Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Belated Happy Natal Anniversary to Joseph Campbell

Yesterday was Joseph Campbell's birthday. Happy belated Natal Anniversary (as my father would say)!

Joseph Campbell was born on March 26, 1904 in White Plains, New York. His books on mythology and the classic journey of the hero have inspired many writers, including myself. In 1925, he earned a B.A. from Columbia University and got his M.A. in 1927 focusing on Arthurian Studies. Following that, he traveled to Germany where he studied Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, which influenced his own career. He also began to study literature in-depth. The Hero with a Thousand Faces, his first book and a very popular one, was published in 1949. In 1985, Joseph Campbell was awarded the National Arts Club Gold Medal of Honor in Literature. He died in 1987.

I was first introduced to Joseph Campbell in a high school English class. His work in the field of world mythology led to me become interested in world religions and enriched my own writing background.

Campbell believed that humans around the world have common patterns in their myths about creation, etc.

Two of his most famous works are The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which discusses the journey of a hero in literature and The Masks of God, which focuses on gods around the world.

In 1988 journalist Bill Moyers hosted the public television special, The Power of Myth. The companion book with the same name was released later. It is a favorite in my library at home. I highly recommend the documentary as well.

If you're interested in further reading here are a few links:

1) Joseph Campbell's complete list of works

2) Suggested reading by Joseph Campbell for students

3) The Joseph Campbell Foundation

4) Myth and Meaning in Contemporary Times

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!

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