Joseph Campbell is an influential American writer of mythology and Comparative religion. He gained his worldwide fame with his books such as “The man with a thousand faces. ” Written in (1948), which explored the archetype of the typical hero, “The Masks of God. ” Written in (1959-1968) which was an examination of the complex mythological heritage as well as its implications for modern humanity. “Historical Atlas of world Mythology”(1989) his multi-volume novel which is in the early stages of human culture. His multiple theories were popular with the Public Broadcasting System series of television interviews with Bill Moyers.
The interview was also published as a book, that became Joseph Campbell’s bestseller. He was born in New York City, to Charles and Josephine Campbell. As a child his father, Charles took him to the Buffalo’s Bill’s Wild West Show, and to The Museum of Natural History. At the age of twelve, Joseph read American Indian Folklore. In the Pocono Mountains in 1917, he met Elmer Gregor a writer about American Indians. Elmer Gregor, could communicate with Indian sign language becoming Joseph Campbell’s mentor and “guru. ” Joseph Campbell found his interest in Mythology in College while working on his master’s degree.
He received his M. A. in English and comparative English in 1927. He returned to Europe to study in Arthurian romances as a postgraduate at the universities of Munich and Paris. He discovered the many themes of the Arthurian tales seemed similar to the American Indian folklore. This work inspired him to study the authors Thomas Mann and James Joyce. These writers he regarded as a guide for their own interpretation of mythical material. Joseph Campbell was also inspired by the Order#31469486 Joseph Campbell Pg. 2 works of Jung. Joseph Campbell returned to the United States only to retire for five
years at his home at Woodstock, New York, as well as Carmel, California. There he worked on putting together a guide of perceived myths such as the “The pictorial vocabulary of communication from the source zones of our energies to the rational consciouness. ” He began teaching, in 1934, at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. He remained teaching at Sarah Lawrence for thirty-eight years. Joseph Campbell married in 1938, to Jean Erdman, who was one of his early students. Joseph Campbell was a guest lecturer at the Foreign Service Institution, from 1956 to 1973.
He received the award of the National Arts Club of honor for literature. In 1987, he was elected to the Academy of Arts and letters. Joseph Campbell is mostly known for his book “The Power of Myth” which was first a popular PBS television program in 1985 and 1986. It was created at film directors George Lucas’ Ranch. His concept of the hero’s journey was the inspiration for George Lucas’ “Star Wars Trilogy. ” In October, 31, 1987, Campbell died at the age of eighty-three after a brief illness. He lived in Hawaii, Honolulu. Joseph Campbell began his inspirational writing career like
any other writer, as a literary critic. He co-wrote “The skeleton key to Finnegan’s Wake. ” (1944). The book is a study of James Joyce’s novel “Finnegan’s Wake. ” Campbell directed his attentions to the myths of all the religions examined in the terms of Jung concept of collective consciousness. His study popularized the important key discoveries and psychology of the Jungian teachings. Campbell argued that these worlds mythologies Order#31469486 Joseph Campbell Pg. 3 Ritual traditions, folk traditions, and the major religions all share symbolic themes, motifs and the patterns of behavior.
His many theories inspired many writers such as Penitti Saarikoski, the Finnish Poet who penned the Tiarnia series. The Hero with a thousand faces written in (1948), is Joseph Campbell’s most inspirational work. It is a study of his theories of the journey of the Archetypical hero found in religion and mythology. Since its publication in (1948), it has consciously inspired many writers and artists worldwide. The best known is the writer George Lucas, of Star Wars fame. George Lucas has acknowledged a great debt to Joseph Campbell for his worldwide fame. The insight of the novel is the myths worldwide have
survived for thousands of years, and all share a basic structure which is called monomyths. This basic structure includes stages such as: 1. A call to adventure- In which the hero is called to fight for a greater good which he can decline or accept. 2. A road of trials-, which determines if the hero succeeds, or fail in his adventure. 3. Achieving the goal- Resulting in the hero’s gaining self-knowledge during the adventure. 4. A return to the ordinary world- in which the hero will succeed or fail his journey. 5. The application of the boon- In which we find what the hero has gained to improve The world.
These are classic examples of the monomyth as told by Joseph Campbell and several scholars such as Buddha, Moses, and Christ. Campbell also examines the basic structure of several other classic myths from other cultures. The book is Joseph Campbell offering several discussions of the hero’s journey using Freudian Order#31469486 Joseph Campbell Pg. 4 ideas, which were popular in 1940s and 1950s. He realized that the monomyth is not tied to the Freudian concepts. Joseph Campbell utilizes a mix of Jungian myth archetypes, unconscious forces, and Arnold Van Gennep’s. Arnold Van Gennep structures of the Rites of Passage provide
some lucidity. However, the pattern of the hero’s journey inspires several writers, artists as well as intellectuals while suggesting a fundamental usefulness of Campbell’s examinations. It is often known as Joseph Campbell’s best work selling nearly million copies in various editions. In Myths to live by written in (1972) Joseph Campbell suggests that old myths should be replaced by new myths by drawing from the symbols in modern technology. It is a collection of essays by Joseph Campbell in 1958 to 1971. The basic theme is the power of the myth in the inner, spiritual lives of the human beings through
the ages. It goes through the process of myth through the primitive past to the immediate present and returns to the source of it all possible myth- the creative mind. He examines the borders dividing the Earth and explains that they are shattered. He believes that the myth as well as many religions follows basic structured archetypes and are no longer exclusive to one person, region or religion. Joseph Campbell explains in his book that people must recognize their own common denominators and allow the knowledge to fulfill their human potential. The Power of Myth (1988) first began as a PBS documentary
Series comprising of six one-hour conversations between Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. The interviews between these men were conducted at George Lucas’ Ranch Order#31469486 Joseph Campbell Pg. 5 in the last summer of Campbell life. Both men discussed their ideas about comparative mythology and the role of myth in growing society. Episode one entitled “The hero’s journey”discusses Campbell and his hero types and deeds, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Star Wars as a metaphor. The men also discussed the Iroquois story, the refusal of suitors, dragons, dreams, and the Jungian psychology concept, “The follow your bliss” concept,
and spirituality vs. economics. Episode 2 entitled “The message of the myth. ” The creation of myths, God vs. Nature, sin, morality, the Gospel of Thomas, Old time religion, computers, religion as “software,” the story of Indra, participation in society, transcending duality, and pairs of opposites. Episode 3 “The first storytellers” consists of animal memories, harmonizing with your body and life cycle, consciousness vs. its vehicle, the killing for food, crime increasing, and the Shaman as the center of the world. Episode 4 “Sacrifice and bliss” consists of the sacred Earth,
agricultural renewal, human sacrifice, the sacrifice of the masses, transcendence of death, social dictates vs. following bliss, guiding hands. Episode 5 “Love and Goddess” consist of Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers discussing the troubadours, Eros, romantic love, Tristan, libido vs. credo, separation of love, Satan, your loving enemy, the Crucifixion as an atonement, the Goddess, the myth of the Earth mother, the virgin birth, the Big Bang, and the story of Isis, Osiris, and Horus. Episode 6 “The masks of Eternity” Both men discuss and identify Order#31469486 Joseph Campbell Pg. 6
with the infinite, the circle as a symbol, clowns, masks, epiphanies, James Joyce, the sublime vs. the monstrous and the dance of Shiva. The companion book for The Power of myth series was also released in 1988. Joseph Campbell was the prime mover of the publication of the book as well as Jacqueline Kennedy. The book follows similar format of the PBS documentary providing further study and discussions. A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake written in (1944) Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson both worked on this literary criticism. It provides a great in depth analysis of James Joyce’s final novel Finnegan’s Wake. This book is
considered by most scholars as the source of importance in studying James Joyce’s work. Campbell’s term Monomyth describes the hero’s journey in Finnegan’s Wake. The key to Finnegan’s Wake is the first book about Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. The book begins with an introduction by Joseph Campbell followed next with a brief synopsis of Finnegan’s Wake. The book deconstructs Joyce’s novel page by page. It strips the text of its unknown concepts while supplying possible interpretations through footnotes and referenced commentary. This way Campbell and Robinson attempt to re-tell the Wake in order to understand the book better.
The technique is helpful, however renders Joyce’s scintillating writing as flat and dry. Several of Joyce’s meanings are sourly overlooked by Campbell and Robinson and have overturned by intensive study. Both men study the text in a mythopoetic angle in a refreshing way stating insights that has never been bested by anyone else. The book was published five years before he wrote his best-known book Order#31469486 Joseph Campbell Pg. 7 “Hero with a thousand faces. ” Joseph Campbell has had his share of controversy in his life with people accusing him of anti-Semitism. His blunt criticism of certain various organized
religions were the cause to which Joseph Campbell replied was his job as a mythologist. Scholars disagreed with the accusations of anti-Semitism believing the accusations to be unsupported by any evidence. Stephen Larsen and Robin Larsen fought the accusations by stating that Joseph Campbell would not be a part of any organization that would support racial or social supremacy. Joseph Campbell’s influence in Cinema, are well known. He has influenced many filmmakers, writers, and artists in all genre’s such as Science fiction westerns, and literature. They each use the mythology of the hero’s journey telling us
about the values we must face in our life. -Works Cited- The Hero with a thousands faces: Commemorative Edition by Joseph Campbell Bollingen; Cmv edition (February 17, 2004) The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers; Anchor; reissue edition 1988. www. kirjasto. sci. fi/campb. htm; Joseph Campbell- Books and Writers (1904-1987) www. biblo. com/authors/629/Joseph_Campbell_biography. html- Book search and marketplace, Joseph Campbell biography and list of works. www. themodernworld. com/Joyce/joyce_crit_3. html- James Joyce-Finnegan’s Wake. Joyce Criticism-The modern world.
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