Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English

Specialization

American Literature

Department

English

First Advisor

Naomi Mandel

Abstract

The New Sincerity is a provocative mode of literary interpretation that focuses intensely on coherent connections that texts can build with readers who are primed to seek out narratives and literary works that rest on clear and stable relationships between dialectics of interior/exterior, self/others, and meaning/expression. Studies on The New Sincerity so far have focused on how it should be situated against dominant literary movements such as postmodernism. My dissertation aims for a more positive definition, unfolding the most essential details of The New Sincerity in three parts: by exploring the intellectual history of the term “sincerity” and related ideas (such as authenticity); by establishing the historical context that created the conditions that led to The New Sincerity’s genesis in the 1990s; and by tracing the different forms reading with The New Sincerity can take by analyzing a diverse body of literary texts. The works of literature I examine come from a very brief span in the final decade of the twentieth century, but there are innumerable avenues for future research and study that can expand the study of The New Sincerity.

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