The Hero With a Thousand Faces
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
Written in 1948, Hero With A Thousand Faces is only slightly younger than I am. I was introduced to it in my mid-twenties, almost half a century ago. But upon re-reading it I find it as revelatory as it was then. By avoiding the idea of faith entirely, Campbell keeps alive a religion of hope. Hero With A Thousand Faces is a theology of the God of hope. It is a description of this God as a way of perceiving both the world and oneself. It presents, therefore, not an aes ...more
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
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
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
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
Modern academics have (absolutely correctly) criticized Campbell's work, e.g. his broad sweeping assertions and shaky (at best) methodologies. But on this basic point Campbell was (and maybe still is) nonpareil.
You can dismiss Campbell on many levels. But on this one point. I don't think you can easily dismiss him or this impactful text - which is pretty much his master work.
I kno ...more
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
I’ve also placed myself firmly in the Campbell camp of dissecting story structure (suck it Robert Mckee, or better yet eat all ...more
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
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.
1. The Call to Adventure: the future Hero is wounded, and the cause of his wound is projected outwardly: an obstacle, a blunder, an enemy.
2. Refusal of the Call: the Hero falls back into the comfort and safety of parental figures, dependence and infantilism (male's mother complex).
3. Supernatural Aid: the Hero receives aid ...more
Can't say I expected anything quite like this.
The book has a great deal to say not just about myths and stories and how eerily similar t ...more
-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
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
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
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 tran ...more
My difficulty with it is that as a writer, as a reader ...more
The asceticism of the medieval saints and of the yogis of India, the Hellenistic mystery initiations, the an ...more