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The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,297 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The author of Hero With a Thousand Faces, The Masks of God series, and The Power of Myth here turns his powers of observation and analysis on his own life's journey and conveys the excitement of his life-long exploration of mythic traditions, which he called "the one great story of mankind." In conversations with poets, anthropologists, and philosophers, Campbell reflects ...more
cloth, 288 pages
Published August 27th 2003 by New World Library (first published May 1990)
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4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,297 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Barnaby Thieme
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Having listened to dozens of hours of Campbell lectures in addition to reading several of his books, it's clear to me that Campbell is a much more effective speaker than writer. It may not be clear to audiences chiefly familiar with Campbell through the PBS series "The Power of Myth" but he is a prodigious scholar of immense learning and insight.

This book is a delightful and fascinating collection of interview excerpts strung together to tell his biography, illuminated with the occasional digre
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are some great bits in this but there is also some appallingly sexist moments.

He did some great work looking at the Hero's journey from the point of view of a man, and what he wrote was seminal, but he just didn't see stories that had women's journeys, maybe because they weren't recorded, maybe because, in the past, it was more important for a woman to remain at home and keep the next generation stable and continuing than go on a journey.

The biggest problem is that now, this is the monomy
Claire McAlpine
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythology, biography
Excerpts from interviews have Joseph Campbell in conversation with others inspired by him.
Read in preparation for a course I'm doing in 'spiritual phyto'essencing' based on the theme of the hero's journey.
Will follow up with The Hero with a Thousand Faces, his theory of the archetypal hero in ancient mythology.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
More inspiration for writers. Also Star Wars source. Note: I'm pretty sure Asimov's Foundation series was also a huge influence to GL.
Jeffrey Howard
This book is largely a collection of transcribed interviews with Joseph Campbell. This is a benefit given that he is so much more affecting as a speaker than he is as a writer. He gets to the heart of the matter in spoken word while his writing can be a bit opaque and scholastic. This volume attempts to map out Campbells life according the monomyth, or hero's journey, formally dividing the chapters into each major step of the way: the call to adventure, the road of trials, etc. It was a clever t ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed! True to Campbell's other works, the depth of discussion about various topics that his life's work was involved in - myth, mythologies, stories, roles, rituals, etc. was outstanding.

But the formatting of the book threw me - it's a collection of snippets of conversations between Campbell and the many poets and psychiatrists and even filmmakers who he inspired with his extensive work on the world's mythologies. I'm not
Laline Paull
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Included because I'm a writer, so I need to know everything I can about the meaning, the origin, the potential of story. I was about to say, 'and this is a seminal work', but I realised there is no female parallel. 'This is an ovate work'. Just doesn't work.

OK. It's a seminal work, but I'm not sure I like that phrase.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of interview with Campbell. Organized by the motif of the hero's journey. Reveals personal history of Campbell, as well as his attitude toward his experiences and his continual mythological understanding of all around him. Additionally, the epilogue contains a priceless tale.
Amanda Krantz
Jan 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
A "cute" conversation with a man understanding his own world through the realm of myths. He wasn't even diving remotely deep into the many myths discussed. Furthermore, he was completely immune to feminist critique. Only a Campbell fanatic and your dead great grandpa would enjoy this read.
Judith Ann Kohnen
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another good book I've read a couple of times. It names common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies. The author uses movies to defend his philosophy. A must in a writer's library.
Stephen Huntley
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disjointed and self-congratulatory. Lots of fawning and name dropping. Rambling explanations and poor writing.
Daniel Petra
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sooner or later all of us will have to face and go through our own :Hero' Journey" ... whether we like it or not! We may try to avoid it as long as we can. I did!
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Read this in college. It was very inspiring to me at the time. Still is in many ways. The video series by Bill Moyers is fascinating as well.
Susan Reynolds
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I consider Joseph Cambelll one of my "spiritual fathers." I've read or watched everything he wrote or videotaped. ADORE.
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myths-metaphors
I've just re-read this book for the umpteenth time - a real classic that would definitely be on my desert island list.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

Sexism can really kill a mood. I used to respect this guy somewhat, but if he couldn't shake the most basic of social constructs, after having clearly stated that he knew otherwise, then I can't help but to doubt the validity of all else he has interpreted. I'm not saying there's nothing of value in there. I'm saying that after a certain number of pages thinking surely they are done with this old-school sexist crap now, only to turn into yet another freaking page of the shite, I was disgusted &a

Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good intro to Joseph. Now I need more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Joseph Campell is darn good in making me understand Mythology. Fascinating, brilliant in comparative religion and comparing mythology. He is pure love.
John Fredrickson
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology, spiritual
One has to love Campbell. This book informs about his personal life, not as a biography, but more about what has mattered to him in his own journey. The book consists of a lot of interview segments with a wide variety of interviewers.

I definitely enjoyed getting a sense for "the man behind the curtain", as it were, but overall the book felt a bit too meandering for me. I prefer his other books, which are much more focused.
Czarny Pies
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Campbell Fans
Shelves: criticism, mythology
I bought this extremely handsome volume at the Salvation Army for $4.00 which is slightly over priced. At $2.00 it would have been a true bargain.

The book is a compilation of transcripts of interviews done for a PBS documentary on Joseph Campbell that aired in 1988. In other words it is a gift item rather than a true book. As such, however, it is very well done. The photographs of Campbell taken at various stages in his life will please any Campbell. The selection of illustrations showing art ob
Brian Eshleman
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
So close, but yet so far. CS Lewis looks at myth and, by the grace of God, has his heart prepared for the Gospel by some of its patterns. Joseph Campbell is just as intrigued and perceptive but expresses himself throughout his post-Catholic life as an adversary of the Gospel's exclusive claims. As Elton Trueblood wrote, the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay.

As much of this work takes place before the end of Joseph Campbell's life after he has experienced much acclaim for his viewpoi
Ryan Denson
This is a truly magnificent work that blends an overarching biographical format with a wide range insightful content. It is primarily a series of interview excerpts with Joseph Campbell and does a good job of maintaining a lively, conversational tone to the deep and meaningful topics being discussed. For those unfamiliar with Campbell's major works, this book will be useful as a powerful introduction to who he was and his ideas. It is an immensely enjoyable read that will teach the reader much a ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Some great parallels in here between Campbell's life and the hero's journey. It's surprising to discover he got 4 years to himself to read day and night during the great depression. Makes one wonder how and how much it influenced who he came to be. Campbell has a piece of advice for the hero: "Learn a craft", "learn a job". And the depth of that simple statement is beautiful.
This book is a series interview transcripts taken from Campbell's last lecture tour. A fascinating look at his work, his influences and general remininces. There is a lot of insight into the man and what influenced him. The book provides much food for thought, as well as providing a starting point for more exploration.
Companion to the movie The Hero's Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell. It's a collection of transcripts and outtakes from that movie. Interesting stuff. Overly intellectual at times- at least for me. If you haven't studied mythology- religion- philosophy- and if you don't know the works of the big people in these fields- you get lost sometimes.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the most interesting books I've ever read. I had to for a college course, and I occasionally think about some of the insight this book provides. It offers much more than just learning about the hero's journey as it relates to what you see in fiction.
David Melbie
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: First timers!
Recommended to David by: I'm a big fan.
I first read this in 1991 or 1992 . . . this new version did not have the color plates, so I have retained my older copy. --From A Reader's Journal, by d r melbie.

12/11/10 Note: Good place to start if you are not familiar with Campbell.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
What myth are you living?..the transparentcy of transendence... totally thought evoking and well, follow your bliss;remembering and reconnecting to that which you did in childhood that took you 'out of time'...
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated with the concept of the "Monomyth" since I first learned about it over a decade ago. I saw this book in the library the other day, and thought it would be interesting to read about the man who was even more obsessed with our fictional heroes than I am.
Mark Valentine
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Inspirational and visionary, this study combines many of the archetypal patterns and re-formats them into educational jargon. The focus slants more toward organizational materials than for classrooms though. Still, the insights provided were beneficial.
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Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum's collection of tote ...more
“You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else's path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else's way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.”
“Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted.” 92 likes
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