Saturday, January 22, 2005


Vladimir Propp, Call Your Agent

The Village Voice and the Times Literary Supplement seem none too fond of Christopher Booker's new study The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. Though his notion does sound pretty nifty, especially if you've never read a work of literary theory from the last... oh, century or so. Or for, that matter, if you haven't read any literature from the last century or two.

Carolyne Larrington's TLS takedown in the January 19th issue points out that in order to shoehorn messy post-1800 literature into his framework, Booker decides that art is broken -- epitomized by such tiresome stuff as "pop-groups," "art films" and women's "rights." ("The scare-quotes," Larrington notes drily, "are Booker's." )

Well. I'll forbear criticizing Booker until I get a chance to read the "ideas" in his "book."

But best of luck, Chris, on saving up for that time machine you've been wanting so badly!

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