Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Alchemist: Introduction
The Alchemist: Plot Summary
The Alchemist: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Alchemist: Themes
The Alchemist: Quotes
The Alchemist: Characters
The Alchemist: Symbols
The Alchemist: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Paulo Coelho
Historical Context of The Alchemist
Other Books Related to The Alchemist
- Full Title: The Alchemist
- When Written: 1987
- Where Written: Brazil
- When Published: 1988
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Allegorical Fiction
- Setting: Southern Spain and Northern Africa
- Climax: Santiago does not discover his treasure at the pyramids, and is attacked by refugees of the desert wars. The leader of the refugees speaks of his dream about treasure, and the truth about Santiago’s treasure is revealed to him.
- Point of View: Third person limited
Extra Credit for The Alchemist
Guinness World Record. The Alchemist is the most translated book by a living author, and one of the best selling books ever, which speaks to its universal qualities. It appeals to readers from many different backgrounds.
Two weeks. It took Paulo Coelho only two weeks to write The Alchemist in the year 1987. He says that the story was already “written in [his] soul.” He was inspired by his life-changing pilgrimage in Spain on the Camino de Santiago.