Joseph Campbell: The Hero with a Thousand Faces

“…To understand the psychosis of the patriarchal mind.” 

Caroline Wells Chandler

Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

As part of the Joseph Campbell Foundation’s Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, this third edition features expanded illustrations, a comprehensive bibliography, and more accessible sidebars. 
As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artists — including authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakers — and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.

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Further Reading: 

The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (PDF)

Additional Resources:

Joseph Cambell Foundation (website)
Joseph Campbell: The Power of Mythology Documentary Series: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6

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Italy Calvino: The Complete Cosmicomics 

“I’m currently reading this, which is a book of short stories- cosmicomics- by Italo Calvino. The way he writes set my imagination off; his descriptions and details built up crazy images in my head and I like the short story format a lot – it suits my way of working and my short attention span so he is perfect for the studio as I dart between painting, drawing writing and reading” –Molly Rose Butt

We were peering into this darkness, criss-crossed with voices, when the change took place: the only real, great change I’ve ever happened to witness, and compared to it the rest is nothing.” — from The Complete Cosmicomics

Italo Calvino’s beloved cosmicomics cross planets and traverse galaxies, speed up time or slow it down to the particles of an instant. Through the eyes of an ageless guide named Qfwfq, Calvino explores natural phenomena and tells the story of the origins of the universe. Poignant, fantastical, and wise, these thirty-four dazzling stories — collected here in one definitive anthology — relate complex scientific and mathematical concepts to our everyday world. They are an indelible (and unfailingly delightful) literary achievement.

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Further Reading: 

Invisible Cities (PDF)
Six Memos for the Next Millenium (PDF)
Why Read the Classics (essay)

Additional Resources: 

Gore Vidal on Italo Calvino (video)
Publisher’s Weekly: 10 Best Italo Calvino Books (article)

Terrence McKenna: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Dugs and Human Revolution 

“I came across food of the gods randomly when I was living in East Texas and 10 years ago. I was learning how to farm and wanted to know more about mycology and stumbled upon the weird and wonderful McKenna who writes exactly the way he speaks. I say so in case there are people out there who would prefer listening over reading. All of his talks are archived on The Psychedelic Salon. The host Lorenzo who is a bit annoying use to be hardcore right and switched teams after an experience.” 

Caroline Wells Chandler 

The ethnobotanist co-author of Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide (not reviewed) puts forth the theory that magic mushrooms are the original “tree of knowledge” and that the general lack of psychedelic exploration is leading Western society toward eventual collapse or destruction–controversial statements, to say the least, though the argument’s details often prove fascinating. In the beginning, McKenna tells us, there were protohumans with small brains and plenty of genetic competition, and what eventually separated the men from the apes was an enthusiasm for the hallucinogenic mushrooms that grew on the feces of local cattle. Claiming that psilocybin in the hominid diet would have enhanced eyesight, sexual enjoyment, and language ability and would have thereby placed the mushroom-eaters in the front lines of genetic evolution–eventually leading to hallucinogen-ingesting shamanistic societies, the ancient Minoan culture, and some Amazonian tribes today–McKenna also asserts that the same drugs are now outlawed in the US because of their corrosive effect on our male-dominated, antispiritual society. Unconsciously craving the vehicles by which our ancestors expanded their imaginations and found meaning in their lives, he says, we feast on feeble substitutes: coffee, sugar, and chocolate, which reinforce competition and aggressiveness; tobacco, which destroys our bodies; alcohol, whose abuse leads to male violence and female degradation; TV, which deadens our senses; and the synthetics–heroin, cocaine and their variations–which leave us victimized by our own addiction. On the other hand, argues McKenna, magic mushrooms, used in a spiritually enlightened, ritual manner, can open the door to greater consciousness and further the course of human evolution- -legalization of all drugs therefore is, he says, an urgent necessity. 

Kirkus Reviews
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Further Writings by the Author: 

The Archaic Revival (PDF)

True Hallucinations (PDF)

Lecture Transcript: The Importance of Human Beings (text)

Lecture Transcript: Culture and Ideology are Not Your Friends (text)
Additional Resources: 

We Don’t Know Enough About the Universe to Have Anxiety (audio)

Final Earthbound Interview (video)

The Future of Humanity: McKenna, Sheldrake, Abraham (video)

Psychedelics Before and After History (video)  

Tim Ingold: Lines: A Brief History 

What do walking, weaving, observing, storytelling, singing, drawing and writing have in common? The answer is that they all proceed along lines. In this extraordinary book Tim Ingold imagines a world in which everyone and everything consists of interwoven or interconnected lines and lays the foundations for a completely new discipline: the anthropological archaeology of the line.

Ingold’s argument leads us through the music of Ancient Greece and contemporary Japan, Siberian labyrinths and Roman roads, Chinese calligraphy and the printed alphabet, weaving a path between antiquity and the present. Drawing on a multitude of disciplines including archaeology, classical studies, art history, linguistics, psychology, musicology, philosophy and many others, and including more than seventy illustrations, this book takes us on an exhilarating intellectual journey that will change the way we look at the world and how we go about in it.
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Additional Writings by the Author 

Being Alive (PDF)
Perceptions of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill (PDF)

Bringing Things To Life: Entanglements in a World of Materials (PDF)
Introduction to Ways of Walking (PDF)
From Science to Art and Back Again (PDF)

Additional Resources: 

Lecture: Thinking Through Making (video)
Lecture: Anthropology Beyond Humanity (video)
Lecture: The Sustainability of Everything (video)
Lecture: On Human Correspondence (video)

Louise Gluck: Faithful and Virtuous Night


In Louise Gluck’s new collection, night takes on the dimensions of myth, becomes the setting for a sequence of journeys and explorations through time and memory, as the speaker of the poems moves backwards into childhood and forwards into ‘the kingdom of death’. Gluck draws equally on the worlds of fairy-tale, of dream and of waking life, each poem a door into a narrative both haunting and compellingly beautiful.

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Reviews:
NYT Review
New Yorker Review
NPR Review
Interviews:

For a Dollar: Louise Gluck in Conversation (transcript)

An Interview with Grace Gluck (transcript)
National Book Foundation: Interview with Grace Gluck, 2014 (transcript)

Margaret R. Miles: Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West

An exploration of the power of visual and verbal representations of female nakedness throughout Western Christian history. Margaret Miles looks at how men have treated women's bodies – in their actions, art and writings, and why, in Christian history, naked female bodies have symbolized shame.

Margaret R. Miles is Emeritus Professor of Historical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. As Bussey Professor of Theology, she taught the history of Christian thought for 20 years at Harvard University Divinity School. Her previous books include Plotinus on Body and Beauty (Blackwell, 1999), Reading for Life (1996), Seeing and Believing (1996), Desire and Delight (1993), Practicing Christianity (1988), Carnal Knowing (1988), Seeing and Believing (1996), and A Complex Delight (2007).

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Additional Resources:
Margaret R. Miles: Religion and the Common Good (lecture)
Living Lovingly in a Culture of Fear (Lecture)
Gender and Teaching in Education (Essay)

Lewis Hyde: Trickster Makes This World

Trickster Makes This World solidifies Lewis Hyde's reputation as, in Robert Bly's words, "the most subtle, thorough, and brilliant mythologist we now have." In it, Hyde now brings to life the playful and disruptive side of human imagination as it is embodied in trickster mythology. He first revisits the old stories–Hermes in Greece, Eshu in West Africa, Krishna in India, Coyote in North America, among others–and then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Duchamp, Ginsberg, John Cage, and Frederick Douglass. Authoritative in its scholarship, loose-limbed in its style, Trickster Makes This World ranks among the great works of modern cultural criticism.

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Profile of Lewis Hyde: What is Art? (NYT)
Review: The Guardian
Introduction to The Gift
Essay: Common as Air

Jean Baudrillard: America


For those looking for a bleak, lyrical and biting summer read.

Where the others spend their time in libraries, I spend mine in the deserts and on the roads." Jean Baudrillard's travel diary of his time in America was first published in 1986 and has been reissued with a new introduction by Geoff Dyer. Written while Reagan was president, Baudrillard's provocative account of this "obsessional society" remains relevant. From the "steepling gentleness" of New York's skyscrapers to the "limitless horizontality" of Los Angeles, he explores this New World, where the carpets have an "orgasmic elasticity" and the people are "like shadows that have escaped from Plato's cave". The crowded cities are "electrifying" and "cinematic", but in the deserts Baudrillard finds a serene emptiness. For all its strangeness, America is "an amazing place". The book is sometimes Delphic ("Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity"), frequently brilliant ("there is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room"), but always original, memorable and even funny: "Americans may have no identity, but they do have wonderful teeth."
PD Smith

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Further Reading:
Selected Writings (PDF)
The System of Objects (PDF)
A Marginal System: Collecting (PDF/Excerpt)
The Conspiracy of Art (PDF)

Bram Dijkstra: Idols of Perversity, Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Siecle Culture

At the turn of the century, an unprecedented attack on women erupted in virtually every aspect of culture: literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic. Throughout Europe and America, artists and intellectuals banded together to portray women as static and unindividuated beings who functioned solely in a sexual and reproductive capacity, thus formulating many of the anti-feminine platitudes that today still constrain women’s potential.
Bram Dijkstra’s Idols of Perversity explores the nature and development of turn-of-the-century misogyny in the works of hundreds of writers, artists, and scientists, including Zola, Strindberg, Wedekind, Henry James, Rossetti, Renoir, Moreau, Klimt, Darwin, and Spencer. Dijkstra demonstrates that the most prejudicial aspects of Evolutionary Theory helped to justify this wave of anti-feminine sentiment. The theory claimed that the female of the species could not participate in the great evolutionary process that would guide the intellectual male to his ultimate, predestined role as a disembodied spiritual essence. Darwinists argued that women hindered this process by their willingness to lure men back to a sham paradise of erotic materialism. To protect the male’s continued evolution, artists and intellectuals produced a flood of pseudo-scientific tracts, novels, and paintings which warned the world’s males of the evils lying beneath the surface elegance of woman’s tempting skin.
Reproducing hundreds of pictures from the period and including in-depth discussions of such key works as Dracula and Venus in Furs, this fascinating book not only exposes the crucial links between misogyny then and now, but also connects it to the racism and anti-semitism that led to catastrophic genocidal delusions in the first half of the twentieth century. Crossing the conventional boundaries of art history, sociology, the history of scientific theory, and literary analysis, Dijkstra unveils a startling view of a grim and largely one-sided war on women still being fought today.

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Joseph Campbell: Myths to Live by


What is a properly functioning mythology and what are its functions? Can we use myths to help relieve our modern anxiety, or do they help foster it? In Myths to Live by, Joseph Campbell explores the enduring power of the universal myths that influence our lives daily and examines the myth-making process from the primitive past to the immediate present, retuning always to the source from which all mythology springs: the creative imagination.Campbell stresses that the borders dividing the Earth have been shattered; that myths and religions have always followed the certain basic archetypes and are no longer exclusive to a single people, region, or religion. He shows how we must recognize their common denominators and allow this knowledge to be of use in fulfilling human potential everywhere.

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