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Reply To: Campbell on Writing



You are a gentleman and a scholar indeed —  A Joseph Campbell Scholar. You explained and analyzed extremely well, and caught my particular blunder, that is, the distinction between the book “The Historical Atlas of World Mythology” and Joe’s personal trajectory, “the historical development of mythology”. I should have known that rather well, because just two or three days ago, you sent in that fine thread, explaining the various segments of the Historical Atlas, why some volumes are never going to be printed, and why printed version is so expensive, and when all parts of Vol 1 and Vol 2 will be available, and most of all what they contain.

So, after listening to  James, I did not elaborate upon the things that frustrated me, that is, 1) not acknowledging Joe as the great scholar thinker mythologist historian ++++ but referring to him as simply a  writer/editor.

2) Power of Myth not = Hero with a thousand faces

Then I stopped because like you I realized she is analyzing the hero’s journey as a writing aid. It’s the nature of her work. As she writes, “However, the hero’s journey can be a useful tool even if you don’t use it the way Joseph Campbell originally intended. Readers who recognize these classic tropes can appreciate an unexpected twist. Innovative literary fiction often plays with traditional narrative structures in new ways.” She is writing for a different audience.  So I did not write anything strong, negative or critical. Actually, I said nice things about her article and hoped to see more on Campbell’s other themes on the internet, although I did invite her over to That is all.

What’s funny is about a few hours after I signed into her website for comments, in came another Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey on the internet. SO, I was not going to play the internet police chief and go about reading through it and signing up on that website for some more comments. Then came your excellent piece detailing and clearing all the clouds. I had an appointment this morning so could not respond to you right away, but here I am.

Thank you Stephen. Always a pleasure reading your posts.