Product Image

FLIGHT OF THE WILD GANDER

Explorations in the Mythological Dimension — Selected Essays 1944-1968

In Flight of the Wild Gander, renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell — in his first collection of essays, written between 1944 and 1968 — explores the individual and geographical origins of myth, outlining the full range of mythology from Grimm’s fairy tales to American Indian legends. Originally published in 1969, this collection describes the symbolic content of stories: how they are linked to human experience and how they — along with our experiences — have changed over time. Throughout, Campbell explores the function of mythology in everyday life and the forms it may take in the future.

Included are some of Campbell’s first groundbreaking essays: “Bios and Mythos” and “Primitive Man as Metaphysician,” both of which examine the biological basis and necessity for story and mythology, and establish mythology as a basic function or fact of nature. Campbell’s essay “Mythogenesis” turns from the natural and biological to the cultural and historical — the rise, flowering, and decline of a particular myth, a single American Indian legend. Campbell explores how the myth was born, as well as the personal experiences of the visionary medicine man through whose memory the myth was preserved.

This new paperback edition joins other reissues and previously unpublished works as part of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell.

Endorsements

“In this book, as in his other work, Campbell displays his immense learning, drawing evidence to support his case from virtually every branch of human knowledge.”
The New York Times Book Review

“No one in our century — not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Lévi-Strauss — has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.”
— James Hillman

“Campbell has become one of the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture.”
Newsweek

“In our generation the mythographer who has had the fullest command of the huge scholarly literature, the analytic ability, the lucid prose, and the needed staying power has been Joseph Campbell.”
Commentary