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Evans Lansing Smith is Chair and Core Faculty of the Mythological Studies Program at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Santa Barbara, CA. In the 1970s he traveled with the late Joseph Campbell on tours of Northern France, Egypt, and Kenya. He is the author of thirteen books (including two recent volumes of poems) and numerous articles on comparative literature and mythology. He has his Ph.D. from The Claremont Graduate School, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch International (London and Dublin), and a B.A. from Williams College. He has taught at colleges and universities in Switzerland, Maryland, Texas, and California, and is the recipient of awards for distinguished teaching and publication from Midwestern State University, and the Pacifica Graduate Institute. In addition, he has lectured at the C.G. Jung Institutes in Küsnacht and New York, The Seattle Friends of Jung, the Modern Language Association, the American Popular Culture Association, the Ojai Writer’s Conference, the Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the Casa dei Pesci in Circeo San Felice, Italy. His edited volume of Joseph Campbell’s writings and lectures on the Grail Romances was published in the Collected Works Series by New World Publishing in November, 2015, and his edition of the Correspondences of Joseph Campbell is forthcoming.

Education: Ph.D., 1986, M.A., 1980, The Claremont Graduate School
M.A., Creative Writing, 1976, Antioch International (London and Dublin)
B.A., English, 1972, Williams College
Certificate, 1984, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, (UCLA / Cambridge): Modern English Fiction Studies
Certificate, 1983, Warnborough College (Oxford, England), Studies in Literature and Mythology.


Positions Held 2010-Present: Core Faculty and Chair of the Mythological Studies Program, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.
  2005-2010: Adjunct Faculty, Mythological Studies Program, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.

1990-2010: Professor of English, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX.

  1988-90: Assistant Professor of English, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD
  1986-88: Assistant Professor of English, Franklin College, Lugano, Switzerland
  1984-86: Instructor of English, Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA
  1986: Instructor of English, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
  1980-86: Instructor of English, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA
Awards Distinguished Professor of the Year. Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012.

Hardin Professor, Midwestern State University, 2003

  Nominated for International Writer of the Year by the International Biography Centre (Cambridge, England)
Books Middleburg: A Mystery in Verse. Santa Barbara: Coniunctio Editions, 2017

Romance of the Grail: The Magic and Mystery of Arthurian Myth. Collected Works of Joseph Campbell. CA: New World Publishing, 2015.

Haiku for Aphrodite: Poems. Santa Barbara: Coniunctio Editions, 2013.

Thomas Pynchon and the Postmodern Mythology of the Underworld. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.

Postmodern Magus: Myth and Poetics in the Works of James Merrill, The University of Iowa Press, 2008.

World Mythology: The Complete Idiot’s Guide. With Nathan Brown. New York: Alpha Books (Penguin Publishing), 2008.
The Myth of the Descent to the Underworld in Postmodern Literature, The Edwin Mellen Press, September 2003.
Sacred Mysteries: Myths About Couples in Quest. Nevada City, CA: Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2003.
The Descent to the Underworld in Literature, Painting, and Film: 1895-1950: The Modernist Nekyia, The Edwin Mellen Press, July 2001.
The Hero Journey in Literature. Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, 1997.
Figuring Poesis: A Mythical Geometry of Postmodernism. New York: Peter Lang, 1997.
Ricorso and Revelation: An Archetypal Poetics of Modernism. Greenville, SC: Camden House, 1995.
Rape and Revelation: The Descent to the Underworld in Modernism.   Lanham: University Press of America, 1990.



“Remembering Walter Odajnyk.” Editor and Contributor. Quadrant. XLIV: 1 Winter 2014.

“Remembering the Dead: Prologue to a Memoir.” Studying the Dead: The Grateful Dead Scholars Caucus. An Informal History. Ed. Nicholas Meriwether. Lanham, Toronto, Plymouth UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2013.


“Keeping the Spirit of Story Alive,” Book Review in Storytelling, Self, and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies (Routledge): 8.12, 130-131.


“The Myth in the Moon,” an Interview with John Marboe, Conduit: Night Light (23: Spring 2012).


“Joseph Campbell and the Arthurian Romances of the Middle Ages.” Teaching with Heart and Soul. Ed. Dennis Slattery and Jennifer Selig. 2008.


David Pike: Metropolis on the Styx. Book Review. American Historical Review (June 2008).


“The Goddess and the Underworld in Modernism: Marguerite Yourcenar’s Feux.   Re-Embroidering the Robe: Faith, Myth and Literary Creation since 1850.   Ed. Suzanne Bray, Adrienne E. Gavin, and Peter Merchant. Newcastle, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008


“Voices From the Well: A Review of Dennis Slattery’s Harvesting the Darkness.” Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche. 1.4 (Fall 2007): 81-83.


“An American Nekyia: Terrapin Station and the Descent to the Underworld.” All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon, Edited by Nicholas Meriwether, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.


“Lady with a Fan: An American Nekyia,” Faculty Papers of Midwestern State University, Edited by Stuart McClintock, Series 3, Vol. XVI, 2006-2006.

“James Merrill’s ‘Lost in Translation,” The Explicator, 59.3 (Spring 2001): 156-59.

  “Remembering the Dead: Prologue to a Memoir,” Dead Letters, Inaugural Issue, 1 (January 2001): 49-55.
  “Depth Psychology: Meditations in the Field,” Book Review. The Salt Journal, 3.1 (Winter 2001): 7.
  “Postmodernist Revisionings of the Grail: Leonora Carrington, Umberto Eco, Thomas Pynchon,” Mythosphere: A Journal for Image, Myth, and Symbol, 1.4 (1999): 507-22.
“Doorways, Divestiture, and the Eye of Wrath: Tracking an Archetype.” Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts. 2.1 (Summer 1999): 11-28.
“The Lyrical Nekyia: Metaphors of Poesis in Wallace Stevens,” The Journal of Modern Literature XXI, 2 (Winter 1997-98): 201-08.
“Amazing Underworlds: Yourcenar’s Fires and Nabokov’s Pale Fire. The Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature, 45/46 (1997/1998): 105-31.
“Myths of Poesis, Hermeneusis, and Psychogenesis: Hoffmann, Tagore, and Gilman”, Studies in Short Fiction, 34 (1997): 227-36.
“Framing the Underworld: Threshold Imagery in the Films of Murnau, Cocteau, and Bergman.” Literature / Film Quarterly. 24.3 (Spring, 1996): 241-54.
“The Hermetic Tradition in James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover,” Cauda Pavonis: Studies in Hermeticism, New Series, 15.1 (Spring 1996): 7-12.
“The Golem and the Garland of Letters in Borges and Broch.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. Special Issue. 7.2-3 (1996): 177-90.
“Re-Figuring Revelation: D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Hermann Broch,” Faculty Papers: Midwestern State University, Series 3, Vol. XII, 1992-1994 (1995): 113-27.
“Alchemical Imagery in Modernism.” Cauda Pavonis: Studies in Hermeticism. New Series. 13.1 (Spring 1994): 11-18.
“The Mythical Method of Descent into Hell.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, Charles Williams, General Fantasy and Mythic Studies. Spring (1994). 76:10-15.
“Perinatal Imagery in Hamlet.” The Explicator. 52.3 (1994):137-40.
“The Descent to the Underworld in Borges and Cortázar.” The Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature. 40 (1992): 105-115.
“Form and Function in T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Quondam et Futurus: A Journal of Arthurian Interpretations, 1 (1991): 39-52.
“Frost’s ‘On a Bird Singing in Its Sleep,’ ‘Never Again Would Birdsong Be the Same,’ ‘The Silken Tent.’“The Explicator. 50 (1991): 35-37.
“Re-Figuring Revelation: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.” The American Transcendental Quarterly. 4 (1990): 91-104.
“The Arthurian Underworld of Modernism: Thomas Mann, Thomas Pynchon, Robertson Davies.” Arthurian Interpretations. 4 (1990): 50-64.
“The Descent to the Underworld: Jung and His Brothers” C.G. Jung and the Humanities: Towards a Hermeneutics of Culture. Ed. Karin Barnaby and Pellegrino D’Acierno. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1990: 251-64.
Poems “Myths to Live By.” Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche.” (2014) 8:4, 43-44. Routledge.

“Sonnet to Orpheus (2.29).” Quadrant. Winter: XLIV: 1 (2014).

Haiku for Aphrodite. Santa Barbara, CA: Coniunctio, 2013.

“Jul 14: Kerry” Poem, Dublin Worksheets Dublin, (Summer, 1976)

  “I” and “Die Lorelei,” Two Poems, Atlantic Review, London (Fall, 1975)
 Public Lectures:
“Mythologies of the Underworld.” C.G. Jung Institute, Küsnacht, Switzerland. February, 2014.

“Squaring the Archetypal Triangle: Jung, Hesse, Mann, and Joyce.” C.G. Jung Institute, Küsnacht, Switzerland. February, 2014.

“Jung and the Underworld.” Pacifica Adventure for Brazilian Gathering. 2013.

“Mythologies of Creative Transformation at Midlife.” World President’s Organization. Carpinteria, CA. 2013.

“Mythologies of Reading and Writing.” The Writer’s Journey. Pacifica Public Programs. 2013.

“Joseph Campbell and the Hero Journey for Writers.” Ojai Film Festival, October, 2012.

“Mythologies of the Underworld for Writers,” Ojai Writer’s Foundation, June, 2012.

“A Mythical Geometry of Postmodernism,” Art and Psyche Conference, San Francisco, May, 2008.

“Mythological Images of Creation and Violence,” Myth and Violence Conference, Foundation of Mythological Studies, Fall, 2007.

“Myths of the Apocalypse in Tennyson and Merrill,” Nature and Psyche Conference, Foundation for Mythological Studies, 2006.

“Joseph Campbell and the Arthurian Romance,” Harvesting the Dream Conference, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2006.

“Myths of Celestial Ascent: Black Elk Speaks,” at the Annual meeting of the South Central Modern Language Association in Dallas, TX.

“Refiguring Revelation: The Myth of Apocalypse in the Poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson and James Merrill” at the Nature and Human Nature Conference, sponsored by the Foundation for Mythological Studies in Montecito, CA.

“Joseph Campbell and the Arthurian Romance,” Paper presentation. The Southwest/Texas regional meeting of the American Popular Culture Association. Albuquerque, New Mexico. February, 2006.

“Black Elk Speaks,” Paper presentation, American Studies Association of Texas, Midwestern State University, 2006.

“Joseph Campbell and the Arthurian Romance,” Harvesting the Dream: 30th Anniversary of the Pacifica Graduate Institute, June, 2006.

“Changing Images of the Grail: The Arthurian Romances from the Middle Ages to Postmodernism.” Lecture Series, Pacifica Graduate Institute, May–July, 2005.

  An American Nekyia: The Grateful Dead and the Descent to the Underworld,” Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association, Albuquerque, NM, March 7, 2001
  “The Buddhist Nekyia,” MLA Special Session, “Victorian Buddhism,” December 28, 2000.
  “Remembering the Dead,” Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association, Albuquerque, NM, 2000
  “Remembering the Dead: Prologue to a Memoir,” Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association, Albuquerque, NM, 1999.
  “The Apocalypse in Art” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays, Spring 1997)
  “Poetic Images of the Divine Feminine: Hildegard von Bingen and the Virgin Mary” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays, Fall 1996)
  “Myths and Images of Creation,” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1995)
  “Geometrical Symbolism in Religion, Myth, and Art,” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1994)
  “The Mythic Image in the Humanities.”   Two day weekend series.   Weatherford Community College, February, 1993.
  “The Hermetic Traditions of the Renaissance,” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1993)
  “The Myth of the Great Goddess,” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1992)
  “The Myth of the Maze,” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1992)
  “Re-Figuring Revelation: Mann, Broch, and Cortázar.” MLA Special Session: “End of Century, End of World.” December, 1992
  “The Arthurian Romance and the Hero Journey,” Slide-illustrated lecture, North Texas Teachers Association, Burkburnett High School (TX), (1992)
  “Re-Figuring Revelation: The Apocalypse and Modernism,” Faculty Forum Lecture, Midwestern State University, 1991.
  “The Arthurian Romance in the Middle Ages,” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1991)
  “The Descent to the Underworld” Slide-illustrated lecture, First Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX (Four Sundays 1991)
  “The Goddess Goes Down: Inanna and Persephone,” Women’s Studies Seminar Series, Franklin College, Switzerland (1987)
  “Hermann Broch’s Realm of Shadows,” Franklin Seminars, Switzerland (1987)
  “Mythological Images of the Feminine, “C.G. Jung Club of Claremont, CA (1984),Six Week Seminar Series (1985), Franklin Seminars, Switzerland (1986)
  “Jung and His Brothers,” Conference Paper, C.G. Jung and the Humanities, Hofstra University (Fall 1986)
  “An Archetypal Poetics of the Underworld,” C.G. Jung Club of Claremont, CA (1986), Humanities Collegium, The Claremont Graduate School (1985)
Continuing Education: Joseph Campbell, Travel Seminar: Egypt and Kenya (1977), The Open Eye Foundation, NY
  Joseph Campbell: The Arthurian Romance, Travel Seminar, Northern France (1976), Mann Ranch Seminars, CA
  Joseph Campbell: “Mythologies of Transformation,” Weekend Seminar, The Open Eye Foundation, New York, NY (1979)
  Joseph Campbell: “The Great Goddess,” Week-Long Seminar, Human Relations Institute, Santa Barbara, CA (1983)
  Joseph Campbell: “James Joyce and Thomas Mann,” Week-Long Seminar, C.G. Jung Institute, San Francisco, CA (1982)
  Joseph Campbell: “The Masks of God” Week-Long Seminar, Human Relations Institute, Santa Barbara, CA (1981)
  “Arthur of Avalon: Medieval and Modern” NEH Summer Institute, 1988, SUNY Binghamton
  James Hillman: “Oedipus Revisited” Eranos Lectures, Ascona, Switzerland (1987)
  James Hillman: “Myths and Fairy Tales” Week-Long Seminar, Human Relations Institute, Santa Barbara, CA (1981)
  James Hillman: “Hillman, Jung, and Whitehead” Conference, Center for Process Studies, School of Theology, Claremont, CA (1984)
  James Hillman: “Anima Mundi” Week-Long Seminar, Human Relations Institute, Santa Barbara, CA (1983)
  Edward Edinger: “The New Testament and Individuation” Weekend Seminar, C.G. Jung Club of Claremont, Claremont, CA (1983)
  Christine Downing: “Mythic Sisters” Weekend Seminar, C.G. Jung Club of Claremont, Claremont, CA (1982)
  Stanislav Grof: “Myths of Death and Birth” Week-Long Seminar, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA (1982)
  Robert Johnson: “Tristan and Isolde” Weekend Seminar, C.G. Jung Club of Claremont, Claremont, CA (1984)

Susan Rowland, “Shakespeare in Depth,” February, 2015, Pacifica Graduate Institute, CA.


7 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello,

    I’m in Cleveland, Ohio and am just finding your work now through the Romance of the Grail intro you wrote. I’m grateful for your generous career, heart and mind. We may never meet but I want you to know your life is making beautiful ripples over this way.

    Christopher Reynolds
    http://www.urrealist dot com

  2. I’ve just been part of the audience for your talk entitled “Myths of Descent to the Underworld’ – fabulous stuff! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  3. Hello:

    I am very interested on taking the 2024 Mythological Studies tour you are planning focusing on the Grail mythologies in Northern France and Southwestern England. Could you send details such as costs and travel arrangements?


    Michael Kilpatrick

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