English 793B: Wayne Booth Randy Harris, conductor, Spring 03

Course epitome

Wayne Booth is one of the most consistently interesting, but also one of the most consistently underestimated, critics of the latter 20th C. His driving theme is the rhetorical resources that encourage, obstruct, or refine agreement: and, therefore, belief, knowledge, and action. We will read a range of his books, engage his issues, and seek agreement about the value of his critical pluralism, not only for understanding texts, but also for understanding each other.

Required texts

Wayne Booth. The rhetoric of fiction. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983; ISBN 0-226-06558-8.

Wayne Booth. Modern dogma and the rhetoric of assent. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974; ISBN 0-226-06572-3.

Wayne Booth. A rhetoric of irony. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974; ISBN 0-226-06553-7.

Wayne Booth. The company we keep: an ethics of fiction. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989; ISBN 0-520-06210-8

On reserve

Rhetoric and pluralism: legacies of Wayne Booth. Edited by Frederick Antczak. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1995; ISBN 0-8124-0643-3.

Wayne Booth. Now don't try to reason with me: essays and ironies for a credulous age. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1970; ISBN 0-608-20598-2.

Gregory C. Clark. "Wayne Booth". Twentieth-century rhetorics and rhetoricians: critical studies and sources. Michael G. Moran and Michelle Ballif, editors. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000, pages 49-51; ISBN 0-313-30391-6.


Essay 50%
Course participation 50%
Group presentation
Peer assessment
Class discussion

Booth links

Booth's 1987 Ryerson lecture

Emory Report Interview

Booth-Lewontin exchange

Modern dogma notes

The company we keep notes

Schedule: Click me

Presentation: Click me

Conductor email: Randy Harris