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Publisher's Summary

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 this book, 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 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.

©2008 Third edition (with revisions) © 2008 by the Joseph Campbell Foundation (jcf.org). (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Second edition (with revisions) © 1968 by Princeton University Press. Original edition © 1949 by Bollingen Foundation and published by Pantheon Books.

Critic Reviews

"Arthur Morey, John Lee, and Susan Denaker are an adept and experienced performance team. The way they trade voices adds texture to the complex compendium of stories." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Meaningful and thought-provoking

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.

65 of 66 people found this review helpful

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The Connections between the Myths

This is a book I have been meaning to read for years. Literally. And now I have finally learned what all the fuss is about. Campbell takes the reader/listener on an intellectual journey showing the common themes, characters, and events (plot developments?) to the myths of the world. This is an awesome feat and in no way should be seen as denigrating the beauty and power of the world's mythologies and religious traditions. Campbell was an intellectual of the first order and he makes his enthusiasm for the subject a contagious thing. Now I see why this book had such a profound impact on George Lucas and how he drew so heavily on it in constructing his Star Wars mythos (and since I am writing this on Star Wars day--May the Fourth be with you all!). Loved this book and will look for more titles by Campbell and other writers about the ideas in this classic.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Hard to finish

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:

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Very good if hungry for more Campbell

Where does The Hero with a Thousand Faces rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is an earlier work of Campbell, but not at all where I would start. Start with The Power of Myth and The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell and hear Campbell in his own voice. Much clearer and much greater impact. They are much more accessible, and once hear Campbell in his own voice you'll much more easily be able to access his more scholarly works and you'll also be more forgiving of the passionless, reading of Arthur Morey. The reader was a real miss on this one. But the deeper exploration on myth is fantastic.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

This is truly an amazing work. It is beautifully performed, though, unfortunately, the use of narrators with differing intonation, strong accent, and old-style pronunciation, sometimes makes the audio difficult to understand.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A test to see how bad you want answers

The test is in the form of the main narrator. He’s slow in reading every word and very dull. Then again this is not for those who wish to be entertained, but for those who are seeking clarity on the origins of their belief system and to have their mind opened to the fact that all religions and mythology are seeking to describe that which is eternal in ways that allow us to grasp in a very small measure the nature of all that was, all that is, and all that will be.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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good book, though tougher to follow on audio forma

would suggest you get the physical book, great stories and context to patterns across all cultures

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I could listen to this a 1000 times...

I would have to listen to this audio presentation a 1000 time to grasp the depth of this material.
Yet, I feel as if I have accomplished something getting through it once.
My gray matter is on fire. 😀🔥😀

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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rough narration good content

it was disappointing that such rich material was a bit like listening to paint dry. I really did not enjoy this production.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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If you look for clarity, leave this book alone.

The author offers to find parallels in the great mythical texts of the world and to link them to human psychology. This is a worthy endeavour but really badly executed in this book. It reads like the old texts itself with failed attempts at poetry and difficult wording. It's full of vague conjectures. It explains old gods and old symbols in way that certainly is credible, but with some fantasy anyone can explain those symbols and myths in 100% opposite way.

The book probably contains some interesting ideas but it's almost like one of these bad books about meditation, completely obfuscating simple truths and facts.

The essence of this book can be told in 1/4th the length in much clearer wording.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr Nik Jewell
  • 10-01-17

A triumph of over generalisation and reductionism

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

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-25-17

Brilliant! super informative and expertly narrated

loved it- wonderful narration and beautiful context and content. very educational, entertaining and intellectually comprehensive.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • GVLoves
  • 10-18-16

I think I am going to need to listen again...

This book has inspired works and research that I admire, that's why I decided to listed to it.

It's written in a language that is a little inaccessible (perhaps because it's older).

The different narrators are good in of themselves but the devision between them confuses me. What I mean is that it is not intuitively clear to me why one voice is narrating at any specific point.

I gave it the rating I did because although it confused me a little I think that a second listen might clarify the message in the work. It may be that this text needs to be read with a purpose as opposed to an 'easy' listening book.

9 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-12-17

Every writer should read this.

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