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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 200 pages
2 Reviews
“Now and then,” writes Lionel Trilling, “it is possible to observe the moral life in process of revising itself.” In this new book he is concerned with such a mutation: the process by which the arduous enterprise of sincerity, of being true to one’s self, came to occupy a place of supreme importance in the moral life—and the further shift which finds that place now usurped by the darker and still more strenuous modern ideal of authenticity. Instances range over the whole of Western literature and thought, from Shakespeare to Hegel to Sartre, from Robespierre to R.D. Laing, suggesting the contradictions and ironies to which the ideals of sincerity and authenticity give rise, most especially in contemporary life. Lucid, and brilliantly framed, its view of cultural history will give Sincerity and Authenticity an important place among the works of this distinguished critic.

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Review: Sincerity and Authenticity (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

Excellent attack on the idea of authenticity. Not sure I'm excited about the kind of sincerity he's arguing for. Read full review

Lionel Trilling = major dude

User Review  - eveninghawk - Borders

Brilliant critique of the ideas and concepts behind the words sincerity and authenticity, as they were and as they are. Read full review


Its Origin and Rise
II The Honest Soul and the Disintegrated Consciousness
III The Sentiment of Being and the Sentiments of Art
IV The Heroic the Beautiful the Authentic
V Society and Authenticity
VI The Authentic Unconscious
Reference Notes
Index of Names

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About the author (2009)

At the time of his death in 1975, Lionel Trilling was University Professor at Columbia University.

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