The Hero With A Thousand Faces

The universal story of psychology, myth, and heros
The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Jul 2 - Start reading

This is one I've been curious to check out for myself. It's often referenced as a pillar work for storytellers from novels to film. So I decided to buy the hardcover and give it a go.

So far it's interesting.

The original edition is 74 years old (released in 1949). Which can mean two things: 1) it's so outdated it's no longer relevant or

2) it contains fundamental knowledge about how humans tell, interpret, and absorb story.

Given how much this book has influenced modern stories, my money is on number two. But I'm only 15 pages in, so what do I know?

Unlike most books on story that I've read, Campbell includes plenty of examples from Western and Eastern philosophy and tradition.

This is refreshing. Most writing advice and books on story I've read are heavily rooted in Western thinking. Seeing examples from Buddhism and Hinduism early in the book is a strong signal I'll find new ways of linking story to other disciplines in this book.

His interest in Asian storytelling, religion, and philosophy makes Campbell and I something of soul brothers. Though I guess he was doing it back in the early twentieth century when it was uncool or possibly even taboo to do so.

It's also clear he was greatly influenced by the budding discipline of psychology. The field had just firmly established its roots as a legitimate social science by the time he started writing in the early twentieth century.

That means this is first contact fresh thinking.

Campbell was clearly a rare synthesizer, who combined interests in mysticism, psychology, story, religion, and others to write this book.

For that reason alone, it's worth giving it a try.

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