The Romance of Failure

Oxford University Press, 1989

From the publisher's website:

Auerbach's book explores the fictions of three 19th-century writers--Poe, Hawthorne, and James--in which the first-person narrator is both the central actor and the retrospective teller of tale, at once hero and historian. Auerbach argues that first person is an attractive but dangerous form of self-revelation that foregrounds fundamental problems of literay representation such as how fiction come to be made, and the relation between these plots and the people who make them.