Category Archives: Mormon LitCrit

The Reluctant Blogger: a quick metareview and my own look at its many positive attributes

. Ryan Rapier’s The Reluctant Blogger was one of the more widely reviewed Mormon novels of 2013 and although one review notoriously complained that protagonist Todd Landry “spends a lot of time [too much] exploring his feelings” (for a man), … Continue reading

Posted in Mormon LitCrit | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Mormon Enough? I’m Relieved to Discover…

I believe the tendency to reduce and exclude, to narrow definitions to simple, direct memes has its uses. In criticizing literature by Mormons or for Mormon audiences, Mormon critics must necessarily categorize and differentiate which shelves should carry which stories. Readers deserve to know.

But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we dismiss as irrelevant those works by self-described Mormon authors that are not told in culturally Mormon forms and terms. Because it is precisely these subconsciously Mormon tales that can reveal deep Mormonism to those audiences most capable of understanding those themes. Not better than more overt tales, but just as deserving of our thoughtful criticism. It would be a shame to institutionally dismiss what could be some of our most deeply Mormon works because that Mormonness was not obvious enough. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, General, Mormon LitCrit, SF&F corner, The Populist's Soapbox | 4 Comments

Orson Scott Card: Mormon Literary Pioneer

Quick: What author has arguably done more than any other to explore multiple ways of being Mormon, across multiple genres and audiences? Answer: Orson Scott Card. Which you already knew, because you read the title of this column. It’s a … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Mormon LitCrit, SF&F corner | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

In Tents #37, Some Additional Views on Figures and Speech

I have had a few additional views in relation to this matter. (D&C 128:2) We have to drop everyone twice, but we try to drop them gently. If they survive they get to go home and we want as many … Continue reading

Posted in General, Literary Views of Scripture, Mormon LitCrit, Thoughts on Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

But Is It Mormon Enough?

Any time you form a group and attempt to facilitate discussions of interest to that group, one of the first questions is where to draw the lines to distinguish what we are/do from what other people are/do. What’s our communal identity? How do we differentiate? Beyond what we choose to embrace, what do we choose not to discuss?

Part I of an extended meander triggered by a misreading, supported by a misremembering, and reflecting an outsider’s view on a fundamental question of Mormon criticism that took the long way around to dovetail with the more traditional academic view. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Mormon LitCrit, Storytelling and Community | 5 Comments

In Tents # 36 Hyvää Joulua ja Onellista Uutta Vuotta

Way back last January, our stake Leaf-A-Ciety president spoke in our sacrament meeting, mentioning her mission in Finland. I went up and talked to her afterwards, “Onellista uutta vuotta.” She looked startled and blinked a couple of times, like she … Continue reading

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Thankful for five

. ‘Tis the time of year we engage in exercises of our gratitudinal capacity. I though I would share five books that have shaped my conceptions of Mormon literature for the better. I encourage you to share your own beloved … Continue reading

Posted in Literary Views of Scripture, Mormon LitCrit, Personal Narratives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The New Mormon Fiction*

For the past two years or so I have been reading Mormon novels as literary efforts to reconcile Mormonism’s utopian ideals of social betterment and radical world reform with its desire to be recognized and accepted as a mainstream participant … Continue reading

Posted in Mormon LitCrit | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Incidentally Mormon Literature

Some literature is Mormon to the bones. This includes — maybe is identical to — literature that is to some important extent about the experience of being Mormon. The story turns out the way it does partly because the main … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Mormon LitCrit, The Writer's Desk | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Way to Think about “Faithful Realism”

“Faithful Realism” is a term Richard Cracroft coined for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992) to describe the works of “Mormon writers [who] are both faithful Latter-day Saints and skilled writers.” Several years later, in his introduction to Tending the Garden: … Continue reading

Posted in Mormon LitCrit | Tagged , , | 13 Comments