Pathways to Bliss

Campbell, Joseph   |  Kudler, David, editor

One of the basic functions of myth, contends Joseph Campbell, is to help each individual through the journey of life, providing a travel guide to reach fulfillment — a map to discover “bliss.” In Pathways to Bliss, Campbell once again draws on his masterly gift of storytelling to apply the larger themes of world mythology to personal growth and transformation.

Looking at the more personal, psychological side of myth, he begins to dwell on life’s more important questions —those that are often submerged beneath the frantic activity of our daily life. With characteristic wit and insight, he draws connections between ancient symbols and modern art, schizophrenia and the hero’s journey, revealing the way myth helps identify one’s heroic path.


This ninth volume of Campbell’s previously unpublished material deftly marries his sweeping grasp of myths with the needs of contemporary people looking for meaning and inspiration. Expert editor and seasoned Campbell authority David Kudler makes the mythic-stature-mythicist come alive again. Fans will recognize Campbell’s comforting cadence and intimacy, conveyed by use of the second person and by his masterful storytelling. Campbell realized he was essentially saying the same things over more than two decades. As such, this volume breaks no new ground, but does give explicit directions for identifying and connecting oneself to a meaningful mythic overview, unbounded by specific cultures or historical facts.

Campbell gives adequate coverage to the historical development of myth as it pertains to the individual, especially through the eyes of Jung. The final chapter, a distilled jewel of the hero’s journey mono-myth that Campbell made famous, is followed by “Dialogue,” several pages of conversation between Campbell and anonymous people, exploring the application of gender differences to the hero’s journey. Campbell assesses life now as pathless: “We are in a sort of free fall into the future.” He is, however, perennially hopeful that if we discover our own mythological underpinnings, carried on the wings of artists and poets, we can find our way to individual bliss. This is a fine volume for old friends and new followers. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This ninth volume of Campbell’s collected works focuses on the psychological and redemptive aspects of myth. Drawing from Campbell’s popular lectures, the text connects symbols of mythology to the quest for personal growth and transformation. Campbell examines Jungian psychology and the differences between Eastern and Western ideas about ego and between ancient symbols and modern art. The volume ends with a question-and-answer session in which Campbell addresses inquiries about mythological readings of the Bible and the significance for women of the trope of the hero’s journey.Book News, Inc.

…In Pathways To Bliss, Campbell examines how to use myths and to understand how to create your own myth for your personal journey. … The book is easy to follow, and with its positive message is a welcomed read. Campbell points out that along our journey to bliss what we learn is the “welling up of our energy of transcendent wisdom,” which is already within ourselves. Campbell says that learning and understanding that it is within that we can work out our own myths. Campbell is scholarly, yet able to touch us through his analogies and stories which reflect wit and wisdom. If you followed the television series with Bill Moyers or have read any of Campbell’s books, this book presents a new look at some of his ideas and a clearer picture of how to interpret myths for your own journey. This is an upbeat and revealing book!Bayswater Books

Pathways concludes with a section of questions and answerstaken from lectures Campbell gave over the years. These dialogues offer wonderful insight into the essential Joseph Campbell and complement the written chapters very nicely.Readers not familiar with Campbell will find Pathways to Bliss a fine introduction to his work and ideas. […] This is a guidebook for finding one’s own inner hero or heroine, and for finding the guts to lis-ten to one’s own story. Readers familiar with Campbell willenjoy this book because of its easy access to his thinking. Hesynthesizes very broad ideas into a guide for living a courageous life. Bloomsbury Review

Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation is a compelling and inspirational collection of Campbell’s writings. If you are not familiar with Campbell’s works you are in for a real treat, and if you are, you will find that this collection will help you to reconnect with an old friend. While this work is unified by theme, each lecture can be read independently or you can read the book straight through. But be prepared, this is a book that you are likely to go back and read again, and again, each time coming away from the reading with new insights into the nature of myth – and your own identity.Large Print Reviews

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