Georges Polti posited that there are only 36 possible dramatic situations.  And here I thought there were only seven different stories in the world.  You can read his whole thesis here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=SK_1PdiGXhsC&dq=The+Thirty-Six+Dramatic+Situations&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=yvczTLuNG8OB8gaJ6ITJCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

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