- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: New World Library; 1 edition (Oct. 28 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1577315944
- ISBN-13: 978-1577315940
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.8 x 22.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 454 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #791,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Mythic Dimension: Selected Essays 1959-1987 Hardcover – Oct 28 2007
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0;No one in our century 2; not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Levi-Strauss 2; has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.1; 2; James Hillman
0;Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture.1; 2; Newsweek
0;In our generation the mythographer who has had the fullest command of the huge scholarly literature, the analytic ability, the lucid prose, and the needed staying power has been Joseph Campbell.1; 2; Commentary
"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." -- James Hillman
"Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture." -- Newsweek"In our generation the mythographer who has had the fullest command of the huge scholarly literature, the analytic ability, the lucid prose, and the needed staying power has been Joseph Campbell." -- Commentary
About the Author
Joseph Campbell is widely credited with bringing mythology to a mass audience. His works, includingThe Hero with a Thousand Faces, the four-volumeThe Masks of God, andThe Power of Myth (with Bill Moyers), rank among the classics in mythology and literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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When a copy of The Mythic Dimension arrived at my door for me to review, I was thrilled. This book reprints a variety of Campbell's essays and articles, originally published between 1959 and 1987. Amongst these pieces are solid foundational presentations that provide a really good overview of the study of mythology and the associated symbolism. I can see this book becoming a very popular text for university classes.
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For instance, in the essay, “Comparative Mythology as an Introduction to Cross-Cultural Studies,” Campbell offers a brilliant comparison between the Western and Eastern perspectives of the Ultimate Mystery of Being that can help to understand the basis of Levantine religious fanaticism as well as Western perceptions of separateness and xenophobia.
In “Renewal Myths and Rites,” he draws very clear and precise parallels between Neanderthal ritual treatment of cave bear remains found in Germany with the more contemporary Ainu bear ceremony rituals, that makes a compelling argument for the roots of shamanistic spirituality being even more ancient than modern humans.
While Campbell’s earliest writings are laced with subtle misogyny that reveals how much he was a product of his own time and culture, this book also shows how his willingness to surrender to his curiosity evolved his ideas and perspectives over time. “The Mystery Number of the Goddess,” is one clear example of this that concludes with idea that humans’ final evolutionary leap “is leaving God for God.” That is, making the shift from the religiously prescribed and limiting idea of the Divine, to One which lies beyond the grasp of our understanding. After exploring a long trail of sacred mathematical descriptions of the ultimate nature of the universe, Campbell declares in the last few lines of the essay, that “the God beyond God” is actually “God’s Mother” – the Great Goddess of Life, Death and Regeneration as described by Marija Gimbutas.
If, like me, you seek to better understand the way our patriarchal culture ticks, and how we may escape the dangerous and life-destroying snares it has created, then I encourage you to add Campbell’s work to your reading list.
Evelyn C. Rysdyk
This was the last book that the Joseph Campbell Foundation published with Harper Collins. It didn't make a dime, and neither did the ones before it, "Baksheesh and Brahman" and "Mythic Worlds, Modern Words," which is why Harper Collins dropped the "Collected Works of Joseph Campbell" project. Consumerism is the driving force of the publishing industry nowadays, and that is too bad because it is wrecking the industry. Intellectual books are no longer being published (since, it is thought, they don't make money) and so the needs of the marketplace now dictates what the world of the mind will be like for the rest of us. As Zygmunt Bauman has written in his wonderful book "Can Ethics Survive in a Consumer Society?" the answer is no, they can't, because money dictates everything. It is a wonder that the Joseph Campbell Foundation was actually able to find another publisher, New World Library, to salvage this "Collected Works" project, since Americans generally do not value their own writers enough to regularly produce "Collected Works" of them. In Europe, this is done all the time. Check out how many Gesammelte Werkes exist in German and you will see what I mean.
In short, this book, "Myths to Live By," and "The Flight of the Wild Gander" represent the three best introductory overviews of Campbell's intellectual ideas that are now available. This book has been largely neglected, but hopefully New World Library's reprinting of it will help redress that problem.
See also my You Tube lecture on Campbell.
--John David Ebert, author of "The New Media Invasion" and "Dead Celebrities, Living Icons."