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The Hero With a Thousand Faces

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,124 Ratings  ·  1,041 Reviews
The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages of mythology but also its relevance to our liv ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 416 pages
Published March 21st 1972 by Princeton University Press (first published 1949)
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Daniel Campbell is pretty thorough in explaining every myth he uses as evidence. Knowing some mythology will help contextualize his arguments, and give you…moreCampbell is pretty thorough in explaining every myth he uses as evidence. Knowing some mythology will help contextualize his arguments, and give you some room to apply his framework to myths you already know, but I think the book is readable regardless. (less)
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Trevor
Mar 08, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing
We studied the Myth Cycle at Uni and I was interested enough to come back to this book years later and read the whole thing. It is well worth a read – an endlessly fascinating book by a fascinating man.

The idea is that there is basically only one story, the grand story of our lives, the monomyth. This story is told in millions of different ways, but ultimately every story ever told is either just a retelling of this grand story, or it is a re-telling of certain aspects of this more complete sto
...more
Algernon
Sep 07, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014

Full circle, from the tomb of the womb to the womb of the tomb, we come: an ambiguous, enigmatical incursion into a world of solid matter that is soon to melt from us, like the substance of a dream. And, looking back at what had promised to be our own unique, unpredictable, and dangerous adventure, all we find in the end is such a series of standard metamorphoses as men and women have undergone in every quarter of the world, in all recorded centuries, and under every odd disguise of civilizatio
...more
Bracken
Mar 30, 2008 Bracken rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: intellectual masochists
Shelves: book-club-books
I was very excited to read this work because of its potential to teach me a great deal about mythology, but found that it was a total piece of tripe. I felt like Campbell was trying too hard to prove his knowledge, which was apparent in the great diversity of myths referenced in the work, but he failed to logically plan the layout of the text. I can understand the overall layout of the text, but it didn't work on the chapter/section scale. It was so disorganized that I often felt like a member o ...more
Lucas
Mar 06, 2012 Lucas rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when I was 19. It saved both my step-father's ass and my soul.

I have always been a fan of mythology and folklore, and Joseph Campbell pulls tales from many cultures to show how mankind has virtually the same heroic journey tucked away in its subconscious regardless of culture or even time. He also explains the importance of myths, which is something lots of people can't grasp because they can't get over the fact the stories aren't real. Myths were never meant to be facts a
...more
Mala
May 28, 2015 Mala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mala by: Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

Myths are essential to our lives because they reveal what is culturally important to us and they flourish via story telling—from the oral tradition of yore to the modern bits & gigabytes, one generation passes on its stories to the next & thusly our Collective Unconscious thrives.
Joseph Campbell's stated aim was to "uncover some of the truths disguised for us under the figures of religion and mythology by bringing together a multitude of not-too-difficult examples and letting the ancient
...more
Hesham Khaled
May 07, 2016 Hesham Khaled rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Monomyth

ـ" البطل بألف وجْه". . قصةٌ واحدة تُروى بألفِ شكلٍ،
ينطلق كامبل من رؤية فرويد للتعاليم الدينية وأنها حرفت وتنكرت بصورة منهجية عبر الزمن،
ومن ثم فهو يريد أن يوضح الحقائق المخبأة خلف كثير من النماذج الدينية والأمثلة المثيولوجية عبر التاريخ . .
متخذًا أداتين أساسيتين عبر دراسته وهما إتقان فك الرموز وعلم نفس اللاوعي ومن حسن الحظ أني قبل قراءتي للكتاب كنت قرأتُ
علم النفس التحليلي
لكارل يونج، وقد ساعدني كثيرا في فهم الكتاب . .
الخطوة الثانية التي يتبعها كامبل هي جمع القصص الشعبية والأساطير
...more
Ned Rifle
Jan 14, 2013 Ned Rifle rated it liked it
Joseph Campbell has done a lot of good work in this book and others. Unfortunately the good of the work was research. His theories themselves (not so much the pattern-spotting as his rather shallow interpretation of the material, which is basically glorified self-help) are very easy to ignore. Read him to steal his stories and then regale your friends with them, much embellished, if need be; the beauty of these stories is that they speak directly. Also get as many of the books he references as y ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the similarities between Hindu myths and Greek myths. Then during my early twenties, I discovered Campbell and said to myself: "Voila! Somebody has noticed it before me!" Ever since then, I've been a Campbell fan.

The structure of the monomyth is so prevalent in many hero cycles, fairy tales, children's stories and popular films so it's a wonder how anybody can miss it. Campbell does an exhaustive job of digging through various mythologies of th
...more
Katie
Apr 20, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book blows my mind every time I pick it up. It has taken me years to heed the advice of friends and family and read the thing (don’t wait as long as I did), but I’ve finished with a renewed sense of what it means to be an artist/writer/human and a perceived momentum I’ve found nowhere else. There is energy, wisdom and strength in the connections Campbell draws.

I’ve also placed myself firmly in the Campbell camp of dissecting story structure (suck it Robert Mckee, or better yet eat all
...more
Bill Tucker
Read it. Read it and marvel.
Moses Kilolo
Dec 05, 2011 Moses Kilolo rated it really liked it
Every one who believes in destiny, in dreams, and in the universality of human experience and their particular stories should, at least once in their lifetime, read this book.
Jennifer
Feb 10, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
While being the first book to explore the interconnections between cultures across the globe through mythology, Campbell's use of Freudian psychology does not do his thesis much credit. He also appears to be taking some of the "myths" that I am familiar with a little out of context so that they fit as proof to some of his points. While the thoughts contained within this book are interesting and provoke a good conversation about the interconnections of all human cultures, the foundation with whic ...more
Steven
Mar 25, 2007 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Page 156 “And there takes place, then, that dramatic divorce of the two principles of love and hate which the pages of history so beautifully illustrate. Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world. The laws of the City of God are applied only to his in-group (tribe, church, nation, class, or what not) while the fire of a perpetual holy war is hurled (with good conscience, and indeed a sense of pious service) against whatever uncircumcised, barbarian, heathen, “native,” ...more
Brad McKenna
Oct 27, 2014 Brad McKenna rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
This book joins Atlas Shrugged as the only books I've ever had to put down.

I love mythology. The myths are not only grand examples of storytelling, but they also shed light on their civilizations' way of thinking. From the doomed-to-die Norse Gods to the plagiarist Romans simply renaming Greek Gods, the mythologies across the globe are fascinating on many levels. So a book that traces the similarities between all mythological cannons sounds like a stroke of genius. Too bad Freud's psychoanalyti
...more
Oakshaman
Jun 18, 2009 Oakshaman rated it it was amazing
A Book with a capital "B."


First of all, I feel inadequate and unworthy to review this book, but since I have been given the chance, all I can say is that this is one of the greatest Books (with a capital "B") of my experience. I suspect that it shall be recognised as one of the single greatest products to come out of 20th century American letters.

No, I'm not setting Campbell up as a prophet or anything like that, indeed, I suspect that this book's greatness lies in the eternal truths that trans
...more
Rebecca
Sep 21, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: smart-stuff
This text is one of those often-quoted, seldom read old classics. It irks many, inspires some, and baffles most. I found myself irked, inspired and baffled on nearly every page. Still, I’m very glad I finally read it—-Campbell’s ideas have re-animated my reading and thinking. Problematic, definitely, but also illuminating.

The irksome and baffling bits first: Campbell cherrypicks what myths to include in his analysis. He chooses his evidence to create a really elegant Copernican universe, with hi
...more
Printable Tire
I enjoyed this book... mostly. I have a few qualms with it, however.
-I found Campbell's attempts to relate myth archetypes to the psychoanalytic interpretation of dreams to be outdated and more than a bit of a stretch. Dreams more often than not do not include characters like the Snake or the River; more often than not, dreams are silly and pointless. This aspect of dreams is never considered.
-Campbell's constant digs at Christianity and Western religion in general were appropriate, I suppose, b
...more
Nicholas Whyte
Jan 05, 2012 Nicholas Whyte rated it it was ok
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1811366...

I have to say that I was rather disappointed by this classic work on mythology. On the plus side, it is indeed fascinating to put myths from very different points in time and space beside each other to note the similarities; Campbell is consistent and clinical in subjecting the Bible to the same scrutiny as any other culture; and for myself, I learned a thing or two about Cuchulain, not just a local hero and contributor to Ulster geography but in fact an e
...more
Christopher
Apr 18, 2009 Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
The image of man within is not to be confounded with the garments. We think of ourselves as Americans, children of the twentieth century, occidentals, civilized Christians. We are virtuous or sinful. Yet such designations do not tell what it is to be man, they denote only the accidents of geography, birth-date, and income. What is the core of us? What is the basic character of our being?

The asceticism of the medieval saints and of the yogis of India, the Hellenistic mystery initiations, the an
...more
Laura
Sep 19, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to be literate
Recommended to Laura by: Prof. Tallerico
This book blew my mind when I read it as a teenager. Reread it about 10 years. and not all of it has aged well, (got a lot of gender essentialism that made me roll my eyes) but it's still absolutely worth the time. Not only worth the time in itself, it's also fascinating seeing the impact its had on the way we tell stories, and to catch a glimpse of the story of the hero we keep telling. For better or for worse. So many movies and books are almost scene for scene patterned on it; everything from ...more
Hadrian
Hardly the last word on stories and how they shape our lives, but a brilliant place to start.

Analyzes collective world mythologies, and boils them down into their component parts and recreating the story of our own lives - the monomyth. Incredibly interesting stuff.
Nerine Dorman
Jun 04, 2014 Nerine Dorman rated it it was amazing
Most of the authors with whom I work end up with me telling them they should read this book. Granted, the last time I read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces had been when I was in my late teens, so I figured now was a good a time as any to reacquaint myself with his work.

At the heart of all myths and legends, if I were to summarise Campbell’s book, lies one story, otherwise know as the Monomyth. In its most popular form, you’ll see it in episodes IV to VI of Star Wars – George Luc
...more
Janet
Campbell began life as a James Joyce scholar, and his book on Joyce is absolutely required reading. I have read the Hero with a Thousand faces, at least the first few chapters, on a number of different occasions. Inevitably, I lost interest as we began to move up into godhead, chapters entitled 'Apotheosis,' 'the Ultimate Boon.' THey're my Moby Dick whaling paraphernalia chapters. But this time I'm trying to stay with it all the way through.

My difficulty with it is that as a writer, as a reader
...more
Isadora Wagner
Jun 16, 2012 Isadora Wagner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writers, myth
This book remains one of my favorite go-to sources for the arc of the hero in myth and life. I recently reread parts of Chapter I (Departure: The Crossing of the First Threshold; Belly of the Whale) and Chapter III (The Return: The Refusal of the Return; Rescue from Without; Crossing of the Return Threshold) to goad myself out of my present lethargy in Middle of Wisconsin, USA, both off the page and on. Despite the fact that Neil Gaiman refused to read this book after p. 50 because he found it r ...more
Kristen
Nov 03, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, reread, 2015
Reread Oct. 2015.

I think my original review holds up quite well. I'll throw in a couple quotes that illustrate Campbell's style and meanings well:

“… schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work to weld together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death — the birth, not of the
...more
Gina Denny
Apr 12, 2016 Gina Denny rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Obviously I was familiar with the idea of the Campbellian hero prior to reading this, but I guess I wasn't prepared for Joseph Campbell: The Outdated Social Scientist. His theory holds a lot of weight, but it was hard to overlook the raging misogyny and outdated social constructs of the 1940s. Campbell's thesis hinges on Freud's work, and the last seventy years have brought major changes to our understanding of the human psyche, and as such, Campbell's thesis feels archaic.

His underlying ideas
...more
Becky
Jun 14, 2010 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is an important book that I will hold onto and attempt to reread in the future when I may have more knowledge under my belt regarding history, philosophy, and mythology. I think that solid knowledge in these areas is important as an anchor of understanding when reading a book with such broad scope or transcendental type thinking. As much as I respect Joseph Campbell, he did not effectively anchor together the information and present it in a way that will stick with me. I felt like I was see ...more
Ramona Wray
Nov 27, 2015 Ramona Wray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting ideas, though in terms of bringing them together I felt that the text just missed the mark. Nevertheless, a fascinating read. Though, perhaps, not the most inspired thing to pore over by a writer... At some point, it starts to feel somewhat like an ambush :)
Bailey
Feb 16, 2016 Bailey rated it it was amazing
The Hero With A Thousand Faces was the first five star book I read this year. I read the 2004 edition printed by the Princeton University Press which included a lovely and poignant forward by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a poet and Jungian psychoanalyst, who was able to perfectly bridge the similarities between mythology and the psychoanalytic where Campbell may have failed to do so for the reader. The book is commonly regarded as an examination of mythology throughout human history, but upon deeper ...more
Heba Ashraf
كتاب دسم لجوزيف كامبل" أحد أهم علماء المثيولوجيا بالتاريخ" فكرني بالبلورة السحرية اللي عليها تستقي دشليون لقطة ومشهد من عدة ثقافات وعلى مر العصور بمختلف المعتقدات وانت تربط الأحداث ببعضها لو فيك نفس بعد كده اساسا!
..
أو انه يوصلك على أعتاب مغارة وعليك انك تستكشفها ولسان حاله بيقول :ابقى قابلني لو متوهتش

..كامبل اتأثر بشكل كبير بموسوعة" الغصن الذهبي "لفرايزر واللي عرض فيها التشابه حد التطابق احيانا بين الأساطير والمعتقدات القديمة وبين طقوس الديانات الحديثة وعليه فتطور العقل البشري مر ب 3 مراحل " سح
...more
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mythology 21 85 Jan 17, 2015 07:22AM  
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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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“Regrets are illuminations come too late.” 226 likes
“Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.” 103 likes
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