Somewhere I Have Never Travelled: The Hero’s Journey by Thomas Van Nortwick, a 1996 paperback from Oxford University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Exploring the hero’s journey as a metaphor for spiritual evolution, this book combines literary, psychological, and spiritual insights to examine three ancient epics: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad, and Virgil’s Aeneid. Van Nortwick focuses on the relationship of the hero to one or more ‘second selves,’ or alter egos. Through these second selves the poems address central and enduring truths about human life: that heroism in pursuit of glory can lead to alienation from one’s self; and that spiritual wholeness can only be achieved through what appears, at first, to be the negation of the self. The discussion also serves as an introduction to the central themes and historical evolution of ancient epic.” — back cover
“It is, of course, common knowledge that great secret systems of the Mysteries (referred to in, our lectures as ‘noble orders of architecture,’ i.e., of soul-building) existed in the East, in Chaldea, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, amongst the Hebrews, amongst Mahommedans and amongst Christians; even among uncivilized African races they are to be found. All the great teachers of humanity, Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Moses, Aristotle, Virgil, the author of the Homeric poems, and the great Greek tragedians, along with St. John, St. Paul and innumerable other great names—were initiates of the Sacred Mysteries.” [via]
“In the illustrations of Purgatory there is a serene beauty, and one finds his Dante and Virgil climbing among the rough rocks under a cloudy sun, and in their sleep upon the smooth steps towards the summit, a placid, marmoreal, tender, starry rapture.” [via]