The hero with a thousand faces by

6 May 2008


ISBN: 0586085718
Read for Once Upon a Time Challenge (mark II)

Whether we listen with aloof amusement to the dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed with doctor of the Congo, or read with cultivated rapture thin translations from the sonnets of the mystic Lao-tse; now and again crack the hard nutshell of an argument of Aquinas, or catch suddenly the shining meaning of a bizarre Eskimo fairy tale: it will be always the one, shape-shifting yet marvellously constant story that we find. together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experiences than will ever be known or told.

I think maybe I’m just not in the mood for studious type books. At least, that’s the excuse I’m making for not really enjoying this book. Then again it may simply be that we’re all aware of these great themes that so many myths and fictions retell over and over again. Back in 1949 it was all original and new and so of course deserved all that attention. Now? Well the writing style is a little on the ponderous side and I think I’ve read most of these arguments before.

That being said, I’m still glad I read it. I simply don’t have a lot to say about it.

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8 Responses

  1. Carl V. says:

    A friend sent me a copy of this recently as he was surprised I had not read it. I truly do want to read it sometime but, like you, I have the feeling that I have some general knowledge about these themes already. I still plan to read it someday, but it isn't high on my priority list.

  2. Told you it was awful! Why do so many people want to reduce diversity to uniformity? I'd rather concentrate on the unique elements of each mythology, rather than the common ones.

  3. Fence says:

    I think it may work better as a book to dip in and out of Carl. It certainly isn't awful as Mal insists :) It just felt like I knew it all already. Although I'm reading a version of the Iliad at the moment and some of the descriptions of Achilles and Helen remind me a lot of the Irish Ulster myths, especially Helen = Deirdre.

    I'm not so sure it was all about reducing diversity Mal. More like pointing out that there are similarities there too. After all, concentrating too much on the unique elements can lead to proclamations of superiority and one culture being better than an other.

  4. Marlock says:

    No, no, no….that doesn't follow at all. I don't understand that logic. It's bizarre. Why do so many people think we are presented with two choices, a drab, homogenized, post-historic world where everybody looks and talks and acts exactly the same way, or the high autobahn back to Nazi Germany? Rrrrr. OK, maybe Campbell wasn't doing that (I haven't read that book), but that current of thought really seems…um….to be at high tide.

  5. Marlock says:

    Heee. I didn't mean the name-change. This is a work computer and it saved an old name I used, for the sake of variety.

  6. Fence says:

    lol Mal, you haven't read the book but you are giving out about it? tut tut tut

  7. Marlock says:

    I read about twenty pages of another book by him. Well, a book that consisted of a long interview with him. That was enough for me.

  8. Fence says:

    Oh, I think I took a look at that one last week when nabbing tHwaTF off the shelves. Looked really really boring.