The Power of Myth

( 54 )

Overview

Finally available in a popularly priced,  non-illustrated, smaller-format edition, which is ideal  for the college market and general reader alike,  this extraordinary best-seller is a brilliant  evocation of the noted scholar's teachings on mythology.

Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers offer a brilliant combination of wisdom and wit in conversations that range from modern marriage to virgin births, from saviors to heroes in the ...

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Overview

Finally available in a popularly priced,  non-illustrated, smaller-format edition, which is ideal  for the college market and general reader alike,  this extraordinary best-seller is a brilliant  evocation of the noted scholar's teachings on mythology.

Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers offer a brilliant combination of wisdom and wit in conversations that range from modern marriage to virgin births, from saviors to heroes in the Power of Myth--a great summing up of Campbell's works.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The symbols of mythology and legend are all around  us, embedded in the fabric of our daily lives, and  the Moyers-Campbell dialogues are a welcom guide  to recognizing and understanding their meanings."  -- Cincinnati Post.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385418867
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 60,586
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author


JOSEPH CAMPBELL (1904-1987) was a prolific writer, dedicated editor, beloved teacher, inspiring lecturer, gifted storyteller, avid scholar, and a foremost interpreter of myth. Among the many books he wrote and edited, he is best known for The Hero with a Thousand Faces, his four-volume The Masks of God, and his magnum opus, Historical Atlas of World Mythology.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 54 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    Filled to The Brim with Meaningful Information

    It is captivating and understandable; anyone can explore and understand the concepts and themes. The Power of Myth encompasses so many themes relating to mythology. The book is brimming with in depth information, from reoccurring symbols like the serpent, the hero's journey that crops up in almost every story ever told, to the driving force of mythology and religion. This book is a complete guide to myths and their importance.
    I really enjoyed the way Dr. Campbell intertwined the myths and religious stories from across the world and applied them to the way we live life. The reader also glimpses more details different religions, as Dr. Campbell occasionally tells stories from many different cultures and religions through the world and highlights similarities of these religions. To me this made the themes a lot richer and significant. Dr. Campbell also made them relevant; Star Wars even made its way into the conversation as an example of how the themes in myths aren't mythical.
    This book is definitely interesting, but it's not a page turner. I found that I couldn't sit and read it for any long periods of time. This book is not for you if you lack patience or if you looking for a fast and effortless read. However, it is a worthwhile read and if you interested in the way myths are shaped and how they shape our life, or even just religion, definitely read this book, check out the DVD series, or one of Dr. Campbell's other works such as The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The Power of Myth was an incredibly meaningful and enlightening book and I strongly recommend it.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2010

    An Influential Read

    Ever wondered why a serpent is a common theme in mythological literature, as well as religious tales? Or perhaps the real question is why characters in fiction seem to go through the same steps before the end of the story? In Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, all questions about symbolism in mythology are addressed and answered, including how mythology aids daily life today.
    Many different aspects of myth are explored throughout the pages. Campbell goes into detail with where mythology is placed in today's society, the stories of different beliefs, the history of the hero's journey with fictional literature, as well as how people use myths in their everyday lives. Not a single topic under the general category of the influences myth has is missed.
    This book was well-liked for various reasons. The interview format doesn't skip a single word, so the information presented is very detailed and in-depth. This work is helpful if the reader would like to learn more about the symbolism behind stories involved with religions and literature, and it helps the reader to understand and appreciate the meaning and importance of those myths. The relationships between mythology and life today are recognized, as well as how important those connections are. Campbell also explains how the myths of different cultures and religions relate to each other, so to understand that everyone learns very similar stories about rites of passage and growing up, no matter what beliefs they grew up around. This connection is meaningful to those who want to understand more about religions and how they intertwine with one another. Myth is also shown to be extremely helpful in modern lives today, to help us live through obstacles. Mythology is displayed as a useful guide in life throughout many different cultures.
    However, the book also had its downfalls. This would not be the best choice for a reader who would rather keep the symbols and structures of myth a mystery to them so they can infer that information for themselves. Also, if the reader would rather read a story or something with a plot, this is not the book for them. This book merely explains those plots of other myths, which is no simple feat either. This book was written to inform rather than for pleasure reading, but it is an excellent book to have on the shelf for reference.
    Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth was a powerful read and will most likely be read again. I'd give this non-fiction novel four stars out of five, and five stars for how meaningful and educational it was.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    ESSENTIAL for writers of fiction!

    I really love this book, and am glad they kept it in interview format so as not to miss a single, well-placed word! Joseph Campbell really got it right, and Bill Moyers asks all the imperative questions. A perfect guide to proper mythology, both modern and ancient; essential for creators of fiction, and students of life! Thought-provoking and compelling.. Timeless and pertinent... Thrilling and intense... A truly great read, and very educational. EVERYONE should read this book! (Or watch the DVD!)

    Regarding my recommendations:
    I understand that they may have seemingly little relation to PoM, but, they're all essential to me in regards to understanding the universe, and how we fit into it. Enjoy!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2004

    If you have the courage to read this> You will find many keys to different doors to endless possiblities..

    This book is amazing.I have seen the dvd with the conversation with Bill Moyers.And i cannot tell you how much i have learnt about myself and about the world we live in.This is a must read for anyone willing to take that huge leap to discover oneself.It is often the road that few dare to take..discovering our true self and loving what is..Many things will be revealed to you about your own destiny and part that you play in this world. You will have a greater appreciation for all things great and small.We are all from the same tree> you and i are one>When you hurt me you hurt yourself.This all makes sense. I have found myself..and i am loving every moment that i am alive.Oh, what a gift to behold!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2004

    Thought Provoking and Inspiring

    I have read The Power of Myth over and over after seeing the PBS special with Bill Moyer. Joseph Campbell's teachings through all of his books has open my mind to a greater understand of mythology rituals and how they are lost. I now understand James Joyce and Homer. A must read for any person seeking a greater understand of self and the universe. My literature experience has never been the same.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Got Well Into an Influential/ Inspirational Read The Power of My

    Got Well Into an Influential/ Inspirational Read
    The Power of Myth showed the values and symbols how myths from different religions and cultures represent and relate to reality. A hero’s journey end is not important or his identity with figures or powers, rather the wisdom and the power to serve others.The trials of a hero itself are designed to test the hero’s courage, knowledge, and importantly a heroic transformation of consciousness. A hero’s adventure is written by someone who may have experienced similar elements; he must overcome powers of the darkness similar to an individual should persevere hardships of his or her daily lives and not change. Otherwise, Campbell said an individual’s journey is also following one’s bliss. Furthermore, Campbell clarified a myth’s plot shouldn’t be taken literally but metaphorically. According to Campbell’s interpretation, heaven is a place of consciousness instead of a literal place and reincarnation is a realization of an individual's capability and development in his or her life. Philosophically, myths are based on personal experiences: experiences on love, suffering spiritually, and oneself which all are the feelings of rapture being alive.
    I enjoyed this read because of Campbell’s complex outlook on myths.The book dragged on a few bits and pieces here and there but purposely to emphasize key themes and their significance in society’s presence. The interviewer was Bill Moyers and he didn't ask stupid questions but made insightful remarks and questions. At many points I was indulged in reading more and related to the book. Campbell’s theories and interpretations intrigued me and made me think. The only mythology I recognized before was Greek mythology because I was so oblivious. I didn’t realize myths were always around me but that may because I’m not that bright, but now I sort of geek out. I was inspired most by Campbell’s motif, experiences of in one’s life, telling me the happiness of love and the torture, or sadness from sufferings give me the feeling of being alive. Nonetheless, Campbell inspired me to follow my bliss to reach the happiness that is my adventure. The book does not have a plot so it was hard for me. Anyone looking in for a long, specific, detailed reading on philosophy of being alive or for analyzation of myths should read this book. The reader will learn about similarities and differences between myths and reality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2009

    Expand your Knowledge of Myths and how they affect everyday life

    This book is written in interview style.The questions are good and the answers are fantastic. We can all learn a lot from Myths... great book if you want to expand your knowledge.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2000

    Reading on a desert island

    If i could choose only a dozen books to be stranded on a desert island with, this would be one of them. the most intelligent, concise, comprehensive and enjoyable (colorfully pictured) treatise on belief systems on the planet!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell was an amazing read, even i

    The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell was an amazing read, even if it was not necessarily what I was expecting. The title led me to believe that the book was about specific myths’ and their effects on modern stories/sayings but I was joyfully surprised when I discovered that it was a more advanced base idea than my previous opinion. I enjoyed the fact that the novel was left in the original interview layout as it allowed a better understanding of the ideas when they were in response to questions. As for Campbell’s insights about mythic stories’ effects on modern society, I simply have to say that they were nothing less than enlightening. He took the average perception of societal themes and translated them through a prolonged timeline in order to deliver their morphed forms present in current societal standards. The transcendent idea that seeks comprehension is one of his ideas that is most easily traced throughout history. His thoughts on the human fascination with a transcendent ideal to strive for hits home with me as I can observe it in effect during everyday life in modern times. The review style could become a little dull at times but I think that it was a good choice of style as it produced a more descriptive novel than if the ideas were summed. I would strongly recommend this book as the ideas expressed inside can be very enlightening and change perception of everyday actions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Not quite what I was expecting, Joseph Campbell¿s ¿The Power of

    Not quite what I was expecting, Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth” isn’t the book I thought it was going to be. What I expected was a page turner that would deepen my knowledge of mythology and its influence on the modern world. What I received was a written transcription of an interview between Joseph Campbell, writer and researcher of mythology, and Bill Moyers an American journalist and commentator. The basic conversation revolves around how myths have always provided values and morals to the people who believe in them. For example, in Christianity you are jugged based on the deeds you have done in life. The results of these deeds send you to a place where you will be rewarded or punished. The Christian stories are very similar to Egyptian mythology. Personally, I would have liked to have just watch the interview rather than read it and I would have preferred that they stay away from the underlying meaning of each story and delve deeply into the foundations of the myths themselves. I give “The Power of Myth” a three out of five stars mainly because I dislike the interview format and believe that the title mislead readers into thinking that they would end up learning about more myths. At the same time, I must give the book praise in that I did really like the fact that it makes you think deeply about your individual beliefs and your own culture which is something I haven‘t engaged in based on a reading experience in a long time. If you are interested in “The Power of Myth”, I would suggest that you try to find a video copy of the interview. If you can’t, realize that it is a decent read; one that is thought provoking, but will not make your top ten list. If you want to learn more about myths you should take a look at “Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths” or “The Myths, Legends, and Lore of Ireland” that tell the tails and give some extra information without getting overly philosophical.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    Wonderful insights into life and the interconnectedness of humanity!

    Joseph Campbell was one of the giants in the field of mythology, amassing a formidable amount of facts from all over the world. The enthusiasm with which he addresses every facet of this, his lifelong work is compelling...a joy to behold. A master of storytelling, Campbell brings life to the myths, while quietly making sure that the moral to the story is not lost. Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Pagan...are all addressed in this impactful series, the underlying themes and threads that connect us all are held up to the light, so that seeing, we may begin to understand not only ourselves, not only others...but the very essence of what life is about. These lessons ought to be in the hands of every child...and every adult.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful text about Mythology and the "rules" of this genre.

    A wonderfully written book about Mythology and the "rules" of this genre as well as the reasoning of Myth/Fable. Further, the ideologies of Myth are expounded all thoroughly by Campbell. This is great for knowledge, but more apt for one who is learning to write, especially in this genre. Many tips about the rules or the foundations of a powerful Myth. Campbell also mentions Buddhism and some tenets of Plato too. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    My introduction to Prof. Campbell

    I watched the PBS documentary of The Power of Myth and then read the book. I have since gone on to read other books by Prof. Campbell and his foundation has allowed me to see the metaphor in philosophy and theology. I recommend this to anyone interested in unlocking the magic of mythology

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    The power of myth is a book that encompasses the idea of myth's

    The power of myth is a book that encompasses the idea of myth's role in human society. I believe that Campbell puts forth a interesting point that myth is a large part of our lives through religion and morals as well as an insight into the hardships and events that we live through. I like how he takes the myths and explains his view on why we have myth. He looks as symbolism as part of myth and the one i like the most is the United States seal on the dollar bill. He says that the eye at the apex represents god but the government as god governing over the people from above seeing all things. indicating that the best governments know what goes on and how each action affects people. He gives us his input on what he thinks makes myth important and its. However, It is a slightly boring in writing style because the whole book is dialoged between him and Bill Moyers . Losing interest is fairly easy with this book but there are many intriguing points he makes. A theology/philosophy major might like this because it has to look at Campbell's reasons why myths are important and the effects of myth on him. This book was based on a Pbs tv program  and is mostly just interview dialogue so therefore this should not be a movie. It wouldn't be a very exciting movie as it is anyway.
    Andrew T

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Poor

    Joseph campbell is a man grasping at straws in an attempt to explain life through world mythology. I feel sorry for a man that tries to analyze what can't be explained through stories that were created to explain what the ancients couldn't.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    JADECLAN MEDDI CAT DEN

    Quartzstar

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    WillowWish

    "May i join" asked a white she with silver star over her right eye and a blue moon on her left flank and bright green eyes

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Frost

    Hello can i join said a male tabby cat with purple eyes and blue fur.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Moonlightstar

    The long furred silver she cat with dark blue eyes and a white star marking on her chest sits in the middle of the clearing, gazing up at the half-moon.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2012

    Truly a life-changing book for me. Absolutely phenomenal, but so

    Truly a life-changing book for me. Absolutely phenomenal, but something you must read with an open mind.

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