The Power of Myth

by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

Joseph Campbell, who died on October 31, 1987, was the world's foremost authority on mythology, a preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher whose work has had a profound influence on millions.  To him, mythology was "the song of the universe, the music of the spheres."

In The Power of Myth, he and distinguished journalist Bill Moyers offer a brilliant combination of wisdom and wit in conversations that range from modern marriage ("Marriage is a relationship.  When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you're not sacrificing to each other but to unity in a relationship") to virgin births, from savior figures to heroic figures such as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars ("... By overcoming the dark passions, the hero symbolizes our ability to control the irrational savages within us").

Campbell explains how myths are our ties to the past--and how they help us to understand the world today and ourselves.  "When you see the earth from the moon," says Campbell, "you don't see any divisions there of nations or states.  This might be the symbol, really, for the new mythology to come.  That is the country we are going to be celebrating.  And those are the people we are one with."

The Power of Myth is a great summing up of Joseph Campbell's work, sure to stand alongside his two celebrated classics The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Masks of God and his recent The Atlas of World Mythology.

Joseph Campbell began his career in 1934 as an instructor at Sarah Lawrence College, where he taught for almost forty years, and where the Joseph Campbell Chair in Comparative Mythology was established in his honor.

Bill Moyers is an acclaimed television journalist, widely respected for his work both at CBS News and PBS, where one of his primary efforts has been to bring to television outstanding thinkers of our time.

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don't think that's what we're really seeking.  I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive..."  --Joseph Campbell

"I never met anyone who could better tell a story.  Listening to Joseph Campbell talk of primal societies, I was transported to the wide plains under the great dome of the open sky, or to the forest dense, beneath a canopy of trees, and I began to understand how the voices of the gods spoke from the wind and thunder, and the spirit of God flowed in every mountain stream, and the whole earth blossomed as a sacred place--the realm of mythic imagination."  --Bill Moyers

Webmasters Note:  The Power of Myth is also available in a PBS video tape series that can be rented from Blockbusters, The Movie Gallery and other similar venders.


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