Beginning with an account of a parody of Spectra (itself a hoax movement intended to expose the fraudulence of imagism), this chapter examines how actual frauds, hoaxes, and parodies—as attempts to unmask modernism’s fraudulent ambitions—performed something essential to a successful fraud: a mimicry of sincerity. Along with this mimicry, parodies and hoaxes interpreted what modernism’s features were, arguing as well that modernism was easy to replicate, and therefore insincere. As part of this analysis, the chapter questions whether truly new or avant-garde works are capable of being parodied when their features are not understood. The goal of these frauds, hoaxes, and parodies was not to articulate an affect of aesthetic pleasure, but to make the aesthetic experience of modernism one of recognition, credulity, common sense—a silent appeal to ideology, and a moment of unmasking.
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