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Excerpt from Editor’s Foreword
The journal from which this book was fashioned comprised over a thou- sand pages in its original handwritten form. It was kept from 1954 to 1955, as Joseph Campbell traveled throughout India, Southeast Asia, and Japan. Later he would flirt with the idea of publishing it, though he never at- tempted it. Now, eight years after his death, this work will hold a central place in the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, helping us to form a more complete evaluation of both the man and his work.
The journal appears at times to be a personal diaryas close as Campbell ever came to autobiography. In other places he seems to be keep- ing an intellectual notebook, grappling with the scholarly details of an Indian cave temple, or getting indigestion over the rampant anti- Americanism in the Indian tabloids. At times he wrestles with the difficul- ties of arranging a dance tour for his wife, Jean Erdman, throughout India; at others he notes his ambivalent reactions to meeting with a guru. In general, he records entries several times a week, with characteristic thor- oughness, perhaps in part for documentation of the details of his trip for the Bollingen Foundation, from whom he was continuing to receive grant support during this time; sometimes, obviously, as formulations related to future writing projects.
As editors we faced many choices; for example, of retaining or omit- ting what to some might seem obsessive rumination, and to others a fascinating scholarly detail. Our objective throughout has been to keep the reader moving right along with Campbell’s own explorations, encounters, and revelations. Wherever possible we have tried to add reference material to help identify people, places, events, and ideas that are significant else- where in Campbell’s life and work.
The present volume records Joseph Campbell’s encounter with India alone as he travels through the subcontinent; its sequel, beginning in early 1955 in Sri Lanka, follows his onward journey through Southeast Asia and Japan, and will be published separately under the title Sake & Satori. These volumes should be readily accessible to the general reader and require no prior reading of Campbell. Readers familiar with Campbell’s work will find these books especially fascinating for the glimpse they offer into the central period of his life and his intellectual development.
In the first half of his life, Joseph Campbell had not yet identified him- self as a comparative mythologist. In 1954 he had just turned fifty: time, perhaps, for a reevaluation of his life purpose, or a midlife crisis. In fact, it was to be a little of each. Often it is apparent from the outside that Campbell was the last one to see how his own experience was at work upon him. Some of the most painful conflicts he experienced led to the very in- sights and personal breakthroughs he sought. Today, with his biography completed and much of his work in print, we can see how Joseph Campbell’s approach to mythology emerged from this one seminal geo- graphical and psychological journey.
In order to understand the significance of this expedition more fully, we need to consider the evolution of Joseph Campbell’s romance with the East, which certainly constitutes one of the major foci of his scholarship. At the time of his trip to India, he was best known in many circles as the editor of Heinrich Zimmer’s works on Indian art and civilization. But much earlier biographical and intellectual events paved the way to Campbell’s midlife encounter with the Orient, which is the subject of this book....
Table of Contents
Baksheesh and Brahman Contents
About the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell
Notes on the Text
Chapter 1 Travels with Swami
From New Delhi to Calcutta
Chapter 2 Temples and Monuments
Bangalore and Mysore
Bombay and Aurangabad
Bombay to Bangalore and Back
Chapter 3 The Space-Platform
Ahmedabad and New Delhi
Chapter 4 Dance Tour with Jean Erdman
Chapter 5 A Guru and His Devotees
Cochin and Trivandrum
Appendix A: Hinduism
Appendix B: Chronological Chart of Indian Art
About the Author
About the Joseph Campbell Foundation