Sincerity: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars, modern art, hipster chic, and the curious notion that we all have something to say (no matter how dull)

Sincerity: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars, modern art, hipster chic, and the curious notion that we all have something to say (no matter how dull)

by R. Jay Magill

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Overview

Sincerity: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars, modern art, hipster chic, and the curious notion that we all have something to say (no matter how dull) by R. Jay Magill

People have long been duped by “straight-talking” politicians, confessional talk-show hosts, and fake-earnest advertisers. As sincerity has become suspect, the upright and honest have taken refuge in irony. Yet our struggle for authenticity in back-to-the-woods movements,
folksy songwriting, and a craving for plainspoken presidential candidates betrays our longing for the holy grail of sincerity.

Bringing deep historical perspective and a brilliant contemporary spin to Lionel Trilling’s 1972 Sincerity and Authenticity, R. Jay Magill Jr.
argues that we can’t shake sincerity’s deep theological past, emotional resonance, and the sense of conscience it has carved in the Western soul. From Protestant theology to paintings by crazy people, from French satire to the anti-hipster movement, Magill navigates history, religion, art, and politics to create a portrait of an ideal that, despite its abuse, remains a strange magnetic north in our secular moral compass.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393080988
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/16/2012
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

R. Jay Magill Jr., the author of Chic Ironic Bitterness, is an editor and writer at the American Academy in Berlin. He host the American Academy's NPR show, and his writing has appeared in publications including the American Interest and the New York Times.

Table of Contents

Introduction 11

I Reform Thyself! 23

II A Saint's Heart 45

III Those Tricky Bourgeois Gentlemen 61

IV Natural Man Redeemed 79

V Romantic Escapes 94

VI Cascading Cynicism 118

VII Long Live "Sincerity" 168

VIII Hip Affected Earnestness 194

Hipster Semiotic Appendix 215

Epilogue 223

Acknowledgments 235

Notes 239

Bibliography 249

Index 259

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