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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.