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The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion (Collected Worksl)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  904 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Developed from a memorable series of lectures delivered in San Francisco, which included a legendary symposium at the Palace of Fine Arts with astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Joseph Campbell’s last book explores the space age. Campbell posits that the newly discovered laws of outer space are actually at work within human beings as well and that a new mythology is implicit in ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 9th 2002 by New World Library (first published 1986)
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Apr 09, 2008 Kerri rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Only those who've been through Campbell's more well-known works
I'm a huge Campbell fan (? follower ?), but this one just did not do it for me. Quite honestly, it almost came off as the ramblings of a lunatic-- some manifesto one of those guys who builds his own church out of hub caps would write. It isn't that there weren't the amazing observations and bringing together of the worlds mythology that makes Campbell's brilliance what it is, but it seemed put together so haphazardly, like some unedited stream of concsiounes novel (which is ironic, since he wrap ...more
I still remember when José pulled this off his mythology shelf back in '95 and turned straight to the weird numerology section at the front of the book, where Campbell finds wonderful numerical correlations between the various systems of world mythology and the then-contemporary scientific understandings of the universe. At that point I knew I had to read this book, which meant that, true to form, I bought it almost immediately and promptly waited seventeen years to read it.

In this collection o
Dec 25, 2015 Robyn rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Gift from my uncle. | Oh, boy. Start elsewhere if you're new to Campbell. This made me believe his theories LESS than I did before starting the book. | This is a bit awkward for me, because I received the book in the mail in July 2008 with a note from my uncle "Just because. This is one of my most important books few 'get it' I know you will." I started reading it then, but even the introduction seemed so rambling and without point or purpose that I set it aside and forgot I had it. There's some ...more
Feb 06, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
Those who dismiss religion outright, or who understand their religion literally and historically, should, Joseph Campbell would say, consider mythic and religious imagery as the interface between the knowable and the unknowable, as universal truths dressed in local costumes. This book was more difficult, more obtuse, than the other Campbell books I’ve read. Nevertheless, his words left me amazed as they always do. His words, as Campbell says of the true artist, “…break windows through the walls ...more
Lisa Pounders
May 04, 2013 Lisa Pounders rated it liked it
Shelves: school, psyche, myth-story
This was not my favorite Campbell book regarding Mythology and its role in "current" society. Except for the last chapter, "The Way of Art", which I would give four stars. Overall the book felt like a repeat of his other works. I would say that if you read "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" and "The Mythic Dimension" you would not necessarily gain anything from this book. Also, I believe that the interviews with Bill Moyers do a better job of taking Campbell's work into the present.
Bob Prophet
Feb 16, 2009 Bob Prophet rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book I pick up from time to time, slowly working through it a couple pages at a time, giving Joseph Campbell's words a chance to sink in and meld with the writings of other authors like Richard L. Rubenstein and Chris Hedges. Eventually it will be completed and I'll move on to his other works.

Steve Wiggins
Apr 27, 2013 Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it
Joseph Campbell is dependable for his comparative, thoughtful analysis of mythology. A bit heavy going at times, these mature reflections are worth the effort. Read more at: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Robert Dietrich
Jul 04, 2012 Robert Dietrich rated it it was amazing
One of Campbell's finest books.
Francisca Pageo
Oct 10, 2013 Francisca Pageo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«La creación del mito es la creación del mundo, y durante los últimos años de su vida, creó el mundo de nuevo.»

Marina Tsvietáieva

En Las extensiones interiores del espacio exterior, el mitólogo, profesor y escritor estadounidense Joseph Campbell nos presenta tres de las conferencias que impartió en San Francisco entre 1981 y 1984. En ellas reflexiona sobre la metáfora a través del mito, la religión, la belleza y los arquetipos, así como de la cosmología y la imaginación. Para ello, Campbell señal
Brendan Ring
Mar 16, 2017 Brendan Ring rated it it was amazing
Particularly brilliant on kundalini, even showing depictions of it in early Christian iconography in Ireland.
Michael Brady
This collection of essays and lectures by Jospeh Campbell has been on my "To Read" shelf for quite some time, but Mortimer Adler took such exception to it in his "Truth in Religion" I had to see what all the fuss was about. Turns out Adler was upset with about one page of the 148 that make up "The Inner Reaches of Outer Space." I don't disagree with the views Campbell expressed on that page and the rest of the book is a heady melange of psychology, mythology, religion, art, and literature. Certa ...more
Oct 23, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it
[Closer to 2.5 stars]

This was my first foray in Joseph Campbell's work, and it was a pretty uneven read overall. There were some things in here I honestly liked a lot though, focusing on attempting to rebuild myths deconstructed by modern science and multiculturalism by grounding ourselves in timeless yet inarticulable truths, and creating myth as a way of wrapping transcendent experience in something comprehensible. The way he argued for it though was... less than convincing. We had a lot of ho
Andrea Paterson
Joseph Campbell is extraordinary. This particular work was pretty complex, and I skipped the last chapter on art, but the parts about the principle of Kundalini from yoga and the reinterpretation of some elements of the bible were fascinating. You're never going to look at the serpent in the garden of Eden the same way again. I was absolutely amazed by the comparative study of world religions presented here. Campbell shows that most religions, even when geographically isolated and separated by h ...more
Peter Caputo
Feb 07, 2014 Peter Caputo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mythology
His last book before he passed away, this book comes full circle with the inner universe of mythology to the outer reaches of man's final frontier. Joseph is the world's master at comparative mythology and sadly he left us too soon to continue his work on the Encyclopedia of World Mythology. Luckily the Joseph Campbell Foundation is putting together his notes and finishing his life long works. Joseph's work is written with a style and prose of a professor, yet his magical ability to illustrate, ...more
Vrinda Pendred
Jan 10, 2014 Vrinda Pendred rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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?

This was one of those books. My only trouble with it is that I read it at the tail end of a long series of other books making those different interpretations - and I'm afraid I burnt out a little by the time I got to this one. There wasn't enough about it that was significantly different to sustain my attention. Still, if
Nov 06, 2013 Roya rated it really liked it
Joseph Campbell rocks!!! Love him. Felt this book was a little too anthropologically wordy but once I got past trying to figure out each historical reference upon reference, I admired the macrocosm of his sentiments: We are all one. And there are many historical, mythological, cultural, religious, 'political' & universal mediums which illustrates the root of this truth. And within (without) that, everything is metaphor. I also appreciated the Zoroastrian, East Indian Hindu, and Native Americ ...more
David Melbie
Dec 11, 2010 David Melbie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All artists.
Recommended to David by: I'm a big fan.
I first read this book, finally, in 1997, a mere eleven years after it was published. I only wish that I had stumbled upon this book the year it was published; how different my life would be if that had occurred. But alas, I have had to read it again and I really love this book. It is now published as a hardcover and it is Joseph's last "little book.' A marvelous work. --From A Reader's Journal, by d r melbie.
Pamela Klint
I absolutely love this book. I also like hero of a thousand faces and the Myth series from PBS but every book I have by him always seems to disappear. Do you have it?

One of top books along with:
Stranger in A strange Land
Mist of Avalon
World According to Garp

Yes, it proves I am a loon:P
Apr 18, 2008 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mythology
I still have one chapter left... but enjoyed the text! New image Campbell introduced me to: "'Christ Triumphant,' where the figure of the Savior is shown not broken, bleeding, naked, and with head dropped to the side, but with head erect, eyes open, body clothed, and arms outstretched as though willingly 'thus come'" (43). Love it.
Great discussions on gods, humanity, and myth.
Dec 29, 2007 Cathy rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for many years and finally plowed through the whole thing. It's amazing. Joseph Campell is brilliant, and he weaves an incredible tapestry of human history through mythology and subconscious drivers shared by human tribes around the globe.
J. D.
Aug 30, 2012 J. D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Campbell seems always to have had an instinct for the universal appeal of myth. His thought-processes are endlessly fascinating. I was particularly interested in his many references to "Black Elk Speaks", which I read some time ago and found very engaging.
Bob Sauerbrey
Aug 30, 2015 Bob Sauerbrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captures Campbell's later thinking since this was published on a few years before his death. There's a depth here that can be felt better than describe. Makes spirituality a reality which is sometimes revealed in a particular religion, at least, in one that has not become an idol itself.
Sep 27, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
"The way of the mystic and the way of the artist are related, except that the mystic doesn't have a craft. The craft holds the artist to the world, whereas the mystic, facing inward, may be carried to an extreme posture of indifference to the claims of phenomenal life."
Feb 07, 2016 Marty rated it it was amazing
This collection is one of the later books collecting Campbell's thoughts. The well-respected expert on myth and its various sources and uses writes about myth and metaphor and their continuing value in the age of advanced science and the "exploration of outer space".
Dec 03, 2013 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Mr. Campbell's work, and did take away some insights from this, but this book was way more obscure than his other work. The numerology lost me, I admit.
The comparisons of world religions were interesting, and the chapter on art was interesting, but this book was a struggle to get through.
Feb 24, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best book i have ever read! Campbell's knowledge is beyond any psychologist, philosopher, or mythologist; as he weaves together the various traditions with the insight of a modern mystic.
Oct 05, 2007 Seri rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: spiro agnew
Shelves: booksireadin2006
One of Campbell's final works, he tries to usher in a new mythology for the space age. A collection of essays, Campbell compares inner space to outer space, and explains how some of our old myths don't work anymore. Not a bad read, but only for real Campbell fans.
Dec 31, 2014 Clivemichael rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: read it again
Deep and wide, many opportunities for understanding, aha moments and further reflective thought.
Sep 29, 2015 Zach added it
Recommends it for: For anyone "en route." Asking & wondering about the big questions in life.
MAGNIFICENT. For those who find the adventure of life a mysterium tremendum et fascinans (a mystery that is both dreadfully terrifying & also fascinatingly attractive).
Lauren Armstrong
Oct 05, 2013 Lauren Armstrong rated it really liked it
Already a fan of Dr Campbell, I read this in the year that the international space station went into operation.
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Joseph John Campbell was an American mythology professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion.
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