The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing, Nov 11, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 736 pages
6 Reviews
This remarkable and monumental book at last provides a comprehensive answer to the age-old riddle of whether there are only a small number of 'basic stories' in the world. Using a wealth of examples, from ancient myths and folk tales via the plays and novels of great literature to the popular movies and TV soap operas of today, it shows that there are seven archetypal themes which recur throughout every kind of storytelling.
But this is only the prelude to an investigation into how and why we are 'programmed' to imagine stories in these ways, and how they relate to the inmost patterns of human psychology. Drawing on a vast array of examples, from Proust to detective stories, from the Marquis de Sade to E.T., Christopher Booker then leads us through the extraordinary changes in the nature of storytelling over the past 200 years, and why so many stories have 'lost the plot' by losing touch with their underlying archetypal purpose.
Booker analyses why evolution has given us the need to tell stories and illustrates how storytelling has provided a uniquely revealing mirror to mankind's psychological development over the past 5000 years.
This seminal book opens up in an entirely new way our understanding of the real purpose storytelling plays in our lives, and will be a talking point for years to come.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
0
4 stars
2
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
2

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - texascheeseman - LibraryThing

The Seven Basic Plots Author: Christopher Booker Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Published In: New York City, NY / London, UK Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JMJ_Williamson - LibraryThing

This is quite an academic tombstone of a book to read. I enjoyed it, but it will not be everyone's choice. If you're looking for a practical guide on story structure this is not it. There are lots of ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction and historical notes
1
THE SEVEN GATEWAYS TO THE UNDERWORLD
15
THE COMPLETE HAPPY ENDING
237
MISSING THE MARK
345
WHY WE TELL STORIES
541
The Light and the Shadows on the Wall
699
Authors Personal Note
703
Glossary of Terms
707
Bibliography
711
Index of Stories Cited
715
General Index
720
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Christopher Booker writes for the Sunday Telegraph and is the bestselling author of The Seven Basic Plots, The Real Global Warming Disaster, The Great Deception and Scared to Death (all published by Bloomsbury Continuum). He has been an author and journalist for nearly 50 years, and was the founding editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Bibliographic information