Audio Lecture Series III
Lectures from the latter part of Campbell’s career, starting in the early 80s.
Series III consists of six volumes (only the first is released), each with between five and ten audio lectures (at about 60 minutes each).
Volume 1: The Mythic Novels of James Joyce
Volume 2: Arthurian Romance, Marriage, & Christianity
Volume 1: The Mythic Novels of James Joyce
Recorded over 3 days in November of 1983, these lectures (Series III.1)…
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This talk, the first in Volume 1, “The Mythic Novels of James Joyce” is entitled “On Wings of Art.” It was recorded at the Esalen Institute on November 25, 1983.
Only Campbell could make Joyce seem so accessible, and he was eminently qualified to do so since he spent a good portion of his life studying Joyce. From Campbell’s early association with Henry Morton Robinson, Joe could interpret the works of James Joyce in terms of myth and art. His literary and mythological passion for Joyce is informative and infectious! Campbell reading from Joyce with his New York accent is worth hearing in and of itself. A delightful introduction to James Joyce.
“That’s all there is to it. The rhythm includes shapes, colors, the spaces between. And in writing if all you’re interested in is communicating information the problem is simply to write literate intelligible sentences that are not too long to be understood and paragraphs that are... shaped so that they’re consistent in themselves and the next paragraph, you know, when to start it so that the argument is carried on. But if you want to write and have a radiance come through, this rhythm of your prose is very very important, the words that you choose, the clang of the vowels and all, all of these things matter.”
“You’ll notice what’s going on here. All the details out there are experienced by the boy in terms of his own psychological association system. And this is the way Joyce is building this whole, this whole big thing. It’s always the inward reflections that accompany the action that he’s putting his stress on. And you’ll see how these develop. As the boy goes on and the education of the Catholic school system gets into him he’s incorporating the imagery of the Christian mythology in his associations. And it’s through this that he gradually affects that transition from Ireland to the continent, the flight of Daedalus from the local to the general.”
Campbell interprets Joyce’s Portrait, linking both Christian and Irish legends. In his own life he proclaimed to Bill Moyers, “...I took my instruction from reading Thomas Mann and James Joyce, both of whom applied mythological themes to the interpretation of the problems, questions and concerns of young men growing up in the modern world.” True words for the 20th and now the 21st Century. Learn of Daedalus’ life and the themes that emerge reliant to an archetypal critique. The labyrinth motif can be confusing, but if you learn the secret, you can pay a visit!
This talk was recorded at the Esalen Institute on November 25, 1983.
This talk, the third in Volume 1,“The Mythic Novels of James Joyce” is entitled “Ulysses, pt. 1.” It was recorded at the Esalen Institute on November 26, 1983.
Molly Bloom is equated with Penelope and appears to Leopold as he prepares her breakfast. Joseph Campbell helps to interpret the psychological crisis as Joyce weaves the intricate story of Leopold and Molly. There’s a funeral, and Bloom, like most Irishmen, was a seasoned drunk which makes for a very amusing funeral indeed. Reading from the book Ulysses and interpreting the intricately weaved story, Joe offers a compelling explanation of Joyce’s story.
“One might speak also however of the woman as muse, you know the inspirer of the spirit, and, all that—that really is another aspect isn't it, if she is purely that, and is not in the role of temptress or wife or daughter or mother, that would be just woman as temp—that would be Beatrice. But the essence of the psychological transformation is of seeing the radiance rather than the carnal aspect. Joyce uses the word epiphany, [which] was the appearance of the little Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, to the coming of the three magi, this is the epiphany, the revelation to delay community or to mankind of the incarnate Christ. And when one sees the radiance through all things, all things are the incarnate Christ. This is perfectly good Buddhism, all things are Buddha things, the only difference between any of them—or any of us and the Buddha is we do not know it, and we do not act out of our Buddha consciousness. So, the Beatrice is the revelation to Dante of the light you might say of the spirit, and he follows that lead right up to the throne of God.
This talk, the fourth in Volume 1,“The Mythic Novels of James Joyce” is entitled “Ulysses, pt. 2.” It was recorded at the Esalen Institute on November 26, 1983.
Joseph Campbell continues the reading of Ulysses and offers explanations of the many dimensions and symbolic layers of the text. Equipped with the necessary background and knowledge, he makes sense of this incredible masterpiece. This is a great journey through Dublin on June 16, 1904. The enlightening comments on Joyce’s rhetoric help explain, among other things, the comic genius of his work. Mythology can be fun when guided by the wit and wisdom of Joseph Campbell.
“Campbell: And so forth and so on.... Well, what happens is, Bloom walks in. And during the course of the occasion, the news comes to these people that the horse that won the race was, Throwaway. Bloom meanwhile has said that he has to leave to see Martin Cunningham about something. So he goes out. When he comes back they think what happened was he went out to pick up his money, 20 to 1. Nothing of the kind, he went out to talk to Martin Cunningham about the insurance for Mrs. Digham. But while he was out, Martin Cunningham came in, Martin Cunningham wasn’t where he went, so he’s come back and now everybody thinks he has collected 20 to 1 for his bet on the horse and standing treats to the house. So the big Irishman begins to taunt him for not giving a treat, and accuses him of being a Jew. And Bloom says, ”Well, yes I am a Jew and your God is a Jew.” Your God, well, that is too much for the guy and he just starts roaring after Bloom and Bloom knows well enough to run for it. The guy picks up a tin and throws it after Bloom down the street. And I just want to read the situation with Bloom’s departure.”
The name “Finn” goes back to an old Irish hero, “Fionn mac Cumhaill " [Finn MacCool], who was the guardian of Dublin Bay for many, many years. And he was a great giant and he had a whole army of giants called “The Fianna.” So Finn is back again. — Joseph Campbell
Volume 2: Arthurian Romance, Marriage, & Christianity
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The one who leads the life that is not the authentic life that is his creates the wasteland. And, insofar as we live such lives, we are of the wasteland. But the wasteland can be broken into flower by the integrity of your life. And there’s no moment when you can’t find what that integrity is and begin to live it out. And the new man has been born. — Joseph Campbell
In this fascinating talk, Joseph Campbell looks at parallels between the Gospels and the stories of the life of the Buddha. He then begins to look at the parallels and differences between those two great traditions and the underlying myths of the western tradition, from the tales of Arthur and his knights to the modernist novels of Mann and Joyce.
The whole fairy lore that comes in then with the Arthurian romances from Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and Scotland is Goddess infected: the fairy princess, the fairy godmother, Morgan le Fay, and those wonderful nine mysterious women who spirited Arthur away to Avalon, the land of the golden apples and so forth. All of this comes out of the earlier lore. — Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell delves deeply into the fascinating topic of the Celtic roots of the Arthurian Romances, and how that tradition combined and conflicted with Near Eastern Christianity to create a new culture. He looks at the tension between feminine and masculine images of the divine that plays out in the tales of the Round Table.
There is a dualistic idea here. And the drift of Near Eastern religions is to press out, to get rid of the darkness and become absolutely pure. That’s not the way it is in Europe. The European way is of these two — light and darknesses — [as] aspects of the one life, the one thing. And they must both be in play. And you consume death so that you may live. — Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell continues his overview of the Arthurian romances, looking at two symbols at the hearts of many of these classic stories: the Waste Land and the Grail. He touches on the stories of Tristan & Iseult and Parzival, but also explores the mythic imagery of both the Western European tradition and the Abrahamic traditions, as well as the New World tradition of the Sioux shaman Black Elk and the universal image of the labyrinth.
The field of ritual is the field of the arts. It is in the field of the arts that one has the possibility of participating in mythic, visionary images, and absorbing them. — Joseph Campbell
In this talk, recorded in 1976 at the Theatre for the Open Eye, Joseph Campbell gives a fascinating, lively overview of the history of the development of the Arthurian Romances of the High Middle Ages. From the Arthur legend's Roman roots, through Gawain and the Green Knight and the stories of the search for the Holy Grail, to Mallory's great compendium Le Morte d'Arthur, Campbell leads us through the birth and evolution of one of Europe's greatest literary and mythic traditions.
This lecture is cataloged in the Joseph Campbell Archive as L0615.
The problem of love is to yield to the relationship. You're not yielding to the other, you're yielding to the two of you together! And so you're in it yourself. You are sacrificing to yourself. And I say, love is not a long love affair at all: it is an ordeal. It's an ordeal in which that ego which is bound to come forth with its impulses should be bridled. What's being bridled is not nature, but the ego, in terms of this recognition of the transcendent metaphysical one. — Joseph Campbell
How did marriage go from being a political and economic affair in the ancient world to becoming the pinnacle of two individuals' quest for love? In this talk from 1985, Joseph Campbell looks at the great love stories of Middle Ages — Tristan and Iseult, Parzival, and more — and shows how a new spirit, one dedicated to following amor rather than the dictates of society — flowered in Western Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Touching on the poetry of the troubadours and of the poets who gave birth to the Arthurian Romances, he shows us how society came to place "the gentle heart" above the pursuit of duty, and how the "ordeal" of love can help us each discover ourselves.
This talk is cataloged in the Joseph Campbell Archive as L0863.