Romance of Failure

Jonathan Auerbach

This book focuses on the intense intimacy between author and first-person narrator in the fictions of Poe, Hawthorne, and James: the narrator is both the central actor and the retrospective teller of his tale, at once hero and historian. Auerbach defends the beleaguered 'I' in these works against the depersonalizing tendencies of post-structuralism. In reaffirming the importance of the human subject for the study of narrative, Auerbach shows how the first-person form, in particular, underscores fundamental problems of literary representation: how fictions come to be made, and the relation between these plots and the people who make them.

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