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The Ecstasy of Being: Mythology and Dance
Part of The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell
David De Vries
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Joseph Campbell’s collected writings on dance and art, edited and introduced by Nancy Allison, CMA, the founder of Jean Erdman Dance, and including Campbell’s unpublished manuscript “Mythology and Form in the Performing and Visual Arts,” the book he was working on when he died.
Dance was one of mythologist Joseph Campbell’s wide-ranging passions. His wife, Jean Erdman, was a leading figure in modern dance who worked with Martha Graham and had Merce Cunningham in her first company. When Campbell retired from teaching in 1972, he and Erdman formed the Theater of the Open Eye, where for nearly fifteen years they presented a wide array of dance and theater productions, lectures, and performance pieces.
The Ecstasy of Being brings together seven of Campbell’s previously uncollected articles on dance, along with “Mythology and Form in the Performing and Visual Arts,” the treatise that he was working on when he died, published here for the first time.
In this new collection Campbell explores the rise of modern art and dance in the twentieth century; delves into the work and philosophy of Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and others; and, as always, probes the idea of art as “the funnel through which spirit is poured into life.” This book offers the reader an accessible, yet profound and provocative, insight into Campbell’s lifelong fascination with the relationship of myth to aesthetic form and human psychology.
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