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The Mythic Dimension

The Mythic Dimension

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Published by New World Library
In these pages, the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell presents twelve eclectic, far-ranging and brilliant essays exploring myth in all its dimensions: its history; its influence on art, literature, and culture; and its role in everyday life.

This second volume of Campbell’s essays (following Flight of the Wild Gander) brings together uncollected writings from 1959 to 1987. Written at the height of Campbell’s career — and showcasing the lively intelligence that made him the twentieth century’s premier writer on mythology — these essays investigate the profound links among myth, the individual, and societies ancient and contemporary. Covering diverse terrain ranging from psychology to the occult, from Thomas Mann to the Grateful Dead, from Goddess spirituality to Freud and Jung, these playful and erudite writings reveal the threads of myth woven deeply into the fabric of our culture and our lives.
In these pages, the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell presents twelve eclectic, far-ranging and brilliant essays exploring myth in all its dimensions: its history; its influence on art, literature, and culture; and its role in everyday life.

This second volume of Campbell’s essays (following Flight of the Wild Gander) brings together uncollected writings from 1959 to 1987. Written at the height of Campbell’s career — and showcasing the lively intelligence that made him the twentieth century’s premier writer on mythology — these essays investigate the profound links among myth, the individual, and societies ancient and contemporary. Covering diverse terrain ranging from psychology to the occult, from Thomas Mann to the Grateful Dead, from Goddess spirituality to Freud and Jung, these playful and erudite writings reveal the threads of myth woven deeply into the fabric of our culture and our lives.

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Published by: New World Library on Jan 19, 2012
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12/24/2014

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From

until his death in

, Joseph Campbell wrote three major works. The multi-volume works
The Masks of God 
and the
Historical Atlas of World Mythology 
, and the vast
The Mythic Image 
are not books about justmythology, they are books about all mythology, large-scale attempts tocomprehend the religious expression of the human species. In them Camp-bell introduced many facts, stories, images, and ideas to serve his larger ar-gument, only to let them go after they had served his purpose, frequently to the secret disappointment of his newly intrigued reader. During thesemost productive years of his career, however, Campbell did write aboutmuch of the material that he only touched on in his major works. He lec-tured prodigiously and wrote numerous essays that were either early explo-rations of or mature reflections upon material that appeared in his largerventures. These essays were published in small-circulation magazines and journals, or as introductions or chapters in others’ books. The best of themare collected here.The essays themselves need little introduction. Written independently of each other, each can be read separately, in any order. The essays fall nat-urally, nonetheless, into two categories. In “Mythology and History,” Camp-bell writes about mythology from a historical perspective: its development,
e d i to r’s f o rewo rd
xi
 
its uses in the past, and the mythological themes dating from early timesthat inform our lives today.“Mythology and the Arts” collects the essays in which Campbell ad-dresses his lifelong interest in how mythology is used in art to address theuniversal concerns of human consciousness. As the first essay in the book, I have also included “ComparativeMythology as an Introduction to Cross-Cultural Studies,” Campbell’s in-formal look at his teaching method for the hugely popular course onmythology he gave for thirty-five years at Sarah Lawrence College. Readers who wish they had been present for those invigorating lectures can consult,as the next-best thing, the appendix that lists the books Campbell regularly assigned to his class.
Notes on the Text
The essays are presented with a minimum of editorial change. I have notattempted to correct Joseph Campbell. He himself saw the essays presentedhere into print on the occasion of their initial publication, so except for thecorrection of infrequent spelling mistakes and other obvious errors, the es-says appear as they did upon their first printing. I have, however, addednotes where I felt an explanation would help. Notes that are not Camp-bell’s I have enclosed in square brackets. Since the notes added for this edi-tion make frequent reference to Campbell’s other works, I have included a select bibliography of Campbell’s works as an appendix. References to thefirst appearance of the essays in this edition may be found here.
 Acknowledgments
 John David Ebert was an essential collaborator from the inception of theproject. He collected the originals of all the essays included here and assistedin verifying that the transcriptions were accurate. He composed the initialversions of many of the notes, and he read the manuscript and made sug-gestions and corrections at every step. Stacey Feldman did most of the tran-scribing and helped with the early stages of the page layout. Erik Rieselbachdid the bulk of the page layout and made sure that the images were prop-erly prepared for printing.
The Mythic Dimension
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