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The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph…

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)

by Joseph Campbell

Other authors: Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,11042670 (4.1)135
  1. 50
    Psychology and Religion by Carl Gustav Jung (Torikton)
  2. 21
    The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Interesting to contrast Campbell's 'hero monomyth' hypothesis with Booker's Freudian interpretation of how all literature, plays and films can be judged by how they match with his identification of universal plotlines.
  3. 01
    Myths to Live By by Joseph Campbell (Michael.Rimmer)
  4. 13
    Giles Goat-Boy by John Barth (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Before Lucas, Barth was one of the first writers to intentionally take the formula for what it was: A psychological pattern we're doomed to follow and that just...well, makes sense. Why? Who cares! More overly-intellectual dick-and-fart jokes, please!

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» See also 135 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Joseph Campbell's masterwork 'The Hero With a Thousand Faces' changed my understanding not only of literature and mythology, but also of story in general, both in media and in my own and other's lives. In this thread, it would be great to share something of our responses to the book, and also, perhaps, a bit of our own Hero's Journeys.

- David ( )
  dbookbinder | Dec 31, 2016 |
I have been hearing about Joseph Campbell, and this book in particular, for many years now. The first significant exposure I had to his ideas was via Jonah Sachs ["Winning the Story Wars"]. I listened to and enjoyed his interviews with Bill Moyers.

I was discussing this book with Bill Plotkin ["Nature and the Human Soul"], and the first thing that came up was the blatant racism and sexism in the book. Published in 1949, it's an archaic text in many ways.

Looking beyond that, I like his meta-arc of the Hero's Journey:

1. The Call to Adventure
2. Refusal of the Call
3. Supernatural Aid
4. The Crossing of the First Threshold
5. The Belly of the Whale

1. The Road of Trials
2. The Meeting with the Goddess
3. Woman as the Temptress
4. Atonement with the Father
5. Apotheosis
6. The Ultimate Boon

1. Refusal of the Return
2. The Magic Flight
3. Rescue from Without
4. The Crossing of the Return Threshold
5. Master of the Two Worlds
6. Freedom to Live

But I don't find the structure of the book helpful in elucidating this journey. Most of the book explores this arc via a myriad of myths from a variety of cultures. And yet they are so numerous, that I found myself getting lost in the haze. I would have much preferred this arc to be outlined in an introduction, and then cover stories in their entirety, looking at the entire map in action.

Certainly, the big ideas of the book are wonderful and important, but there are likely better ways to access such material these days. ( )
  willszal | Nov 13, 2016 |
I loved this! ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Lite för spretig för min smak. ( )
  BellaStormborn | Aug 1, 2016 |
There are several good reviews of The Hero with a Thousand Faces so I will be brief. Campbell takes us on the hero's journey or quest through all its stages with examples at each step of the way and his explanation of its meaning. The stories he tells are from every inhabited continent and help make his point that all mythologies tell much the same story. Many of these myths and folktales were new to me and I enjoyed encountering them. This is not really an easy book but one to make the reader think.
  hailelib | Apr 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Campbellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Estés, Clarissa PinkolaIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Braam, Aris J. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koehne, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my father and mother
First words
"The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised," writes Sigmund Freud, "that the mass of humanity cannot recognize them as truth. The case is similar to what happens when we tell a child that new-born babies are brought by the stork. Here, too, we are telling the truth in symbolic clothing, for we know what the large bird signifies. But the child does not know it. ... It is the purpose of the present book to uncover some of the truths disguised for us under the figures of religion and mythology by bringing together a multitude of not-too-difficult examples and letting the ancient meaning become apparent of itself. ... Joseph Campbell, 1948
Whether we listen with aloof amusement to the dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed witch doctor of the Congo, or read with cultivated rapture thin translations from the sonnets of the mystic Lao-tse; now and again crack the hard nutshell of an argument of Aquinas, or catch suddenly the shining meaning of a bizarre Eskimo fairy tale: it will be always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be known or told.
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Haiku summary
There's just one Story.
Cultures add their grace notes, but
There's just one Story.

There's just one Story:
Universal monomyth:
The human Story.


Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0691017840, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:16 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In this book, Joseph Campbell presents the composite hero. Apollo, the Frog King of the fairy tale, Wotan, the Buddha, and numerous other protagonists of folklore and religion, enact simultaneously the various phases of their common story. The psychological view is then compared with the words of such spiritual leaders as Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Lao-tse, and the 'Old Men' of Australian tribes. From behind a thousand faces the single hero emerges, archetype of all myth.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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