Joseph Campbell’s Reading List

Here is “the master reading list for Campbell’s famous Introduction to Mythology class, which he taught at Sarah Lawrence College from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s. This reading list gives a sense of the material covered in this class, but also an insight into the authors and books that most influenced Campbell in his own thinking.” –  taken from
1. Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (Dodo Press) – By Henry Adams

2. Prometheus Bound (Greek Tragedy in New Translations)
- By Aeschylus

3.Patterns of Culture – By Ruth Benedict

4.They Wrote on Clay: The Babylonian Tablets Speak Today (Phoenix Books)
- By Edward Chiera

5.The Analects of Confucius – By Arthur Waley

6.The Dance Of Siva – By Ananda Coomaraswamy

7.Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti – By Maya Deren

8.The Elementary Forms of Religious Life  – By Emile Durkheim

9.Euripides I: Alcestis, The Medea, The Heracleidae, Hippolytus (The Complete Greek Tragedies) (Vol 3)
- By Euripides

10.The Golden Bough: Abridged Edition (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
- By James Frazer

11.The Interpretation of Dreams – By Sigmund Freud

12.Totem and Taboo (The Standard Edition) (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud)
- By Sigmund Freud

13.Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex – By Sigmund Freud

14.Moses and Monotheism – By Sigmund Freud

15. African Genesis: Folk Tales and Myths of Africa
- By Leo Frobenius, Douglas C. Fox

16.The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – By Brothers Grimm

17.Zen in the Art of Archery – By Eugen Herrigel

18.Death in Venice and Other Stories (Signet Classics)
- By Thomas Mann

19.Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (Melville) – By Herman Melville

20.Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
By Friedrich Nietzsche

21.The Book of Tea (Stone Bridge Classics) – By Kakuzo Okakura

22.Myths and Tales of the Jicarilla Apache Indians (Native American)
- By Edward Morris Opler

23.The Metamorphoses of Ovid – By Ovid

24.Phaedrus – By Plato

25.Symposium – By Plato

26.Oedipus Tyrannus: A New Translation. Passages from Ancient Authors. Religion and Psychology: Some Studies. Criticism
 – By Sophocles

27.Tales of the North American Indians (Native American)
- By Stith Thompson

28.The Tao of the Tao Te Ching (Suny Series in Chinese Philosophy & Culture) (Suny Series, Chinese Philosophy & Culture)
- By Michael LaFargue

29.The Art of War (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor)
- By Sun Tzu

30.The Way of Zen – By Alan W. Watts

31.The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life
- From Mariner Books

32.Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)
- From W. W. Norton & Company

33.The Bhagavad Gita (Oxford World’s Classics)

34.The New Jerusalem Bible: Standard edition – By Henry Wansbrough

35.The Koran (Penguin Classics) – By Anonymous

36.The Mabinogion (Penguin Classics) – By Anonymous

Which texts have you read? And/or what are some favourite extracts from them?


  1. Big lover of Campbell. Two sets of ‘Masks’, one all dog eared, torn, and annotated, brighten my household. Read ‘The Hero With…’ at least twice, and due for another pass. One of the true Giants of the twentieth century, sadly though, almost going underground. Hopefully he takes deep root and one day nourishes a better tomorrow.

    1. Nourishes a better tomorrow – how beautiful. I’m ‘wading’ through “Hero”, alongside “The Great Disruption” by Paul Gilding which seems apt as Campbell talked about the earth bringing cultures/people together, uniting them, almost as one religion.

  2. Was contemplating another pass at the Masks Of God series, but turned to ‘Hero’ first instead. Books such as these, and there’s fewer of them than we think, are better with each reading. I’m always amazed that with all the casting about for answers going on around us, more people haven’t discovered or read good ole’ Joe.

I love reading your comments, kia ora for taking the time to share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s