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The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)

by Joseph Campbell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9,40176826 (4.08)160
Since its release in 1949, The Hero With a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbells' revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero's Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world's mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.… (more)
  1. 22
    The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories 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.
  2. 01
    Myths to Live By by Joseph Campbell (Michael.Rimmer)
  3. 13
    Giles Goat-Boy by John Barth (tootstorm)
    tootstorm: 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 160 mentions

English (69)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Had to look up words like henotheistic and cathectic. Didn’t learn anything useful until page 384: “No tribal rite has yet been recorded which attempts to keep winter from descending; on the contrary: the rites all prepare the community to endure, together with the rest of nature, the season of the terrible cold.” Etc. And on the next page: “…anyone in exile from the community is a nothing. From the other point of view, however, this exile is the first step of the quest.” Which made me think of my trans friends.
Robert Graves was easier to read, if less plausible.
  marfita | Feb 26, 2024 |
Along with Kafka, Joyce, Asimov, and Gibson, Campbell has earned himself a spot as one of the authors that have had the greatest impact on my psyche and the way I see the world. Easily one of my favourite books ever. Campbell's prose is poetic, yet succinct. He puts his points across in a beautiful way through myths and legends from all over the globe. I found that every chapter lead me down a road of epiphany and wonder, and I know for certain I'll be coming back to this book throughout my life. ( )
  Blackzowen | Oct 2, 2023 |
I doubt I read it all the way through, but between the Bill Moyer show and reading enough of the book to make notes, and encountering Campbell elsewhere, I have a pretty good grasp of the concept if not all of the examples. I will revisit Campbell in general to see if he still resonates 20 years later. ( )
  Kim.Sasso | Aug 27, 2023 |
This is a must-read for anyone telling stories. ( )
  beckyrenner | Aug 3, 2023 |
Anthropology and religious studies tend to be pretty dense subjects for the layperson, so Campbell provides a great service in elucidating in clear terms a central aspect of cultural evolution - and how the heroic quest myths are entwined in religious belief. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Campbellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blum, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braam, Aris J. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cvetković Sever, VladimirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Estés, Clarissa PinkolaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koehne, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Virrankoski, HannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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PREFACE
"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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Since its release in 1949, The Hero With a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbells' revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero's Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world's mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

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Book description
Haiku summary
There's just one Story.
Cultures add their grace notes, but
There's just one Story.

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

(Carnophile)

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