The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

by Christopher Booker

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Overview

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826480378
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 01/09/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 736
Sales rank: 140,592
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.40(d)

About the Author

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 jourbanalist for nearly 50 years, and was the founding editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Why Do We Tell Stories?
Chapter 1 - Overcoming the Monster - Beowulf - Red Riding Hood - Jaws Chapter 2 - The Thrilling Escape from Death - The Pit and the Pendulum - Jonah - Journal of the Plague Year Chapter 3 - Rags to Riches - The Ugly Duckling - Jane Eyre - The Gold Rush (Chaplin)
Chapter 4 - The Quest - The Odyssey - Exodus - The Aeneid - Moby Dick - Babar and Father Christmas Chapter 5 - Voyage and Return - Alice in Wonderland - Peter Pan - Rasselas - The Third Man - Orpheus and Eurydice Chapter 6 - Comedy - Aristophanes (The Wasps) - Plautus (The Pot of Gold) - Shakespeare (Love's Labours Lost, The Comedy of Errors etc) - Moliere (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme) - Sheridan (The School for Scandal)
Chapter 7 - Comedy: The Plot Disguised - Fielding (Tom Jones) - Austen (Pride and Prejudice) - P.G Wodehouse - South Pacific - Four Weddings and a Funera Chapter 8 - Tragedy Icarus - Macbeth - Don Giovanni - Anna Karenina - Bonnie and Clyde Chapter 9 - Tragedy: The Divided Self Chapter 10 - Tragedy: The Hero As Monster - Richard III - Dr Jekyll Chapter 11 - Tragedies of Redemption and Fulfilment - King Lear - Tannhauser - Samson - The Snow Goose Chapter 12 - From Shadow Into Light

Part 2: The Complete Happy Ending Chapter 13 - The Dark Figures - Crocodile Dundee Chapter 14 - Seeing Whole - The Jewel In the Crown Chapter 15 - The Perfect Balance Chapter 16 - The Unrealised Value Chapter 17 - The Archetypal Family Drama Chapter 18 - The Light Figures Chapter 19 - Reaching the Goal - The Magic Flute - Lord of the Rings -Harry Potter Chapter 20 - The Fatal Flaw

Part 3: Missing the Mark Chapter 21 - Enter the Dark Inversion - Pere Goriot - Moby Dick Chapter 22 - The Ego Takes Over: The Dark and Sentimental Versions - My Fair Lady - James Bond - Star Wars Chapter 23 - The Ego Takes Over II Clarissa - Kafka - Catcher in the Rye Chapter 24 - The Ego Takes Over III - Traviata - Tosca - Dorian Gray -You Only Live Twice Chapter 25 - Losing the Plot - Thomas Hardy A Case History Chapter 26 - Going Nowhere - Chekhov - Proust - Tender is the Night - Close Encounters of the Third Kind Chapter 27 - Why Sex and Violence? Sade - Ulysses - Last Exit to Brooklyn - A Clockwork Orange Chapter 28 - Rebelllion Against the One Job - 1984
Chapter 29 - The Mystery - Murders in the Rue Morgue - Sherlock Holmes - Citizen Kane Chapter 30 - The Riddle of the Sphinx - Sophocles - Hamlet.

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The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book should truly be considered as the definitive reference guide for all aspects of the plot element in fiction. Using a vast selection of Western classic works as examples, Christopher Booker thoroughly examines the art of storytelling and reveals the seven basic plot structures as they appear in all literature: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, Voyage and Return, The Quest, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Each type of plot is not only given a thorough, exhaustive treatment, but is also presented to the reader using everyday terminology (e.g., light/dark figures, above the line/below the line), which make this book very accessible as well as informative. This book would be a remarkable achievement if it only discussed these plot structures. Christopher Booker, however, has provided readers so much more. Using a Jungian framework, he expands his investigation of plots into a historical and psychological examination of storytelling itself. He presents readers with a complete philosophy, with stunning insights into why humanity should conceive of stories at all, and how our individual egos and humanity's inherent 'separation from nature' provide a plausible explanation. Anyone who has enjoyed the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell will be captivated by the second half of this book. The writing itself, although it could be more concise (the ideas he presents seem somewhat repetitive at times) is very 'conversational' in its tone and is truly a pleasure to read. This book, including the research and required reading necessary for its creation, took Christopher Booker over 30 years to complete! The Seven Basic Plots was a real labor of love for its author, and we readers are lucky to have it.
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