I haven’t read Joseph Campbell for a long time, but these are the books that I’ve read and are now sitting in my library…I began to read his works some time after University and his books have actually informed many conversations that I’ve entered into with people speaking about almost anything/everything…(feminism, patriarchal religions, religion, mythology, culture, work relationships, marriage, matriarchal societies, education, families, polygamy). It doesn’t matter what the conversation is, it seems at some point in that conversation some one will mention Joseph Campbell. His summarized philosophy, FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, is left to interpretation and can open up a CRAZY debate in the context of a party, with a couple of glasses of wine under your belt.
I recommend that you begin with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.
From Joseph Campbell’s Mythic Journey by Jonathan Young, New Perspectives Magazine 1994, Jonathan writes…
“The adventure picks up when young Joe Campbell sees the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1912. The future scholar soon became convinced that he had Indian blood. One of the striking details of the early years was Campbell’s youthful studiousness. He read his way through the children’s section of the public library and was admitted to the adult stacks at the age of eleven. He devoted himself to every available fact about Native American life, including the reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology. By high school, he was already writing articles on Native American mythology, presenting many of the themes he would still be working in his eighties.”
Since attending the University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, Alberta and particularly after seeing Dances With Wolves, I also fell in love with the culture of the First Nations people of Canada, particularly the Plains…received a bit of an overview through my reading and dreamed to live a nomadic life along side a river, sleeping each night in a teepee. These were the years when I harvested cactus berries and rose hips…things like that. I have deep respect for the variety of cultures represented in Alberta and become really defensive when I hear negative attacks around themes of mineral and fishing rights, life on the reservation, alchoholism and the general stereotyping that goes on. The Government of Canada has an obligation, I think, to meet its promises, given the horrific conditions of the Treaty 7 moment in history. But…hmmm…this is supposed to be a reading list! I think I simply wanted to make the point that, like Joseph Campbell, I became interested in culture for a similar reason.
One of my favourite blog posts about Joseph Campbell is titled Joseph Campbell on the Art of Being Alive by Rebelle Society: Creatively Maladjusted.