Myths – that is to say, religious recitations – [are] conceived as symbolic of the play of eternity in time. These are rehearsed not for diversion, but for the spiritual welfare of the individual or community.
The Flight of the Wild Gander: Selected Essays 1944 - 1968
Explore the origins and impact of myth
What is the “meaning” of a tree? of a butterfly? of the birth of a child? or of the universe? What is the “meaning” of the song of a rushing stream? Such wonders simply are. They are antecedent to meaning, though “meaning” may be read into them. — Joseph CampbellIn these essays – contemporary with his years at Sarah Lawrence and with his legendary Cooper Union lectures – Campbell explores the origins of myth, from the Grimms’ fairy tales to Native American legends. He explains how the symbolic content of myth is linked to universal human experience and how the myths and experiences change over time. Included is the famed essay “Mythogenesis,” which traces the rise and decline of a Native American legend.
Reviews: In this book, as in his other work, Campbell displays his immense learning, drawing evidence to support his case from virtually every branch of human knowledge. — The New York Times Book Review Campbell has become one of the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who had been embraced by the popular culture. — Newsweek