Wayne Booth

Crossed paths with Pirsig, under McKeon at Chicago. [Obit via NYT] [via Henry] CHICAGO (AP)

Wayne Booth, a prominent literary critic and professor whose books are required reading at many universities, died Sunday. He was 84.

Booth died at his home from complications of dementia, said Josh Schonwald, a spokesman for the University of Chicago, where Booth was a faculty member for more than four decades.

Booth’s ”The Rhetoric of Fiction,” published in 1961, is ”the single most important American contribution to narrative theory — a book that continues to be read, taught and fought about,” Bill Brown, chair of the English department, said in a statement.

Other works include ”A Rhetoric of Irony” in 1974 and 1988’s “The Company We Keep, The Ethics of Fiction“. His book ”For the Love of It” was a memoir about how he became an accomplished amateur cellist, starting at age 31.

Booth joined the University of Chicago in 1962 after teaching at Haverford College and Earlham College. He also served as dean of the university’s undergraduate division from 1964 to 1969. He retired in 1992.

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