The relationship between Wayne Booth and Wolfgang Iser, two important critical voices with regard to the novel, has often been hinted at, but never studied in detail. In this article, I suggest that both critics share an interest in the text's implied author and reader. Additionally, they agree that the act of reading allows us to enact a form of 'hypocritical' roleplaying that is an essential part of human life and learning. Despite these similarities, both critics offer radically different evaluations of the communicative indeterminacy and moral otherness encountered in modernist and existentialist novels. These differing aesthetic choices can ultimately be traced back to the institutional contexts of both critics; whereas Booth's Neo-Aristotelian background leads to an emphasis on classical craft, Iser's Poetik und Hermeneutik-activities lead to an emphasis on modernist 'realisrr. Ultimately, this comparison suggests that we should reconsider the ethical and anthropological functions of reading as well as the traditional and functional dimensions of modernism.