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Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind: The Authorized Biography
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Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind: The Authorized Biography

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  324 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The fascinating biography that illuminates the man whose work changed modern culture

• Gives a complete biographical view of Campbell's life and a personal perspective of who he was through the voices of his friends and colleagues

• Written by two of Campbell's preeminent students with exclusive access to his notes and journals

Joseph Campbell forged an approach to the study
Paperback, 688 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Inner Traditions (first published November 1991)
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Oct 19, 2014 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this biography and was interested that Campbell resisted biography, so I was glad it was written by a pair of his students who have carried on his work. I remember watching a television series of his lectures and being shocked at the end, to see that he was dead; he was so alive to me in his words and, of course, on film. So you'd think I'd be prepared, entering the final chapter! In full intellectual awareness and, I thought, emotional acceptance of his death, still I felt the so ...more
Aug 20, 2011 Sherie rated it really liked it
Long ago when I watched Bill Moyers interview Joseph Campbell I became fascinated with Campbell. This is a very comprehensive biography and I had to take it in stages to process what I'd read. Campbell dares to explore much of what we hold near and dear. His extensive studies of myths and how they relate to the daily lives of people around the globe should intrigue, but it tends to be threatening, because it exposes what some view as facts and these "facts" are the building blocks of some people ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Sexy rated it it was amazing
This book personally challenged me. It is a surprisingly detailed account of a man who accomplished a great deal in his life. Joseph Campbell had a great deal to teach us all, only due to the fact he probably learned far more than he could ever have taught in his life time. Joseph Campbell was a man who helped a great many people learn about who they are by learning from the great myths of our ancestors. We find at the heart of every myth, hiding between the words passed down and in between the ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Authors do a great job of capturing Campbell's life through his own journals, and through interviews with his friends and associates. What an amazing life and portrait of a scholarly life. Of course he knew and associated with many other famous people, but I was surprised to learn of his time spent with John Steinbeck, when both were still young men. I came to an even greater appreciation of Campbell's approach to mythology and it's role in the human experience.
Jan 18, 2012 Ann-marie rated it it was amazing
Reading this is an education in of itself. I wish I'd read this before grad school. . .but then again, I would have missed or overlooked certain authors Campbell read. . .anyway. It's a slow read. Intelligent with insights to the culture, age and shows how he became Joseph Campbell.
Mary Hannibal
Jan 22, 2013 Mary Hannibal rated it it was amazing
This is a comprehensive birth-to-death biography of an important thinker. I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to the work of Joseph Campbell -- The Power of Myth is better for that -- but once you are intrigued, it's a satisfying addition to Campbell reading.
Jul 21, 2012 Edda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Inspiring and fascinating. Don't let the fact that it's a 600+ page biography turn you off to it--it really is a great read.
Steve Wilson
Aug 10, 2011 Steve Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most inspiring and vivid biographies I have ever read! Campbell was a scholar from a bygone era, a true genius.
Aug 04, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
This biography is well-written and comprehensive, but it could have been more critical. For a good critique of this biography and Campbell's work, see this essay by Mortimer Adler:

Campbell had some genuine insights into mythology (e.g., The Hero with a Thousand Faces), but I've moved away from his thought in many ways. I find it too relativistic as it makes "myths" from all the different faiths equivalent. I don't think that's true. IMHO, C.S. Lewis had a
Pat Rolston
Apr 04, 2016 Pat Rolston rated it it was amazing
This book will allow an even greater appreciation of the amazing work done by Campbell while providing insight into an amazing life well lived. His sheer hunger for knowledge combined with an intense curiosity of all things provides perspective as to motivations leading to his literary achievements. The friends and associates throughout his life are some of the 20th century's greatest intellects and authors. John Steinbeck, Alan Watts, Carl Jung, Heinrich Zimmer, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Margaret ...more
Ed Bonthron
It was an outstanding book. It was a little slow in the beginning. It was very deep but considering the man that is no surprise. While reading this book I complied a list of other books I want to get my hands on but once again anyone who has any contact with any other Joseph Campbell work this isn't a surprise. The authors did very well by Mr Campbell. I would recommend this book to anyone who interested in Mr Campbell's life.
Dec 04, 2015 Zach added it
Recommended to Zach by: Julius James
The incredible tale of the adventurer who so deeply wanted to understand the adventure is unquestionably, A Fire in the Mind.
"My favorite definition of mythology: Other people's religion. My favorite definition of religion: Misunderstanding of mythology." (Joseph Campbell)
"No mythology that continues to speak or to teach of "elsewheres" and "outsiders" meets the requirement of this hour." (Joseph Campbell)
Sep 30, 2009 Jeremy rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Incredibly detailed, this definitive biography on Joe Campbell is strongest when talking about his childhood and formative years while in his 20's and early thirties. The authors were friends with Campbell and there is certainly a change in tone when the book enters the portion of his life in which the authors knew him.
An OK book, but a good read for JC fans.
Nov 23, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
I'm only on page 100 of 600 (counting the notes) and I can hardly put this down.

Joseph Campbell's work has always struck me as extraordinary intelligent and inspiring, and his life (so far) is as well. The book is beautifully written, too, even when not using Campbell's own wonderful words.

Tim Hodges
Aug 15, 2013 Tim Hodges rated it it was ok
Here's the thing: I always found Joseph Campbell's work very interesting, but the more I read about how he just sort of floated through life sponging off people I developed the urge to kick him in the ass and tell him to get a job. So that pretty much ruined this book for me.
Rich Hoffman
Sep 07, 2012 Rich Hoffman rated it really liked it
Since I loved the work of Joseph Campbell so much I had to read this. I consider Campbell to be my personal teacher and a large contributer of the foundations of my education. This book was written by people close to Campbell and does not disappoint
Feb 21, 2015 John rated it really liked it
I wish I had read some of the books that Campbell was passionate about, and also more of his books, prior to reading this biography, but it was still worth reading. I think I'll read it again should I ever get those other books read.
Márcio Duarte
Campbell's personal history realy shows an acurate desciption of his own "follow your bliss" motto. A great read!
Mike Milton
Nov 02, 2015 Mike Milton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, directors
If you want to learn about Joseph Campbells ideas, this book is the most entertaining and complete way to discover them.
Cyd Madsen
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H. Stephen Larsen is a psychologist and author who, with Robin Larsen his wife, was on the founding board of advisors of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, and also founded the Center for Symbolic Studies, to carry on with the work of Joseph Campbell. He is best known for his work in Mythology, and for being a pioneer in the field of Neurofeedback.
More about Stephen Larsen...

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“For it is a curious characteristic of our unformed species that we live and model our lives through acts of make-believe. A youngster identified with a mustang goes galloping down the street with a new vitality and personality. A daughter imitates her mother; a son, his father. —Joseph Campbell, MYTHS TO LIVE BY” 0 likes
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