The Seven Basic Plots
- Pages: 736
- Year: 2019
- Book Code: Paperback
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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.
About the Author
Christopher Booker was a founding editor of Private Eye, to which he regularly contributed, and also wrote a longstanding column for the Sunday Telegraph. His bestselling books include The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, The Real Global Warming Disaster, The Great Deception, The Mad Officials, Scared to Death and The Neophiliacs. Booker died in July 2019.
“....remarkable parallels between the structure of the modern film Jaws and that of the Old English Beowulf.” ―Writing Magazine
“If you have any interest in fiction and the way it works, you will enjoy this exploration of the seven basic plots and how they have been adapted and developed across the centuries.” ―Writing Magazine
“This magisterial volume really does offer readers a genuinely fresh and exciting perspective on virtually every tale ever told. --Bookmark, July 2005” ―Bookmark
“Fantastically entertaining” ―The Times
“Excerpts included in Gotham Writer's Workshop monthly e-newsletter for screenwriters.” ―Gotham Writer's Workshop
“This book...has mind-expanding properties. Not only for anyone interested in literature, but also for those fascinated by wider questions of how human beings organise their societies and explain the outside world to their inmost selves, it is fascinating.” ―Katherine Sale, FT
“Christopher Booker's mammoth account of plot types, archetypes, their role in literary history and where Western culture has gone horribly wrong.” ―Times Literary Supplement
“His prose is a model of clarity, and his lively enthusiamsm for fictions of every description is infectious...The Seven Basic Plots is...one of the most diverting works on storytelling I've ever encountered.” ―Dennis Dutton, The Washington Post
The Seven Basic Plots,