Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

A term devised by Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) in The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949) to designate the single "shape-shifting yet marvellously constant story" at the heart of the "mythological hero narrative". Campbell's simplest version is: "A hero ventures forth from the world of common clay into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man."

There is a loose but usable consonance between this three-part rendering of the monomyth and the model of Fantasy narrative employed in this encyclopedia, though of course the latter is meant to encompass many narratives which are not built around the central Quest of a culture Hero. [JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.