FLIGHT OF THE WILD GANDER by Joseph Campbell

FLIGHT OF THE WILD GANDER

Explorations In The Mythological Dimension: Select Essays, 1944-1968
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Although the modern sensibility--Eliot and Joyce, Freud and Jung--owes a great deal to various mythologies, it is no secret that "mythic consciousness" has been superseded by "scientific consciousness," an overpowering historical fact as prevalent in the East as in the West. One would imagine that this turn of events would be the starting point in any new discussion of the "mythological dimension." Joseph Campbell seems to be aware of it only as it relates to Occidental transformations or disruptions: specifically the Judaic-Christian tradition which with its "exclusive, authoritative, collective, and fanatic" articles of faith he finds rightfully headed towards the dustbin of history. But surely this is the fate of Oriental religions as well. Can Vedantic or Taoist texts, based on the Immutable Self and an illusory world, a mystical constellation which Campbell at one point renders in truly staggering terms--"beyond names, forms and all scriptural personification, to that immanent transcendent mystery of being which defies thought, feeling, and figuration"--be expected to survive except as a poetic phenomenon or a Jamesian "will to believe?" Campbell is an erudite man, and what he has to say even in this collection of sketchy and randomly related essays is not without consequence, especially re the set pieces on the Brothers Grimm and a legend of the American Indians. Nevertheless, his theoretical excursions concerning the biological or theological aspects of myth or "Primitive Man as Metaphysician" are really more provocative than illuminating, and the recurring Buddhist/Biblical dichotomies do seem a bit cursory coming from the author of The Masks of God.
Pub Date: July 21st, 1969
ISBN: 1577312104
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1969




MORE BY JOSEPH CAMPBELL

NonfictionTRANSFORMATIONS OF MYTH THROUGH TIME by Joseph Campbell
by Joseph Campbell
NonfictionTHE MYTHIC IMAGE by Joseph Campbell
by Joseph Campbell
NonfictionMYTHS TO LIVE BY by Joseph Campbell
by Joseph Campbell