Many know Joseph Campbell as the charming, erudite, best-professor-you-ever-had figure chatting with Bill Moyers in the The Power of Myth series. But Campbell’s posthumously published Collected Works (500,000 copies sold) reveal a perhaps unsuspected range of interests and knowledge.
The Ecstasy of Being is a prime example. Modern dance was the profession of Campbell’s wife, Jean Erdman, and the project the pair collaborated on when Campbell retired from teaching and the couple formed their Theater of the Open Eye. In these writings Campbell explores the rise of modern art and dance in the 20th century; delves into the work and philosophy of Isadora Duncan; and, as ever, probes the idea of art “as the funnel through which spirit is poured into life.”