Cover image for The inner reaches of outer space : metaphor as myth and as religion
The inner reaches of outer space : metaphor as myth and as religion
Campbell, Joseph, 1904-1987.
Publication Information:
Novato, Calif. : New World Library, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxv, 148 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: New York : A. van der Marck, c1986.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL311 .C263 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Developed from a memorable series of lectures delivered in San Francisco, which included a legendary symposium at the Palace of Fine Arts with astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Joseph Campbell's last book explores the space age. Campbell posits that the newly discovered laws of outer space are actually at work within human beings as well and that a new mythology is implicit in this realization. He examines the new mythology and other questions in these essays which he described as "a broadly shared spiritual adventure."

Author Notes

Joseph Campbell was born in White Plains, New York on March 26, 1904. He received a B.A. in English literature in 1925 and an M.A. in Medieval literature in 1927 from Columbia University. He was awarded a Proudfit Traveling Fellowship to continue his studies at the University of Paris. After he had received and rejected an offer to teach at his high school alma mater, his Fellowship was renewed, and he traveled to Germany to resume his studies at the University of Munich. During the year he was housemaster of Canterbury School, he sold his first short story, Strictly Platonic, to Liberty magazine. In 1934, he accepted a position in the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he would retain until retiring in 1972.

During his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books including The Hero with a Thousand Faces, The Mythic Image, the four-volume The Masks of God, and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. During the 1940s and 1950s, he collaborated with Swami Nikhilananda on translations of the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He received several awards including National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Contributions to Creative Literature and the 1985 National Arts Club Gold Medal of Honor in Literature. He died after a brief struggle with cancer on October 30, 1987.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Originally published in 1986, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, a collection of essays based on lectures Campbell delivered in San Francisco in the early 1980s, has been re-released in this beautiful edition as part of the "Collected Works of Joseph Campbell." Campbell's profound understanding of mythology is the background for his call to audiences today to create the new mythology of the space age, one that unites individuals in a single human culture; in so doing, people must give up the divisive, local mythologies of the past. In positing this new inclusive mythology, Campbell relates the laws of outer space to the "inner reaches" of the self. He goes on to show that myths point to transcendence, not to the desires of the material world. Finally, linking the artist with the mystic, Campbell discusses art as a way to transcendence; he says that today's artists are creating the mythology of the future. Thus, art, science, myth, and religion are brought together in a way that suggests the unity of human thought and belief. Excellent print quality, binding, notes, and illustrations. For all collections. N. B. Palmer Western Maryland College

Table of Contents

About the Collected Works of Joseph Campbellp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Introduction: Myth and the Bodyp. xiii
Chapter I Cosmology and the Mythic Imaginationp. 1
Chapter II Metaphor As Myth and As Religionp. 27
The Problemp. 27
Metaphor As Fact and Fact As Metaphorp. 31
Metaphors of Psychological Transformationp. 35
Threshold Figuresp. 40
The Metaphorical Journeyp. 63
Metaphorical Identificationp. 70
The Net of Gemsp. 76
Chapter III The Way of Artp. 89
Chapter Notesp. 119
A Joseph Campbell Bibliographyp. 129
Acknowledgmentsp. 133
Indexp. 135
About the Authorp. 145
About the Joseph Campbell Foundationp. 147