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Campbell, J. McGuire, W. (1988). Obituary Notice. J. Anal. Psychol., 33(2):187-190.

(1988). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 33(2):187-190

Obituary Notice

Joseph Campbell and William McGuire

Joseph Campbell, mythologist, writer, lecturer—and, for many people, a visionary—died at his home in Honolulu on October 30, 1987. Though ill for several months with cancer, he had continued to work and write until the day before his death. He was born in New York City on March 26, 1904, in a Roman Catholic family, and grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York. After studying at Dartmouth College and Columbia University (where he earned an M.A.), he took up graduate work at the universities of Paris and Munich. Upon his return to the States, during the years of the depression, he rusticated in the Catskill Mountains and in Monterey, California, and read intensively. From 1934 to 1972 he taught comparative mythology at Sarah Lawrence College, north of New York City. There he met and married a student, Jean Erdman, of Honolulu, who later became a member of Martha Graham's modern dance troupe and founded a celebrated company of her own. Her choreography was often based on mythic themes suggested by her husband.

It might seem that Campbell began to prepare for a Bollingen career during his Westchester boyhood, when he immersed himself in the lore of the American Indians. In the years at Columbia University he acquired German and French and made a penetrating study of the Arthurian legend and the related literature of courtly love in medieval France. A shipboard encounter with the young Krishnamurti seemed to have an aura of predestination. During his Wanderjahre in Europe, Campbell discovered the Buddhist and Hindu classics, German philosophy, Frobenius, Freud, Jung, Mann, and James Joyce. Thus his reading programme was laid out for his years in reclusion.

In 1941, Campbell in his spare time was helping the Swami Nikhilananda translate The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. A fateful chain of events ensued. The Swami introduced him to the Indologist, Heinrich Zimmer, who had brought his family out of Nazi Germany and established a home in New Rochelle—synchronistically, near the house where Campbell had grown up. While attending Zimmer's lectures at Columbia University, Campbell became his disciple. Zimmer, who had met Mary and Paul Mellon in Switzerland, at the Eranos Conference of 1939, was now advising Mrs.

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