Notebook, 1993-

'Sincerity and Authenticity'

Trilling, Lionel. Sincerity and Authenticity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press. 1972

P r e f a ce

These are the lectures I gave at Harvard University in the spring of 1970 as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry. When I chose as their subject the cognate ideals of sincerity and authenticity historically considered, I could not fail to be aware that no six lectures could conceivably encompass it. This encouraged me in the undertaking. By the time I gave the last of the lectures, my consciousness that they must inevitably be inadequate had by no means diminished, but it had ceased to be inspiriting through having become specific--I knew by how much they fell short and in what particular ways, and I was anything but heartened when I enumerated the important issues and figures they did not take into account. Now that I come to publish them, substantially although not exactly as they were given, I naturally return to the thought that the subject is so very large, virtually coextensive with the culture of four centuries, that even a merely partial investigation of it might be of some use in suggesting its extent and in remarking a few of the many ironies it generates. L.T. New York, March 1972.



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