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Overview

Selected letters capturing ongoing conversations between famed mythologist Joseph Campbell and a remarkable group of artists, seekers, filmmakers, novelists, and scholars

This brand-new collection of letters features illuminating conversations between Joseph Campbell and a fascinating cast of correspondents, ranging from friends and cowriters to renegade scholars and fellow visionaries. Including letters from both Campbell and his correspondents, and spanning the course of his entire adult life (1927–1987), the collection demonstrates the lasting influence of Campbell’s work, which inspired creative endeavors and radical shifts in so many people’s lives. Included are exchanges with artists such as Angela Gregory and Gary Snyder; colleagues including Alan Watts, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, and Maud Oakes; editors of his books, from The Hero with a Thousand Faces to The Mythic Image; and many others who engaged with Campbell in his exploration of humanity’s “one great story.”

In selecting the letters, editors Evans Lansing Smith and Dennis Patrick Slattery discovered that the dynamic exchanges formed themselves into what Smith describes as a “narrative, with multiple voices and points of view, dramatic conflict and resolution, character development, and even mystery.” In the end, they found “a portrait not just of Campbell but of a remarkable generation of artists, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, spiritual seekers, poets, and novelists, all engaged in the creative powers unleashed by mythology.” With crucial historical context provided by the editors, this compelling volume provides vital new insight into Campbell’s personal life and mythological vision.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608683253
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Series: The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 334,860
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood loved to read about American Indians and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History, where he became captivated by the museum’s collection of totem poles. From those days onward, Campbell’s interest in mythology grew and deepened. He was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and, after earning a master’s degree, continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich.

Throughout his life, he traveled extensively and wrote prolifically, authoring many books, including the classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the four-volume series The Masks of God, Myths to Live By, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, and the Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Campbell died in 1987. In 1988, a series of television interviews, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, introduced his views to millions of people.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Letter Writing: The Imagination’s Personal Genre by Dennis Patrick Slattery, PhD


Introduction: Joseph Campbell’s Correspondence: A Portrait of an Epoch by Evans Lansing Smith, PhD


Chapter 1: Wanderings: Paris to Pacific Grove


Chapter 2: The 1940s: Decade Mirabilis


Chapter 3: The 1950s: The Banquet Years


Chapter 4: The Masks of God: 1959–1968


Chapter 5: Political Matters: Thomas Mann to the Vietnam War


Chapter 6: The 1970s


Chapter 7: The Last Decade

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