Recent advocates of postcritique urge scholars not to read texts suspiciously but instead to regard texts as capable of saying what they mean and, accordingly, to take those meanings seriously. While a suspicious disposition underlies much of introductory composition pedagogy, especially the teaching of argument, postcritique has made little entry into discourses of undergraduate instruction. Attending to the New Sincerity movement in American literature, film, and music after 1980, this essay examines how teaching texts that emphasize their own sincerity (and the difficulty of achieving sincere expression) can encourage students to regard argument and interpretation not as suspicious practices but as means for a generous mode of description that does not sacrifice the complexity of a given text.

You do not currently have access to this content.