Colleagues, friends, family to remember Wayne BoothBy Jennifer Carnig
Colleagues, friends and family of the late literary critic and University faculty member Wayne Booth will celebrate his life at a University memorial service from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 1156 E. 59th St. The event is open to the public.
Speakers scheduled for the event include James Phelan, English professor at Ohio State University and editor of the journal Narrative, and J. Hillis Miller, English professor at the University of California at Irvine and a father of deconstruction from the “Yale school.”
Included from the University community will be Danielle Allen, Dean of the Division of the Humanities and Professor in Classics and the College; John Boyer, Dean of the College and Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History and the College; the Rev. Alison Boden, Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel; W.J.T. Mitchell, the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor in English Language & Literature and Art History; James Chandler, the Barbara E. & Richard J. Franke Professor in English Language & Literature and the Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities; David Bevington, the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities; and James Redfield, the Edward Olson Distinguished Service Professor in Classics and the Committee on Social Thought.
In addition to the memorial speeches, Booth’s daughter, Alison Booth, will read selections of her father’s work and the University’s artists-in-residence the Pacifica Quartet will perform.
Booth served as the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English Language & Literature, and for more than four decades he was one of the University’s most renowned scholars. As one of the 20th century’s most prominent and influential literary critics, Booth transformed the study of literature. With the publication of The Rhetoric of Fiction in 1961, he introduced a combination of technical and ethical analysis that remains important in narrative theory today.
Booth’s subsequent work, above all 1988’s The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction, became the touchstone for ethical criticism within literary studies. His latest book, a memoir titled My Many Selves: The Quest for a Plausible Harmony, was published in January.
Booth died just after completing the work on Monday, Oct. 10, at his home in Hyde Park. He was 84.