Hero with a Thousand Faces, The
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This seminal work has influenced millions of readers since it was originally published in 1949, bringing the insights of modern psychology together with Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell formulated the dual schemas of the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through all of humanity’s mythic traditions, and of the Cosmogonic Cycle, the stories of world-creation and -dissolution that have marked cultures around the world and across the centuries.
Translated into over twenty languages, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has sold well over a million copies and continues to find new audiences among professors and students in fields ranging from the history of religion and anthropology to literature and film studies; among creative artists including authors, filmmakers, game designers and song writers; and among all of those interested in the basic human impulse to tell stories.
Since its publication in 1949, Joseph Campbell’s seminal work on the archetypal heroes and myths shared by world religions and traditions has focused countless artists and academics on our cultural commonalities rather than our differences. Legend has it that George Lucas used Campbell’s book as a foundation for his Star Wars trilogy. Harry Potter also closely hews to the classic hero’s journey that Campbell drew from ancient allegories in dozens of cultures and codified into one rollicking human epic, a universal saga that he referred to as the monomyth and that, he argued, sits deep in our subconscious, woven into all our rituals, from marriage to burial. A prolific author and editor, he believed that people need these superhuman figures because they are “the symbols that carry the human spirit forward.” But in a wistful last chapter, he noted that modernity has devalued this collective consciousness in favor of self-expression and a fragmented culture tilted toward science and economics. In his view, we are enriched and supported when we embrace the “oneness of the individual and the group.” Today that bond is frayed. “The lines of communication between the conscious and unconscious zones of the human psyche have all been cut,” Campbell wrote, “and we have been split in two.” — Susanna Schrobsdorff, TIME Magazine
Originally written by Campbell in the ’40s — in his pre-Bill Moyers days — and famous as George Lucas’ inspiration for “Star Wars,” this book will likewise inspire any writer or reader in its well considered assertion that while all stories have already been told, this is *not* a bad thing, since the *retelling* is still necessary. And while our own life’s journey must always be ended alone, the travel is undertaken in the company not only of immediate loved ones and primal passion, but of the heroes and heroines — and myth-cycles — that have preceded us. —Amazon.com
Campbell’s survey of mythology continues to speak to us with a timeless eloquence and spiritual urgency that quicken the soul. — Gabor Mate, The Globe & Mail
Campbell’s words carry extraordinary weight, not only among scholars but among a wide range of other people who find his search down mythological pathways relevant to their lives today . . . The book for which he is most famous,The Hero with a Thousand Faces, [is] a brilliant examination, through ancient hero myths, of man’s eternal struggle for identity.
I have returned to no book more often since leaving college than this one, and every time I discover new insight into the human journey. Every generation will find in Hero wisdom for the ages. — Bill Moyers
In the three decades since I discovered The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it has continued to fascinate and inspire me. Joseph Campbell peers through centuries and shows us that we are all connected by a basic need to hear stories and understand ourselves. As a book, it is wonderful to read; as illumination into the human condition, it is a revelation. — George Lucas
The book itself really needs no introduction, as it is Campbell’s masterly study of the key themes of world mythology, in the light of twentieth century knowledge including psychology…. Exploring topics ranging from apotheosis to initiation to quest to vocation, this book belongs in the library of anyone interested in the role that myth plays in art, in human development, and its continued relevance to postmodern spiritual seekers.
This edition, published a year ahead of the book’s sixtieth anniversary, is a feast. Not only is it a reasonably priced hardcover edition, but it has new features including more illustrations than ever before, a comprehensive bibliography and new annotations sprinkled throughout the text. The cover design makes its own statement about the book’s universal message: a montage of photographs of very ordinary looking people from cultures throughout the world that blend to form a hero’s face (it looks like Christ to me, but that could be my own bias).
Donate your old paperback copy (you know, the one with Luke Skywalker on the front cover) to Goodwill, and get a copy of this splendid new edition. And carry on with your heroic quest. — Carl McColman
|Full Title||Hero with a Thousand Faces, The|
|Series||The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell|
|Publisher||New World Library|
|Pub City||Novato, California|