“Full circle, from to tomb of the womb to the womb of the tomb, we come”: First Edition of the Author’s Seminal Work; Inscribed by the author to fellow Writer Richard Adams

  • The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

The Hero With A Thousand Faces.


Item Number: 86798

New York: Pantheon Books, 1949.

First edition of Joseph Campbell’s magnum opus. Octavo, original half cloth, illustrated with 22 textual drawings, 12 plates. Association copy, inscribed by Joseph Campbell on the title page to fellow writer Richard Adams, “In celebration of our meeting in friendship, as well as in the spirit- to Richard Adams, in admiration, with my warm regards and best wishes Joseph Campbell NY City 4/20/81.” Best known as the author of Watership Down, English novelist Richard Adams was heavily influenced by American professor Joseph Campbell’s work in comparative mythology, specifically the concept of the monomyth, or journey of the archetypal hero that can be applied as a common template to a range of mythological narratives. Popularized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell described the narrative pattern of the hero’s journey as follows: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” He and other scholars described the narratives of Odysseus, Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Jesus Christ in terms of the monomyth. Adams’ Watership Down exhibits strong parallels to the epic themes of Homer’s Odyssey, following a group of anthropomorphised rabbits who encounter perils and temptations on their journey to establish a new home after their warren is destroyed. Adams additionally used extracts from The Hero with a Thousand Faces as chapter epigrams throughout the novel. Richard Adams’ signature to the front free endpaper, very good in a very good dust jacket. An exceptional association copy.

In his seminal work, Joseph Campbell explores the theory that important myths from around the world have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, which he called the monomyth. Campbell's theory has been consciously applied by a wide variety of modern writers and artists, among them poet Robert Bly, novelist Richard Adams, directors Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas, and musician and lyricist Jerry Garcia.

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