The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

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A&C Black, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 728 pages
25 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.
  

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Review: The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

User Review  - Surin - Goodreads

A very good introduction to the concept of plot and character archetypes. As a person who has a great interest in Jungian Psychology it was interesting to see how the author was able to intepret the ... Read full review

Review: The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

User Review  - عبدالله AlSaidy - Goodreads

A recurring theme throughout the literary cannon is the quest. The quest manifests itself in renowned tales such as Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Divine Comedy, and popular contemporary works like JRR ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction and historical notes
1
THE SEVEN GATEWAYS TO THE UNDERWORLD
7
Prologue to Part One
17
Overcoming the Monster
21
The Monster II and the Thrilling Escape From Death
31
Rags to Riches
51
The Quest
69
Voyage and Return
87
Prologue to Part Two
239
The Dark Figures
241
The Feminine and Masculine Values
253
The Perfect Balance
267
The Unrealised Value
277
The Archetypal Family Drama Continued
289
The Light Figures
297
Reaching the Goal
311

Comedy
107
The Plot Disguised
131
The Five Stages
153
The Divided Self
173
The Hero as Monster
181
Rebirth
193
From Shadow into Light
215
The Rule of Three the role played in stories by numbers
229
THE COMPLETE HAPPY ENDING
237
The Fatal Flaw
329
Enter the Dark Inversion
347
End From Chekhov to Close Encounters
425
Why Sex and Violence? The Active Ego The TwentiethCentury
455
WHY WE TELL STORIES
541
The Light and the Shadows on the Wall
699
Glossary of Terms
707
Index of Stories Cited
715
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

As a noted commentator on the political, social and psychological history of our time, Christopher Booker has in recent years, through his weekly Sunday Telegraph column, become the most conspicuous 'global warming sceptic' in the British press. He has based his view on exhaustive research into the scientific evidence for and against the theory of 'man-made climate change'.

His professional interest in this issue grew out of research for his previous book Scared To Death, co-written with Dr Richard North, a study of the 'scare phenomenon' which has been such a prominent feature of Western life in recent decades. Booker's other recent books have included The Seven Basic Plots, a best-selling analysis of why we tell stories which has established itself as a standard text (also published by 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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