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From 1934–1972, Joseph Campbell taught an Introduction to Mythology class at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. This reading list gives a sense of the material he covered in this class, and also an insight into the authors and books that most influenced Campbell’s thinking.

Bill Moyers shares a story about receiving a letter from a former student of Campbell’s who wrote, “While all of us listened spellbound, we did stagger under the weight of his weekly reading assignments.” Eventually, one of her classmates complained, noting she had other classes, each with assigned reading, and asked how she was expected to complete the reading for his course every week.

Campbell’s response: “I’m astonished you tried. You have the rest of your life to do the reading.”


Though many of these are classics, keep in mind the language and ideas in some of these works are dated and superseded by more contemporary research. Where Campbell favored a particular edition, it is listed here, along with a modern edition if applicable. Otherwise, a modern edition is shown. This list is also published in Mythic Dimension: Selected Essays 1959–1987, edited by Antony Van Couvering.

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