Hypocrisy has been given a bad rap. What is hypocrisy, after all, but the acting out of a role, the attempt to be someone other than who we really are? Wayne Booth, the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English Language and Literature, claims that a defensible breed of hypocrisy--'hypocrisy upward'--drove Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath to express better versions of their flawed selves in their poetry. We practice contemptible hypocrisy, Booth says, when we deny that each of us similarly puts on masks and aspires to be a better version of who we are. Copyright 2001 The University of Chicago.