“I Cried Twice”
“I Cried Twice”
Sincerity and Life in a Post-Communist World
This chapter examines the controversy surrounding Vladimir Sorokin's “sincere turn” in order to elucidate post-Communist thinking about artistic self-expression and commodification. Having gained fame as a nonconformist writer in the late Soviet era, Sorokin had acquired the status of a postmodernist Russian classic by the turn of the twenty-first century. At this point he astounded his public with a prose trilogy that revolved wholly around the need for human sincerity and for “speaking with the heart.” From an outright dismissal of socioethical commitment, Sorokin now moved to classic literary self-fashioning models to which openness and truth telling are imperative. The chapter proposes a nonessentialist approach— one that is inspired by recent theorizations of sincerity by Rosenbaum and like-minded scholars, who advocate a reading of the concept that accepts the tension between sincerity's moral charge and an artist's inevitable involvement in market mechanisms. It considers how sincerity rhetoric works in Sorokin's public self-fashioning and reception and describes thinking on post-Soviet creative life.
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