The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Third Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
More items to explore
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.”
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.”
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.”
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Campbell identifies similarities in style as well as structure between the great adventure stories/mythologies throughout human history. Famously, he determines specific characteristics about the hero and his or her journey, hence the term (coined by Campbell) familiar to readers and writers alike, The Hero’s Journey. In effect, there is a very specific set of rules governing what makes a great story. And just in case I wasn’t certain of the extent of Campbell’s research, the book contains over forty pages of endnotes and other references. The man put in the research time.
Reading The Hero With a Thousand Faces came at the perfect time for me. I’d heard of it and seen it recommended to me on Amazon for quite some time, but I never took the time to actually read it. Actually, I “Wikipedia’d” it a few times, but that was the extent of that. But in finally reading the book, Campbell has helped me understand much better some of the ideas that I’ve been working out in my weekly “Books of the Bible” review posts. If you’ve read any of my recent Bible book reviews, you’ll immediately recognize that Campbell has already clearly written what I’m still trying to figure out for myself. For example:
“For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche…”
Here are the rules governing the first great stage of the adventure story (some of it is paraphrased in my own words):
The Call to Adventure
Initial Refusal to Heed the Call
Supernatural Aid/Mentor/“Old Man” (Old man is a direct quote from Campbell.)
Crossing the First Threshold
Belly of the Whale (The Point When the Hero’s Death/Ultimate Failure seems Certain)
Truly, Exodus would have been the perfect story to compare with Campbell’s ruleset, but I just wrote a review of Exodus last week, so I wanted to do something different. The Karate Kid might just might be the most perfect modern example of them all (and one of my favorite movies). So I thought it might be interesting to see just how closely the writers of this movie follow Campbell’s rules.
Young New Jersey native Daniel is called to the great land of adventure (California) by his mother. He hates it there (his initial macro-reluctance to heed the call) and would like nothing more than to move back home. The only saving grace (besides a pretty girl) is a mentor (Mr. Myagi) that he meets when he arrives. After getting into some trouble with the local bullies, Daniel’s mentor signs him up for a karate tournament. Daniel is mortified and has no faith in his ability to survive a karate tournament like that (Micro-reluctance to Heed the Call), “I cannot believe… what you got me into back there!”
But Daniel does as his mentor says and enters the tournament anyway (Crossing the First Threshold), where he manages to make it to the semifinals, further than he ever dreamed, before even hitting a snag. When he gets there, young bully Bobby cheats in a most despicable manner, kicking Daniel directly in the knee, damaging Daniel’s body seemingly beyond repair (into the Belly of the Whale, i.e., Daniel’s ultimate defeat seems certain). But just as soon as all hope is lost, Daniel’s mentor heals his leg through supernatural methods and Daniel comes back to win the tournament, his dignity, and the girl. Indeed, it’s a Hero’s Journey almost worthy of Moses.
Note: There are other rules and further stages to the story that I haven’t included in this short review, but it seems to me that these are certainly the essential components to the modern story. Maybe some other time, I can write about the further stages and which stories they apply to (Lord of the Rings comes to mind).
My final say on this book is as follows: If you’re a student of religion, mythology or philosophy, or if you are a writer (whether of music, poetry, or fiction), read this book. It contains a lot of good information.
If you are a curious individual or student of history, then you'll find The Hero With A Thousand Faces to be a fascinating read as the author probes deeply into the origins and significance of mythology from epistemological, ontological, psychological, and teleological perspectives. Whether you are a student of the ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Karl Abraham or others, you're sure to find a wealth of valuable information and "perspective" in this book.
A happy outcome is that by reading this book you may glean a glimpse of your own heroes journey. That fact is worth the price of the book alone. It also makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys being reflective and is not fearful of diving into their own psyche and what they might find.
Robert "Bob" Wright, Jr., Ph.D., COFT
Skeptics have pointed to ancient myths, authentically dated well before the life of Christ, that ring far too familiar to His story. They'll say this is proof that Christianity is B.S., but Joseph Campbell says it must mean something deeper.
Campbell was a Christian, and I'm an agnostic, but I'd say anyone who can dig through his heavy rhetoric will find something really valuable here, regardless of their previous spiritual beliefs.
Top international reviews
The most immediate takeaway from this book is in fact the similarity in the original message behind any religion or ritual or ancient myth, a path shared by any story we've ever told, in books, movies and beliefs. A primordial, seemingly innate, connection between the outer world and the human mind.
If you're into mythology and other cultures. This is up your street.
Sobre o enredo de "The hero with a thousand faces" (O herói de mil faces), é o livro mais popular de Joseph Campbell, e nele o autor compara mitologias que já existiram e que ainda existem, para analisar o que há de comum e perene nelas, o que chama de "monomito", sendo que o título original deste livro era "How to read a myth" (Como ler um mito).
Quando o escreveu, Campbell dava aulas de mitologia comparada na Faculdade Sarah Lawrence, uma instituição só para mulheres, e ele aprendeu com elas que o mais importante é relacionar os mitos com a nossa vida. O resultado é este livro magnífico, que influenciou artistas como George Lucas, ao criar a série "Star Wars", e a roteiristas de cinema, como Christopher Vogler, que escreveu um livro chamado "A jornada do escritor: estrutura mítica para escritores", que, por sua vez, é uma chave interpretativa para "O herói de mil faces". "The hero with a thousand faces" não é o livro mais profundo de Campbell. Ele se aprofunda mais nesses temas nos 4 livros da série "As Máscaras de Deus: Mitologia Primitiva, Oriental, Ocidental e Criativa." Mas "The hero with a thousand faces" é o seu livro mais importante. Ele nos mostra que os mitos são essenciais para conferir um sentido e um rumo à nossa existência. Eles não estão no plano da racionalidade, mas no plano mais interno da subjetividade! Leia e descubra o herói que existe em você, bem como qual é o mito que lhe move!
Plus, this book helped George Lucas write Star Wars, I'm told. So it's quite fun to spot the archetypes he based his characters on.