The Collected Lectures of Joseph Campbell
Though renowned as a teacher, scholar, and author, Joseph Campbell reached his widest audience as a public speaker.
After he returned from a life-changing sabbatical to Asia in 1954–55 (documented in Asian Journals: India and Japan), Campbell made it his mission to spread a greater understanding of the subject of comparative mythology, not just to his students at Sarah Lawrence College or to those who read his books, but to the broader population. He began to give public talks at venues ranging from the storied Cooper Union, college auditoriums, churches, and professional seminars, to workshops at the famed Esalen Institute. Many of these talks were recorded; Campbell used these recordings both to improve his own approach to discussing his subject, but also to prepare new books.
As part of its mission to “protect, preserve, and perpetuate the work of Joseph Campbell,” the Joseph Campbell Foundation has since its founding in 1990 been making the best of these recordings available as The Collected Lectures of Joseph Campbell. The collection is currently planned for three series, each roughly covering a different phase of Campbell’s career as a public speaker:
- Series I (complete — 6 volumes, 30 lectures) was mostly taken from his earlier years as a public speaker in the 1960s
- Series II (complete — 6 volumes, 37 lectures) was largely taken from his talks at the Esalen Institute and other venues from the late 1960s through the early 1980s
- Series III (in process — planned 6 volumes, 30 lectures) is mostly being drawn from the final years of Campbell’s life