The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0826480378
ISBN-10: 0826480373
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many writing guides have suggested that fiction contains a limited number of basic plots, and Booker offers his version at great length. Furthermore, he claims all of these plots, from "overcoming the monster" to "rebirth," are variations on "the same great basic drama," a Jungian archetypal representation of the development and integration of the mature self. The meticulous detailing of this theory in plot summaries (of everything from Beowulf to Jaws, ancient comedy to modern tragedy, Western culture and Eastern) is an imposing enough task, but Booker is just warming up. In the book's second half, he explains how the psychological shortcomings of modern authors such as Shaw and Joyce led them to reject archetypal truth in favor of writing out their own sentimental and morbid fantasies. The biographical analysis is simplistic, however, and Booker makes numerous errors in the sections on film. The transition from literary criticism to Jungian psychology might be more bearable were it not saddled with an overabundance of academic cliché surprising in a writer of Booker's extensive journalistic background (he now contributes to England's Daily Telegraph). Clearly striving for the intellectual respectability of Northrop Frye, he falls far short, and accusing those who disagree with him of suffering from "limited ego-consciousness" doesn't help his case. (Apr.)
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"…It's a tribute to the ease and fluency of his writing that at no point does it seem impenetrable or unwelcoming….full marks to Christopher Booker for recognising that genre fiction (detective stories, horror stories, romances) can be written about in the same breath, as it were, as the great masterpieces of literature." —Adele Geras, Times Educational Supplement (UK), November 2004

"…Scholarly but very readable….His book is a fascinating one…." —Leicester Mercury (UK) November 2004

"…the achievement is monumental and a tribute to the passion with which he [Booker] has pursued his interest in fiction and in story-telling…a compelling read." —Wells Journal (UK) November 2004

"…This is a work of voracious reading and unstoppable enthusiasm" —John Mullan, Evening Standard (UK) November 22, 2004

"Booker`s knowledge and understanding of imaginative literature isunrivalled, his essays on the great authors both illuminating andstimulating. This is a truly important book, an acolade often bestowed andrarely desrved in our modern age" -Dame Beryl Bainbridge, author of Every Man for Himself and winner of the Whitbred Novel Award

'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, Financial Times (UK), October 22, 2004

'This is the most extraordinary, exhilarating book. It always seemed to me that 'the story' was God's way of giving meaning to crude creation. Booker now interprets the mind of God, and analyses not just the novel - which will never to me be quite the same again - but puts the narrative of contemporary human affairs into a new perspective. If it took its author a lifetime to write, one can only feel gratitude that he did it.'Fay Weldon, novelist

'An enormous piece of work, not really one book at all but at least three …nothing less than the story of all stories. And an extraordinary tale it is ... Booker ranges over vast tracts of literature, drawing together the plots of everything from Beowulf to Bond, from Sophocles to soap opera, from Homer to Homer Simpson, to show the underlying parallels in stories from what appear to be the most disparate sources. If stories are about "what happens next", this book sets out to show that the answer is always "the same things", then to explain why. I found it absolutely fascinating.'Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye

'This is literally an incomparable book, because there is nothing to compare it with. It goes to the heart of man's cultural evolution through the stories we have told since storytelling began. It illuminates our nature, our beliefs and our collective emotions by shining a bright light on them from a completely new angle. Original, profound, fascinating - and on top of it all, a really good read.'Sir Antony Jay, co-author of Yes, Minister

'I have been quite bowled over by Christopher Booker's new book. It is so well planned with an excellent beginning and the contrasts and comparisons throughout are highly entertaining as well as informative and most original - and always extremely readable.'John Bayley

Product details

  • File Size: 1662 KB
  • Print Length: 737 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; 1 edition (November 11, 2005)
  • Publication Date: November 11, 2005
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00OG4EAU2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,677 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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