Campbell's Monomyth

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Campbell's Monomyth

Postby The Weary Professor on February 7th, 2011, 10:40 pm

Dear Tom,

Do you have any thoughts as to why Doctor Who--in all its myriad forms--clearly resonates in the psyche of so many people?

This came to mind because I am preparing to teach a new course by re-reading some works by mythologist Joseph Campbell. His idea is that all successful stories (including, presumably, Doctor Who) resonate because they touch common themes within the human psyche. In his view, all great tales must be variations of The Hero's Journey (exploration/encounter with the fantastic or unknown/triumph and redemption), which he calls the Monomyth. He even claims the story of Christ follows this pattern.

Thanks and all best wishes,

The Weary Professor
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Re: Campbell's Monomyth

Postby Tom Baker on February 20th, 2011, 5:43 pm

Dear Prof,

Stories on TV must be more powerful than mere books for obvious reasons, but Doctor Who was accidently in line with so many myths from the past. What could be more beguiling than a stranger from another universe coming down to us? A benevolent stranger perhaps wearing a long scarf and a floppy hat and spouting utter nonsense written by someone at the BBC? And when he dies, he comes back from the dead. He defeats death and smiles again and doesn't talk too much about it. And he is still here after having had ten chances at life. Ten chances! And he has learned nothing. He can't even work his Sat Nav. He doesn't even pick up after his dog. And he never talks about his father. Well, I can understand that, but never to mention his Mum! Unforgivable. I'm unforgivable too.

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