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Synopsis

Romanticism, Sincerity and Authenticity offers new assessments of the concepts of 'sincerity' and 'authenticity' in Romantic-period literature.  Since at least the early twentieth century, both terms have been treated with scepticism, appearing to denote at best naIve aspiration, and at worst deception and reductive essentialism.  Sincerity and authenticity remain, however, pivotal concepts for scholars and students of Romantic literature who strive to understand the cultural resonance of the spectacular literary forgeries of Macpherson and Chatterton, or to negotiate literary media, such as diaries, letters and 'confessions'.  They are indispensable for understanding how, even as Wordsworth and Coleridge install the concept of 'real' speech at the heart of the manifesto of the Lyrical Ballads, antiquarians such as Percy struggle to preserve the dissolving remnants of ancient English literature.  This volume engages anew with sincerity and authenticity in the Romantic period, making the terms meaningful to our current critical endeavours.

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