- Series: The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell (Book 17)
- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: New World Library; Third edition (July 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1577315936
- ISBN-13: 978-1577315933
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 496 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Third Edition
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As part of the Joseph Campbell Foundationâs Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, this third edition features expanded illustrations, a comprehensive bibliography, and more accessible sidebars.
As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artistsincluding authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakersand continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.
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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.
First, it’s important to recognize that the hero’s journey belongs to the greater fabric of mythology. In the book’s prologue, Campbell states without reservation that myth is the basic expression of all human culture: “It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into the human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.” With these words, Campbell gives the reader fair warning that this book is not a mere collection of fairy tales, nor is it an attempt to contain mythology as a separate discipline. Myth, according to the author, touches every part of the human experience. It is not meant to be contained.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, therefore, is Campbell’s exploration of just one aspect of myth, the hero’s journey. In this “composite adventure,” as he calls it, the author relates “the tales of a number of the world’s symbolic carriers of the destiny of Everyman.” Even focusing on just one aspect of myth is a heavy undertaking, and Campbell acknowledges that he is only describing “a few striking examples from a number of widely scattered, representative traditions” to illustrate the common elements of the hero’s journey appearing in many cultures around the world. Part I, “The Adventure of the Hero,” delineates the hero’s journey in three basic phases: Departure, Initiation, and Return. Part 2, “The Cosmogonic Cycle,” explores myths about the world’s creation and destruction, a macrocosm of the hero’s journey.
Considering the extraordinary scope of material at hand, Campbell offers readers a well-curated overview of various traditional depictions of the quintessential hero. Some of the heroes described in the book are well-known cultural and religious icons, including Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Perseus, and Osiris. Many others, such as the Pueblo Water Jar Boy (one of the oddest and most humorous stories in my opinion), may be unfamiliar to readers.
This book is not only informative for mythology students and enthusiasts, but also very helpful for fiction writers. If you can understand what cultures all over the world have lauded as a hero for thousands of years, you can infuse your protagonist with some or all of these qualities and create an engaging story that touches on the deepest longings and fears of the human experience.
Note: If you've never read Joseph Campbell before, I recommend starting with The Power of Myth, based on a 1988 PBS miniseries in which Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell discuss applications of mythology to contemporary life. Because the text of the book is drawn from these Moyers' interviews with Campbell, reading it is like listening in on a conversation between friends, and it's a great way to ease into Campbell's work.