Myths to Live by (Paperback)

Joseph Campbell

What power do the universal myths hold on our inner, spiritual lives?

Joseph Campbell was the world's greatest authority on myth, his monumental four-volume The Masks of God is a definitive work on the subject, and in Myths to Live By he explores how these enduring myths still influence our daily lives and can provide personal meaning in our lives.

Myths are a way of explaining the cosmos, the origin of life and Man's relationship with their environment; they play a cohesive role in society. Joseph Campbell analyses myth in psychoanalytic terms to reveal their essential qualities and to demonstrate how they continue to reflect human needs, providing reassurance even in today's world.

Ranging from Zen koans and Indian aesthetics to walking on the moon, Joseph Campbell explores how myth and religion follow the same archetypes, which are not exclusive to any single race, religion or region. Campbell believed that all religion is a search for the same transcendent and fundamental spiritual truths. He shows how we must recognise the common denominators between differing myths and faiths and allow this knowledge to fulfil human potential everywhere.

Publication date:


ISBN: 9780285647312

Imprint: Souvenir Press

Subject: Humour & Gift, Reference

Reviews for Myths to Live by

'An impressive familiarity with myths from many parts of the world... pointing to unexpected links across cultures.'

Love & Language .

'Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals... a serious thinker who has been embraced by popular culture.'

Newsweek .

'No other academic has had such a far-reaching effect on mass culture.'

The Independent .

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell was interested in mythology since his childhood in New York, when he read books about Native Americans, frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History, and was fascinated by the museum's collection of totem poles. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Columbia in 1925 and 1927 and went on to study medieval French and Sanskrit at the universities of Paris and Munich. After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 1940s and '50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. The many books by Professor Campbell include The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Myths to Live By, The Flight of the Wild Gander, and The Mythic Image. He edited The Portable Arabian Nights, The Portable Jung, and other works. He died in 1987.

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