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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is of course a classic, valued by artists, novelists and humanities-lovers for decades. Interesting note: George Lucas and Star Wars were heavily influences by this book.
Outside of religious scripture, this is one of the most meaningful and thought-provoking books I've read. Drawing on archetypes - deep universal constructs in our human psyche - Campbell explains how we are all on (or could be on) a meaningful heroic journey.
This book was written when the ideas of Freud and Jung were all the rage. Freud has not aged too well. But Jung had a lot of intuition about the human soul that still resonates.
Campbell includes many fascinating accounts of dreams and world myths. "Myth" in this sense means a story with meaningful symbols that convey universal insights, as well as teaching the values of the culture in which the myth originated. Jung and Freud believed that dreams and myths contain subconscious truths.
I've owned the hard copy for years but found it difficult reading. I don't think Campbell was a great writer. But his ideas are mind-blowing. In audio-book form I have finally been able to enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.
66 of 67 people found this review helpful
I love the ideas that Joseph Campbell has given us in his career. I just don't think this book is a concise enough presentation of those ideas. I listen to lots of different audio books while driving, and many are very engaging. This one just wasn't... I could never follow what was being presented, and it seemed all over the place. I don't think the material was "over my head," I just think I got bored listening to it. Often times the quotes from the myths and stories read by the female and the british narrators were just thrown in without introduction or explanation. I would occasionally hear an idea that resonated with me, where I'd think "ohhh cool!" But that happened only once in a while, in the middle of a sea or drawn out boring narration.
Sorry, love JC, but not this audiobook:
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
I've got half way through this and am returning it. I am obviously aware that this work is treated with great reverence (it was allegedly an inspiration for Star Wars after all!).
I'm afraid that I just find it a triumph of over generalisation and reductionism. Campbell knits together the worlds mythologies and the stories therein are interesting and pleasant to listen to; it is the connecting material that is sadly lacking.
For Campbell, it seems, mythology and religion are to be conflated. The difference is that the former is directed at a local audience whereas the latter is a mythology for everyone.
After making this dodgy reductionist move the field is open for Campbell to further reduce and over generalise everything he can find to fit into a single monomyth about the hero.
The superficial similarities of many stories worldwide is further to be analysed in terms of rights of passage, Freudian and Jungian themes. This type of psychoanalytic analysis (something that I am not amenable to) dates the book.
What really had me choking on my cornflakes however was the chapter on Buddhism. Not withstanding some questionable translations, Campbell grossly mischaracterises it, trots out the Heart Sutra as if he has the first clue what it means (I think we can safely conclude that he has not himself transcended subject-object duality), and then proceeds to conflate every duality he can lay his hands on. It's utterly meaningless garbage.
Enough was enough for me at this point. It is great that Audible allows you to return books.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
loved it- wonderful narration and beautiful context and content. very educational, entertaining and intellectually comprehensive.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great book on the structure of stories. It's written in the dense style of the early 20th century so it can be needlessly wordy in parts but it's worth the slog.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful