The Seven Basic Plots

The Seven Basic Plots : Why We Tell Stories

By (author) Christopher Booker

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This is a monumental work of breath-taking originality - the fruit of a lifetime's research and reading that will unlock the secrets of stories through the ages for all. From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Jaws and Schindler's List, Christopher Booker examines in details the stories that underlie literature and the plots that are basic to story-telling through the ages. In this magisterial work he examines the plots of films, opera libretti and the contemporary novel and short story. Underlying the stories he examines are seven basic plots: rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; the hero as monster; rebirth, and so on. Booker shows that the images and stories serve a far deeper and more significant purpose in our lives than we have realised hitherto. In the definition of these basic plots, Booker shows us entering a realm in which the recognition of the plots proves to be only the gateway. We are in fact uncovering a kind of hidden universal language: a nucleus of situations and figures that are the very stuff from which stories are made. With Booker's exploration, there is literally no story in the world that cannot be seen in a new light. We have come to the heart of what stories are about, and why we tell them. Here, Christopher Booker moves on from some of the themes he outlined in his best-selling book The Neophiliacs. Seven Basic Plots is unquestionably his most important book to date.

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  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 166 x 234 x 56mm | 1,279.14g
  • 21 Oct 2004
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
  • London
  • English
  • 0826452094
  • 9780826452092
  • 1,764,730

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Author Information

Christopher Booker was one of the founders of Private Eye. He writes a weekly column for The Sunday Telegraph. He has published many books including The Neophiliacs, Castle of Lies and The Great Deception. He still writes for Private Eye.

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Review quote

"'I am overwhelmed by the immensity of [this] intellectual, literary, cultural and psychological achievement. [Booker has] encompassed the great European canon, mastered it, penetrated it and laid bare its anatomy and physiology.' Anthony Stevens"

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