Wayne Booth, both 1921 American Fork, Utah, has died. BYU undergrad, Chicago grad. President MLA 1982; Chicago Pullman Professor of English from 1962.
Booth’s enormous influence on the way we talk about narrative began with the publication of The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961; 2nd edition, 1983), which adapted the Aristotelian theory to consider the reader and ways in which literary texts themselves shape the audience they require. In it, he questioned the moral impact of certain narrative techniques. Booth promised an “ethics of fiction” to clarify his ideas and he delivered it, nearly thirty years later, in The Company We Keep (1988). Now retired, he is currently at work on a rhetoric of religious discourse.