THE MASKS OF GOD, VOL. 1 by Joseph Campbell

THE MASKS OF GOD, VOL. 1

Primitive Mythology
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This work is one of enormous scholarship, undertaken by a mythologist who holds a teaching post at Sarah Lawrence and has previously transcribed Celtic and Indian folklore tales. It is a titanic effort to coordinate and bring up to date the new perspectives of the last twenty years in the "fields of comparative symbolism, religion, mythology and philosophy" as well as in archaeology and anthropology, ethnology and psychology. Its knowledge of primitive cultures (whether Australian or Aztec, Greek or Indian, etc.) is almost overwhelming. But Mr. Campbell has one or two coordinating lines of inquiry which lend coherence. He attempts "the first natural history of the gods and the heroes, such as in its final form should include in its purview all divine beings..." In so doing he is moved by a motive far deeper than classification. He believes and attempts to prove that man cannot maintain himself in the universe without belief in some arrangement of the general inheritance of myth; that men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, and have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds- but the myths of an immemorial imagination. He ranges far and wide to implement these themes and he retells many beautiful and many horrifying tales.... It is an impressive piece of work, wide in scope and idealistic in intent, and it should receive critical attention and longstanding usage.
Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1959
ISBN: 0140194436
Page count: 504pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1959




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