The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Nov 11, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 736 pages
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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

Starts off by delivering on the title but even before halfway starts analysing and even moralising on the history of mankind. It tries to show how our perceptions of the world and its history are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cheryl.Russell - LibraryThing

"The Seven Basic Plots Why We Tell Stories" by Christopher Booker is, at over 700 pages, overwhelming at times. Overall, I see it more as a textbook. It goes into great detail about what he considers ... Read full review


Reaching the Goal
The Fatal Flaw
Missing the Mark
Enter the Dark Inversion
The Dark and Sentimental Versions
Quest Voyage and Return Comedy
Tragedy and Rebirth
Thomas Hardy A Case History

The Plot Disguised
The Five Stages
The Divided Self
The Hero as Monster
From Shadow into Light
The Rule of Three the role played in stories by numbers
The Complete Happy Ending
Prologue to Part
The Dark Figures
The Feminine and Masculine Values
The Perfect Balance
The Unrealised Value
The Archetypal Family Drama Continued
The Light Figures
The Passive Ego The Twentieth
Why Sex and Violence? The Active Ego
From Job to Nineteen
The Mystery
Oedipus and Hamlet
Why We Tell Stories
The Ruling Consciousness
Reconnecting with The One
The Dismantling of the Self
The Light and the Shadows on the Wall
Authors Personal Note
Glossary of Terms
Index of Stories Cited

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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.

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