Friday, September 8, 2017

Fiction Friday: Mythic Imagination

"Mythic Imagination" is a collection of short stories written by Joseph Campbell. Only one of them was ever published while he still lived. This book of "Collected Short Fiction" was put together --- collected -- and copyrighted by the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

According to the book's jacket, the seven short stories are "extraordinary." But I'll tell you what: Even the one that was published in Campbell's lifetime is not extraordinary in any way. "Strictly Platonic" has a lame attempt at some kind of O.Henry twist at the end, and, because I know no one who reads this will ever read "Strictly Platonic," I'll tell you what the twist is:

The strictly ethical professor who has decided to flunk the star of the football team, rendering him unable to play in the most important game of his college career, which the dean is sure will mean no more funding for the college.

The professor is in love with the dean's daughter (of course). And the dean won't let him marry the daughter unless he gives the football player a passing grade. So when the football player and his classmates challenge the professor to explain the meaning of "strictly platonic," he ends up in a fist- fight with the football player. The big twist: the nerdy professor wins the fight, which brings millions of dollars into the school's funds, and the professor and the dean's daughter get married and, as the story ends, are planning how to spend their millions of dollars.

See what I mean?

So, I got this book from the library b/c I'm fascinated with Joseph Campbell's writings on mythology. And the Joseph Campbell Foundation claims that the seven stories they've collected are full of deep mythological meaning. Which may be true. I don't know. I don't care. I didn't read any of the other stories after I read this one. If Dr. Campbell couldn't publish his adolescent-male-fantasy drivel while he was alive, when people cared about stupid stories like this, why would anyone read it now?

Back to the library with this one, and a sigh of relief that I didn't pay any actual money for it. There's probably some deep mythological meaning in that. Because, as Angela pointed out the other day, "Everything is about money, isn't it!" But, again, I don't know, and I don't care.

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