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The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

The Power of Myth (original 1988; edition 2009)

by Joseph Campbell

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5,28339836 (4.2)49
Title:The Power of Myth
Authors:Joseph Campbell
Info:MJF Books (2009), Hardcover
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Literary Criticism, Non-fiction

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The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (1988)


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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
This is a true classic! ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
I really like the interesting perspective on much of what Campbell had to say. My one irritation is that he sometimes came across with the attitude that his view was the only non-ludicrous option. It was much like anyone but Melville stating the definitive symbolism of the white whale. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
I really like the interesting perspective on much of what Campbell had to say. My one irritation is that he sometimes came across with the attitude that his view was the only non-ludicrous option. It was much like anyone but Melville stating the definitive symbolism of the white whale. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
"There's an old romantic idea [...] which says that the ideas and poetry of the traditional cultures come out of the folk. They do not. They come out of an elite experience, the experience of people particularly gifted, whose ears are open to the song of the universe." -Campbell, the Power of Myth

Because "the folk" can never have their ears open to the song of the universe? What kind of unjustified garbage is this? The delight of listening to an old white man make unsupported generalizations about "the elite" and "the folk" palls quickly. ( )
  being_b | Mar 16, 2015 |
The book is the written version of the DVD of the same name. There is material in the book that is not in the DVD, just as there is material on the DVD that is not in the book. As Moyers explains in the foreword, the two are meant to be companions of one another. The premise is that these encompass a series of discussions between Moyers and Campbell on how myths and mythology are conveyors of Life and its meaning within the lives of people, eve in today's society. Campbell points out that today's myths and mythology are brought along through the movie industry, where actors and actresses portray the myths on the screens people watch them on.

Throughout the book, Campbell comes back repeatedly to one theme: "follow your bliss" - which had a resonance for me throughout. When one follows their bliss, their dreams, their hopes and desires - one tends to achieve a center of happiness in what they do. They may not find monetary gain to achieve success in today's modern, consumer-centric world, but they find a center of happiness and contentment in what they are achieving through their bliss. In my own personal estimation, if people would follow their bliss - rather than being sucked into the perception that "happiness" is achieved through consumer consumption patterns - the world would be an environment of far less strife, sarcasm, and scorn.

At the very end of the book, Campbell makes the following point: "That's what people are doing all over the place - dying for metaphors. But when you really realize the sound, "AUM," the sound of the mystery of the word everywhere, then you don't have to go out and die for anything because its right there all around. Just sit still and see it and experience it and know it. That's a peak experience." (p. 286). I believe that this point sharpens the focus of following one's bliss, that the bliss is not only attainable, but one merely needs to turn off the distractions of our modern world for a short time, and open up to the natural world around ourselves to truly find it. And that moment of bliss, the moment of being attuned with the AUM, is well worth the experience - no matter how long it is held.

Lastly, I do believe that this book and its companion DVD should be required material for students in High School. Campbell continually points to literary works as footsteps towards the concepts he brings up in these conversations. Not only is he a signpost to these mythological and spiritual concepts, but he serves as a gateway towards literary classics that are worth the exploration of students in the high school environment. ( )
  TommyElf | Mar 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Theology and myth are stepsisters of truth. The one probes with questions, the other spins out tales on gossamer threads. But both serve a common mystery.

I was reminded of this recently in reading Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyer's conversation on The Power of Myth. This wonderful book is filled with pictures of Tibetan and Native American art, photographs of aboriginal initiation rites and drawings by William Blake. Adapted from a six-part television series filmed at George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch shortly before Campbell's death, the book moves from the tales of ancient Greece and India to the latest episodes of Rambo and Star Wars. Here the power of story still lives. As Campbell once said, "The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stands this afternoon on the corner of Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change."

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Campbellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moyers, Billmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Flowers, Betty SueEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cathy SaksaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grieco, Agnesesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grubin, Davidsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hille, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsson, Lars Göransecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lingiardi, Vittoriosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tatge, Catherinesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Judith, who has long heard the music
First words
MOYERS: Why myths?
This conversation between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell took place in 1985 and 1986 at George Lucas's SKywalker Ranch and later at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
INTRODUCTION (by Bill Moyers)
For weeks after Joseph Campbell died, I was reminded of him just about everywhere I turned.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The companion book for the series, The Power of Myth, (Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers, and editor Betty Sue Flowers) was released in 1988 at the same time the series aired on PBS. In the editor's note to The Power of Myth, Flowers credits Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, as "the Doubleday editor, whose interest in the ideas of Joseph Campbell was the prime mover in the publication of this book." The book follows the format of the documentary and provides additional discussions not included in the original six hour release. 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385418868, Paperback)

Among his many gifts, Joseph Campbell's most impressive was the unique ability to take a contemporary situation, such as the murder and funeral of President John F. Kennedy, and help us understand its impact in the context of ancient mythology. Herein lies the power of The Power of Myth, showing how humans are apt to create and live out the themes of mythology. Based on a six-part PBS television series hosted by Bill Moyers, this classic is especially compelling because of its engaging question-and-answer format, creating an easy, conversational approach to complicated and esoteric topics. For example, when discussing the mythology of heroes, Campbell and Moyers smoothly segue from the Sumerian sky goddess Inanna to Star Wars' mercenary-turned-hero, Han Solo. Most impressive is Campbell's encyclopedic knowledge of myths, demonstrated in his ability to recall the details and archetypes of almost any story, from any point and history, and translate it into a lesson for spiritual living in the here and now. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

From the Publisher: This extraordinary best-seller is a brilliant evocation of the noted scholar's teachings on mythology. Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers offer a brilliant combination of wisdom and wit in conversations that range from modern marriage to virgin births, from saviors to heroes in the Power of Myth-a great summing up of Campbell's works.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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