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. 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.
Understanding the Seven Basic Plots
This is a truly important book, an accolade often bestowed and rarely deserved in our modern age. He has been an author and journalist for nearly 50 years, and was the founding editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Read more Read less. Frequently bought together.
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FREE Shipping. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Joseph Campbell. Victoria Lynn Schmidt. Christopher Booker. Review "This magisterial volume really does offer readers a genuinely fresh and exciting perspective on virtually every tale ever told. Read more.
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Showing of 79 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The first half of this book gets 5 stars without qualification. It is a clear explanation of the archetypes that appear in the most fundamental stories, how they work together, and the ultimate purpose for telling stories.
He then uses this archetypal system to analyze stories through the ages, down to very recent years. I found his analysis of Shakespeare, for instance, very helpful. This is what I bought the book for, and I am not at all disappointed. In some ways this book is not as immediately useful as, say, 'Save the Cat' and others like it are useful for screenwriting. However, I think this book delivers the groundwork for stories--the groundwork beyond which we cannot go.
Its information is more fundamental than the 'Save the Cat' types.
The Basic Plot Elements used by Writers to Build Narrative
If I were a literature professor, this might well be the book I started with. As he moves into how stories have gone rogue, trying to escape from the archetypal patterns, the book begins to become repetitive, and the tone begins to change from that of confident lecturer to exasperated preacher. But these chapters are still valuable. Then he applies the archetypes to history, and things become not only repetitive, especially if you already know something about history in general and the history of religion in particular, but also without clear focus.
I'm not sure he is always correct with either his facts or his analysis, although generally I consider him authoritative.
Basic Plot Types (69 of them)
It also seems to me that he is projecting the archetypes onto history, which is one of the things he warns against. Still, I find his thesis very useful, which in short is that as we lose touch with our religious ties to God, and therewith our ties to the Self Jung , we become isolated and egotistical, on both the individual level as well as the national level. And, furthermore, that story structure can tell us how we are deficient if only we have the humility to look for it, again, both as groups, even nations, and as individuals.
Ultimately these could be the most profound and important chapters of the book, but a good editor would have been useful to sort them out. For me, they were a bonus: not what I bought the book for, but a welcome introduction to the possibility of using stories to heal ourselves. This book is actually many things: - An introduction to the seven basic plots and their many associated archetypes that work in combination. An almost obligatory read for anyone who invents stories. And it's, indeed, a moralistic analysis, something that can pull the nerves of a grownup reader.
I had to overlook several paragraphs when reading. And then I saw that the stroke of midnight looked exactly like the unique creation myth in the Old Testament. The tales were identical. Vonnegut, in his ever charming way, was quite pleased with himself for making this connection. And 35 years later, his idea had resonated enough with a group of mathematicians and computer scientists that they decided to build an experiment around it.
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They collected computer-generated story arcs for nearly 2, works of fiction, classifying each into one of six core types of narratives based on what happens to the protagonist :. Their focus was on the emotional trajectory of a story, not merely its plot. They also analyzed which emotional structure writers used most, and how that contrasted with the ones readers liked best, then published a preprint paper of their findings on the scholarship website arXiv. More on that in a minute. First, the researchers had to find a workable dataset.
Using a collection of fiction from the digital library Project Gutenberg, they selected 1, English-language works of fiction between 10, and , words long. Then, they ran their dataset through a sentiment analysis to generate an emotional arc for each work. They did this by training the machine to take all the words of the book, section by section, and measure the average happiness of a given bag of words based on how an individual word scored. The researchers assigned individual happiness scores to more than 10, frequently-used words by crowdsourcing the effort on the website Mechanical Turk.
This portion of the research is fascinating in and of itself: The 10 words that people ranked as happiest were laughter, happiness, love, happy, laughed, laugh, laughing, excellent, laughs, and joy. The 10 words that people ranked as least happy were terrorist, suicide, rape, terrorism, murder, death, cancer, killed, kill, and die.
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You can see how all the words ranked by visiting this site. In this case, researchers picked six from a mix of popular lists based on what shapes the computer identified most. The categories that include the greatest total number of books are not the most popular, the researchers found.