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Hoffman, R. (1977). Campbell, Joseph. The mythic image. Princeton University Press (Bollingen Series C), Princeton N.J., 1974. Pp. xii + 552. $45.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 22(3):279-281.

(1977). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 22(3):279-281

Campbell, Joseph. The mythic image. Princeton University Press (Bollingen Series C), Princeton N.J., 1974. Pp. xii + 552. $45.00.

Review by:
Ruth Hoffman

Edited by:
Kenneth Lambert

This splendidly produced book—a heavyweight in more ways than one—is the 100th and last work in Bollingen Series C, which has been sponsored by the Bollingen Foundation to promote exploratory scholarship since 1943. It is appropriately dedicated to the president and vice-president of the former Foundation.

The book is divided into six parts, subdivided into chapters, and dealing with great themes like ‘The world as dream’, ‘The idea of cosmic order’, ‘The lotus and the rose’, ‘Transformation of the inner light’, ‘The sacrifice and the wakening’. Not a coffee table book, but a reference book for a library. Its author's declared aim has been ‘to let the spirit of the pictures rule and to arrange it so that the reader might enter into its pages at any turn he liked. The mythic themes illustrated are interpreted in the chapters, which are designed rather as settings for the works of art than as independent arguments; yet an argument is also developed, which the reader need not—yet may—decide to add to his enjoyment of the visual forms.’

This argument is brief: through dreams a door is opened to mythology and, like dreams, myths arise from an inward world unknown to waking consciousness; for that matter, so does life itself.

Whereas in Part I the imagery discussed is of generally known ‘elementary’ or ‘universal’ ideas (the world dream, world dreamer, great mother, miraculous child and resurrected hero) and in Parts II and III of specifically high culture themes (the mathematical round of space-time and the wakening of the spirit to a life transcending that round), Part IV deals with the psychological discussion of mythological thought and themes.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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