twenty years of our current attention span. Crib notes will be useless - This is not a coctail party.
Criticism is easy. You need not agree. What is life but reveling in the differences? He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth [Goethe]. Take a trip with Joseph Campbell. What's the worst that can happen?