The Portrayal of Mormonism Criticism: Mormonism And Nineteenth-Century Literature - Essay

Robert A. Rees (essay date 1966)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Melville's Alma and The Book of Mormon,” in Emerson Society Quarterly, Vol. 43, II Quarter, 1966, pp. 41-46.

[In the following essay, Rees investigates the question of whether or not nineteenth-century American novelist Herman Melville was influenced by The Book of Mormon.]

In letters to three different people, not long after Mardi had been published, Melville spoke of what he felt was its latent excellence. To his father-in-law Judge Lemuel Shaw, he wrote, “Time, which is the solver of all riddles, will solve ‘Mardi’.”1 In a letter to Richard Bentley, 5 June 1849, Melville assured him, “‘Mardi’ in its higher...

(The entire section is 3853 words.)

Richard H. Cracroft (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Gentle Blasphemer: Mark Twain, Holy Scripture, and the Book of Mormon,” in Brigham Young University Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2, Winter, 1971, pp. 119-40.

[In the following excerpt, Cracroft describes Mark Twain's literary treatment of the Book of Mormon as humorous and witty, resulting from Twain's ability to mix the lofty and solemn ideas of the sacred text with his own irreverent and flippant outspokenness.]

Chapter Sixteen of Mark Twain's Roughing It begins, “All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the ‘elect’ have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it.”1 Conversely, all Mormons have...

(The entire section is 4395 words.)

Rebecca Foster Cornwall and Leonard J. Arrington (essay date 1983)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Perpetuation of a Myth: Mormon Danites in Five Western Novels, 1840-90,” in Brigham Young University Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2, Spring, 1983, pp. 147-65.

[In the following essay, Cornwall and Arrington examine how five nineteenth-century novelists treated the theme of the Danites in their fiction.]

In Caldwell County, Missouri, during the spring and summer of 1838, there had been instances of vandalism, theft, and terrorism against Mormon settlements. Mormons, fearing a repeat of the occurrences in Jackson and Clay counties, from which they had been driven by force and political maneuver in 1833 and 1836, were determined not to lose their properties again....

(The entire section is 6689 words.)

Gordon K. Thomas (essay date 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Book of Mormon in the English Literary Context of 1837,” Brigham Young University Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1, Winter, 1987, pp. 37-45.

[In the following essay, Thomas suggests possible reasons why the English literary world did not enthusiastically embrace the Book of Mormon upon its introduction into England in the late 1830s.]

“Do you know anything of a wretched set of religionists in your country, superstitionists I ought rather to say, called Mormonites, or Latter-Day Saints?” So wrote the great English poet William Wordsworth to his American editor Henry Reed early in 1846. This is the only reference to Mormonism in...

(The entire section is 3915 words.)