"Joseph Campbell (New York City, March 26, 1904 - Honolulu, October 30, 1987) is best known for his work in the fields of mythology and comparative religion.
The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949) is one of his best-known books: it discusses the monomyth cycle of the hero's journey, a pattern found in many cultures. His four-volume work The Masks of God covers the world of mythology.
As a child, Campbell became fascinated with Native American culture when his father took him to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He soon became versed in numerous aspects of Native American society, primarily in mythology. This led Campbell to a lifelong passion with myth and its similar, seemingly cohesive threads among all human cultures.
A graduate of Columbia University (B.A. 1925, M.A. 1927), he went on to study Medieval French and Sanskrit at the University of Paris and the University of Munich. With Henry Morton Robinson he wrote A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake, for which generations of puzzled readers of James Joyce have been grateful.
Campbell studied the ideas of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who had been a colleague of Sigmund Freud. Campbell's work in mythology sought to bridge the seemingly disparate stances of Jung and Freud and their pivotal debate over the collective unconscious, which became an embodiment of the conflicts between Western and Eastern worlds of belief. Another dissident member of Freud's circle who influenced Campbell was Wilhelm Steckel (1868 - 1939), who pioneered the application of Freud's conceptions of dreams and the unconscious to such fields as anthropology and literature.
Campbell was a professor at Sarah Lawrence College from 1934 until 1972.
Campbell collaborated with Bill Moyers on the PBS series The Power of Myth, which was first broadcast in 1988, the year after Campbell's death in Honolulu. They also jointly authored the book The Power of Myth [ISBN 0385247745] associated with the series.
George Lucas is said to have based the Star Wars series on ideas in The Hero With a Thousand Faces and other works of Campbell.
Campbell is considered by some to be one of the most famous autodidacts, or 'self-educators.' "