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The Flight of the Wild Gander: Explorations in the Mythological Dimension

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  265 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In these essays, Joseph Campbell explores the origins of myth and their role in everyday life from Grimm fairy tales to Native American legends. He explains how the symbolic content of myth is linked to universal human experience and how myths and experiences change over time. Included is his acclaimed essay Mythogenesis,â which examines the rise and fall of a Native Amer
cloth, 254 pages
Published May 16th 2002 by New World Library (first published 1969)
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Barnaby Thieme
Nov 27, 2009 Barnaby Thieme rated it it was amazing
Along with "The Mythic Image" this is the Campbell book I'd recommend to newbies, more than "Hero with a Thousand Faces" and much more than "The Masks of God". In fact, if I were asked a single book on the study of mythology and religion to any interested party, this would very likely be the one.

While "The Mythic Image" capitalizes on Campbell's marvelous ability to spin countless stories in building chains of images and ideas, "Wild Gander" shows him at his hunker-down best, arguing with razor
Feb 05, 2012 Peggy rated it it was amazing
Barnaby Thieme's review: I read The Flight of the Wild Gander in the Seventies, and as Thieme's review might imply, it is the Campbell book I think about the most. Here Campbell seems, again, to be trying to piece together perceptions of current social evolution. I wonder if he was foreseeing the growing conflict between cultural fundamentalism (the organized, agricultural society) and the unacknowledged spiritual leadings of elemental human nature (the hunter-gatherer). As an editor I am ALWAYS ...more
Jul 05, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
I once read somewhere (It’s probably something Campbell or Jung said but I don’t remember) that a true believer—no matter what his particular faith—is living inside the mythology of his religion, and so cannot recognize the myths for what they are, a set of symbols and rituals that must be considered metaphorically rather than literally or historically. To live inside the myth, for example, is to see only the extended finger of the pointing Christ, not to where he is pointing. In the essays in ...more
Anton Channing
Apr 30, 2016 Anton Channing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alchemy
Really two slightly disconnected parts, the second really deserving to be a book by itself, and the first originally oddly placed with it in this volume. It is for the second part I recommend this book. If it was available on its own I'd give the book five stars.

The first part was originally published as a forward to a collection of Brothers Grimm folk tales. Its informative and quite interesting, but not really Campbell at his best. Really it has little relation to the subject of the bulk of t
Daniel Hoffman
Jun 02, 2013 Daniel Hoffman rated it it was amazing
A great piece. Campbell expounds upon ideas captured in his other works here, only the emphasis is on the personal experience from understanding the symbols of myth. My favorite part of the work was section five, which contains the name sake "flight of the wild gander." Throughout he weaves through different sources –-including Native American , Occidental, and Oriental mythology as well as modern psychology and novels-- to detail how stories are a metaphysical coping mechanism. However, the ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Marty rated it it was amazing
This is mid-career summation by one of the leading recent students of myth. Another small volume, "the Inner Reaches of Outer Space" (1986) will recapitulate some of these themes towards the end of his life. This earlier version, quite consistent in general tone and outline, goes a long way to map out his thinking on the evolution of mythic thought including those most essential myths under the great Western religions.
David Melbie
Apr 29, 2013 David Melbie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Students of Comparative Mythology
Recommended to David by: I'm a long-time fan.
Started: July 23, 2003 and finished: July 25, 2003.

My second reading. . . and, I actually started reading this a year ago! I read the first four chapters last summer whilst caring for Aidan, and then shelved it to start reading Baksheesh & Brahman: Asian Journals - India (which I did not finish until May, 2003!). Anyway, I adore this set of essays. I never tire of reading about this stuff! --From A Reader's Journal, by d r melbie.
Flight of the Wild Gander is a wonderful collection of early Joseph Campbell essays (1944-1968) wherein Campbell sets forth compact, well argued versions of ideas he would later explore much more expansively and exhaustively.

It's hard to pick a favorite essay, but his "Intro" to Grimms' Fairy Tales is phenomenally informative. "Primitive Man as Metaphysician" stands out for its luminous qualities. Anytime Campbell is going to walk elemental ideas through Native American mythologies to Brahminic
I am a huge fan of Joseph Campbell and while the majority of his books are very accessible and easy to read, this book is not one of those. I actually tried getting through this about 15 years ago and the language was far too dense and academic for me (and I am a student of anthropology!). I picked it up again this month to have another go, and while I was able to get through it this time, it took a lot of re-reading certain sections to really understand the points he was making. I checked in wi ...more
Feb 02, 2009 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology
This book wasn't bad, but it was not nearly as good as Campbell's other books.
The first section on the Grimm Brother's was great and really pulled me in. After that it slowly turned to a lot of historical information. History is awesome, but it was just hard for me to get into things in B.C.E. from places and peoples I had no context for. Campbell's texts generally have a very conversational tone. That was missing here. This book was often more technical. And, when provided mathematical equatio
May 29, 2016 Casey rated it it was amazing
Listening to in bloom. Experiences in this temporal reflection. There is a significance for everything. These are the things for men to know and remember. Think. The more meaning you will see. Prisoner of the mandala. Dimensions beyond time and space. The timeless forest. The integrity of a resolute heart. Man is but a dream of a shadow. Condemned to be free. Life values screamed at us from pulpits and media. Quiet places. Here and there. Where there is no beaten path.
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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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