Several years ago I studied literature in a university. And I remember my lector told us about a book where author claims to describe all immortal themes, on which almost every fiction book, every tale and so on is based. There were from five to seven themes as I remember and themes are pretty generic, but I always wanted to read it. And unfortunately I remember no author nor book's name. So I thought maybe someone here knows what I'm talking about and tell me what is that book. I remember only one of those themes. If I'm not mistaken, one of them is called "return of the hero". The name speaks for itself.

So please, if you have thoughts what this book could be, share them with me!

  • "The Power of Myth" will help too- good compliment to "The Hero with a Thousand Faces"
    – Willow
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 17:00
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about literature, not writing or a related field. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


Probably "The Hero with a Thousand Faces", a book by Joseph Campbell, that explains how most of the myths, in various cultures, are based on the same main themes. Those themes are universal, in their symbolic meaning.

It explains in details, and with multiple examples, how the monomyth, the journey of the Hero, has to start with a reluctant character, forced to leave his initial situation, meets a mentor, goes through various trials that involves facing his own fears, then he fights the main Evil character (symbol of the father figure), and goes back to the "mortal world", changed by his journey.

(my explanation is approximative, Wikipedia may give more details)

  • Thanks! I'm not sure that it's that book, but it looks similar when reading the summary. And also thanks to your link I've found another book "seven basic plots" by Christopher Booker. It looks close to what I seek too.
    – Burundanga
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 16:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.