Summary

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 Campbell's revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In this book, 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.
As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artists - including authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakers - and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.
©2008 Third edition (with revisions) © 2008 by the Joseph Campbell Foundation (jcf.org). (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Second edition (with revisions) © 1968 by Princeton University Press. Original edition © 1949 by Bollingen Foundation and published by Pantheon Books.
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Critic reviews

"Arthur Morey, John Lee, and Susan Denaker are an adept and experienced performance team. The way they trade voices adds texture to the complex compendium of stories." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Nik Jewell on 01-10-17

A triumph of over generalisation and reductionism

I've got half way through this and am returning it. I am obviously aware that this work is treated with great reverence (it was allegedly an inspiration for Star Wars after all!).

I'm afraid that I just find it a triumph of over generalisation and reductionism. Campbell knits together the worlds mythologies and the stories therein are interesting and pleasant to listen to; it is the connecting material that is sadly lacking.

For Campbell, it seems, mythology and religion are to be conflated. The difference is that the former is directed at a local audience whereas the latter is a mythology for everyone.

After making this dodgy reductionist move the field is open for Campbell to further reduce and over generalise everything he can find to fit into a single monomyth about the hero.

The superficial similarities of many stories worldwide is further to be analysed in terms of rights of passage, Freudian and Jungian themes. This type of psychoanalytic analysis (something that I am not amenable to) dates the book.

What really had me choking on my cornflakes however was the chapter on Buddhism. Not withstanding some questionable translations, Campbell grossly mischaracterises it, trots out the Heart Sutra as if he has the first clue what it means (I think we can safely conclude that he has not himself transcended subject-object duality), and then proceeds to conflate every duality he can lay his hands on. It's utterly meaningless garbage.

Enough was enough for me at this point. It is great that Audible allows you to return books.

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8 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By R-the Relentless on 25-08-17

Brilliant! super informative and expertly narrated

loved it- wonderful narration and beautiful context and content. very educational, entertaining and intellectually comprehensive.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Learner on 09-02-16

Meaningful and thought-provoking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is of course a classic, valued by artists, novelists and humanities-lovers for decades. Interesting note: George Lucas and Star Wars were heavily influences by this book.

Outside of religious scripture, this is one of the most meaningful and thought-provoking books I've read. Drawing on archetypes - deep universal constructs in our human psyche - Campbell explains how we are all on (or could be on) a meaningful heroic journey.

This book was written when the ideas of Freud and Jung were all the rage. Freud has not aged too well. But Jung had a lot of intuition about the human soul that still resonates.

Campbell includes many fascinating accounts of dreams and world myths. "Myth" in this sense means a story with meaningful symbols that convey universal insights, as well as teaching the values of the culture in which the myth originated. Jung and Freud believed that dreams and myths contain subconscious truths.

I've owned the hard copy for years but found it difficult reading. I don't think Campbell was a great writer. But his ideas are mind-blowing. In audio-book form I have finally been able to enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

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74 of 76 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-05-17

The Connections between the Myths

This is a book I have been meaning to read for years. Literally. And now I have finally learned what all the fuss is about. Campbell takes the reader/listener on an intellectual journey showing the common themes, characters, and events (plot developments?) to the myths of the world. This is an awesome feat and in no way should be seen as denigrating the beauty and power of the world's mythologies and religious traditions. Campbell was an intellectual of the first order and he makes his enthusiasm for the subject a contagious thing. Now I see why this book had such a profound impact on George Lucas and how he drew so heavily on it in constructing his Star Wars mythos (and since I am writing this on Star Wars day--May the Fourth be with you all!). Loved this book and will look for more titles by Campbell and other writers about the ideas in this classic.

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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