Wayne C. Booth

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Wayne Clayson Booth (born February 22, 1921 in American Fork , Utah , † October 10, 2005 in Chicago ) was an American literary scholar .


Booth was born in Utah in 1921. In 1944 he finished his studies at Brigham Young University with a Bachelor's Degree. After serving in the US Army during World War II , he married Phyllis Barnes in 1946 and moved to Chicago . Booth studied and received his PhD in English literature from the University of Chicago .

Wayne Booth became a professor at Haverford College and Earlham College in 1962, and later at the University of Chicago . In 1972 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . Since 1992 he was an elected member of the American Philosophical Society .

In 1992 Booth retired. Most recently he was the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of English .


In 1961 Wayne Booth wrote the book "The Rhetoric of Fiction". Other important works were "A Rhetoric of Irony" (1974) and "The Company We Keep" (1988).

One of Booth's most influential concepts was the concept of the implicit author . By referring to this fictional intrinsic authority, Booth deviated from the ruling school of New Criticism . Booth thus formulated important principles of reception aesthetics and narrative theory .

Booth also coined the term unreliable narrator .


  • A Rhetoric of Irony , University of Chicago Press 1975, ISBN 0-226-06553-7 .
  • Critical Understanding. The Powers and Limits of Pluralism , University of Chicago Press 1982, ISBN 0-226-06555-3 .
  • The Rhetoric of Fiction , University of Chicago Press 1983, ISBN 0-226-06558-8 (German The Rhetoric of the Art of Narration , 2 volumes, 1974).
  • The Company We Keep , University of Chicago Press 1990, ISBN 0-520-06210-8 .
  • with Marshall W. Gregory: Harper and Row Rhetoric. Writing As Thinking, Thinking As Writing , Harpercollins 1991, ISBN 0-06-040835-9 .
  • together with Louise M. Rosenblatt: Literature as Exploration , Modern Language Association of America 1996, ISBN 0-87352-567-1 .
  • together with Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams: The Craft of Research , University of Chicago Press 2003, ISBN 0-226-06568-5 .
  • Rhetoric of Rhetoric. The Quest for Effective Communications , Blackwell Publishers 2004, ISBN 1-4051-1237-9 .

Secondary literature

  • Frederick J. Antczak (Ed.): Rhetoric and Pluralism: Legacies of Wayne Booth . Ohio State University Press, Columbus OH 1995. ISBN 0-8142-0642-5 ( digitized version on the publisher's pages in full access).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Book of Members 1780 – present, Chapter B. (PDF; 1.2 MB) In: American Academy of Arts and Sciences (amacad.org). Retrieved May 13, 2018 .
  2. member Histoty: Wayne Clayson Booth. American Philosophical Society, accessed May 13, 2018 .