News: Wayne C. Booth died Oct. 10

The New York Times is reporting that eminent literary critic and theorist Wayne C. Booth has died (free registration required). He was 84.

Booth was raised Mormon and served a mission, but he struggled with his faith and later grounded himself in secular humanism, basing his worldview on skepticism, rhetoric and ethics. However, he continued to engage with Mormonism, writing on Mormon literature and criticism and regularly participating in Mormon cultural fora. His work influenced faithful Mormon critics, including Richard Cracroft and Eugene England.

At the time of his death Booth was George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of English of the University of Chicago. His most famous works include The Rhetoric of Fiction and The Rhetoric of Irony. I highly recommend both. He is also the author of The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction.

4 thoughts on “News: Wayne C. Booth died Oct. 10”

  1. Booth’s literary criticism went way over my head, but he wrote some excellent essays on LDS culture for “Sunstone” and “Dialogue”. Someone should collect these into a book. 

    Posted by R.W. Rasband

  2. Like others I have great respect for Booth, including his book The Company We Keep. In addition to the compelling metaphor of reading as interacting with people, his version of “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” (page 296 in The Company We Keep) makes me laugh everytime we sing the song in sacrament meeting. 

    Posted by David Allred

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