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The Hero with a Thousand Faces – A writer’s required reading?
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 these pages, 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.
I recently ran several writing panels at Florida Supercon 2012 in Miami, FL. I was honored to have in attendance 50+ writers and writing enthusiasts clamouring for my knowledge upon the subject of creative writing at each of my panels. In my sessions, I covered things such as characters, plotting and copyrights (the one thing most new writers ask about). I was surprised however that not one of my attendees had ever heard of The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. I was under the impression that Campbell’s book was pretty much required reading for any writer of things fantastic. Mythology is at the very core of any great storytelling and I could not believe that any writer worth his/her ink would pass on such a great book.
George Lucas had the privilege of Joseph Campbell examining his Star Wars mythology to see if it was sound and we all know how that worked out for him…right? Here is a book that shows the foundations of myth and it explores the concept of a “Hero” at its core. I was personally blown away by Campbell’s work and the theories he presented on mythology.
Joseph Campbell’s iconic, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, for me sits right alongside the works of Tolkien as the must reads for any fantasy writer looking to tell a wonderous tale. So writers out there…what are you waiting for? The Hero with a Thousand Faces is about your hero too.