The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
Pathways to Bliss
|Pathways to Bliss
Mythology and Personal Transformation
By Joseph Campbell
Edited by David Kudler
New World Library, 2004
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - Posted September 28, 2012
For those not familiar with him, Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was an educator, scholar, and a renowned mythologist, as well as a prolific writer and editor whose work is perhaps best known for his numerous books on mythology and comparative religion, and the admonition to "follow your bliss". Some of his best-known works include The Hero with a Thousand Faces (a book that is essential reading for all fiction writers) and The Power of Myth.
The Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF) is a non-profit organization that is working to continue Campbell's research into, and to promote the study of, mythology and comparative religions. They are currently working to publish Campbell previous unpublished works, including lectures, articles, letters, and notes, as well as to republish his works that are now out of print. These works are being released under the rubric of The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell. Pathways to Bliss:
Mythology and Personal Transformation is one of the volumes in the Collected Works series. This volume is a compilation of lectures that are extracted from various lectures, interviews, and seminars given by Campbell between 1962-1983. These extracts were selected, and edited, by David Kudler. All of the lectures in this volume are unified by a common theme, "...Campbell's exploration of the idea of mythology as a tool for promoting and understanding the psychological growth of the individual..." (Pg. vii). The lectures themselves are further organized into thematic chapters entitled:
Combined, these lectures examine myth as a tool for personal growth, the psychology of myth, and how to use myth to examine your own life. A concise biography of Joseph Campbell is also included, as well a detailed forward to this volume that explains how and why these various lectures where selected for inclusion in this volume and the nature of myth and the role that it plays in our lives.
- The Necessity of Rites
- Myth Through Time
- Society and Symbol
- Myth and the Self
- Personal Myth
- The Self as Hero
- Dialogues (Unlike the previous chapters that are primarily drawn from Campbell's lectures, this chapter contains extracts from interviews/conversations with Campbell and various questioners.)
Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation is a compelling and inspirational collection of Campbell's writings. If you are not familiar with Campbell's works you are in for a real treat, and if you are, you will find that this collection will help you to reconnect with an old friend. While this work is unified by theme, each lecture can be read independently or you can read the book straight through. But be prepared, this is a book that you are likely to go back and read again, and again, each time coming away from the reading with new insights into the nature of myth - and your own identity.
A sampling of other titles in the The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series include:
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