Campbell, Joseph

Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) – American scholar best known for his work on world mythology, as well as a popular public speaker and storyteller. In the first of a prolific number of books on mythology, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), Campbell suggests that a universal pattern termed “monomyth” (borrowed from James Joyce) is the essence of, and common to, heroic tales across cultures. His other influential works include The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (1959) and the multivolume, unfinished World Mythology (1983–87). The posthumous six-hour PBS broadcast of Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers brought Campbell’s ideas to a broad audience in 1988. James Hillman remarked, “No one in our century—not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Levi Strauss—has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.” Carl Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious deeply influenced Campbell, and his notion of the “hero’s journey” easily transfers onto shamanistic journeying, however generalist such a link might be, neglecting as it does cultural specificity, diversity, and nuance. Campbell taught in the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and lectured regularly at the Esalen Institute.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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