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Romance of the Grail


Joseph Campbell made the power of story undeniable through the power of his own storytelling. Editor Evans Lansing Smith here collects Campbell writings on Arthurian legends that make events like Merlin’s death and the Lady of the Lake retrieving Excalibur not just vibrant but also central to the mythologist’s thinking. Three cornerstones of Campbell’s celebrated scholarship are found here. The Arthurian myths opened the world of comparative mythology to Campbell, turning his attention to the Near and Far Eastern roots of myth.  Calling the Arthurian myths the world’s first “secular mythology,” Campbell found metaphors in them for human stages of growth, development, and psychology. Finally, the myths exemplify a kind of love Campbell called Amor in which individuals become more fully themselves through connection. Campbell’s infectious delight in his discoveries makes them essential for anyone intrigued by the stories we tell — and the stories behind them.

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