New from The Mormon Image in Literature Series: Boadicea — now available! July 14 2016

NOW AVAILABLE from The Mormon Image in Literature series:

Boadicia; The Mormon Wife: Life-Scenes in Utah
by Alfreda Eva Bell
Edited and annottated by Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall

About the series:

The Mormon Image in Literature reprints important literary works by and about Mormons—from the sensational anti-polygamy books and dime novels of the Civil War era to the first attempts of Mormon writers to craft a regional literature in their Great Basin kingdom. Each volume contains a critical introduction, helpful annotations, and multiple appendices that enlighten and enliven the text. These volumes have been designed for both Mormon and non-Mormon readers who want to understand the cultural importance of Mormonism during the first Latter-day Saint century.

From series co-editer, Michael Austin:

Much of this work will be just as interesting to historians as to scholars of literature. In fact, some of the work with the least literary merit has the greatest historical interest. Boadicea: The Mormon Wife, which will be the second volume in the series, will probably never be accused of literary greatness. But it has been written about by some of the top figures in Mormon History: Leonard Arrington, Terryl Givens, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Paul W. Reeve.

The literature of the 19th century had very little subtlety when it came to portraying Mormons. The overwhelming majority of volumes featured Mormon elders living in harems and forming Danite bands to hunt down and kill dissenters. And this was not just in the tawdry literature. Both Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote novels that portrayed Mormons in these ways.

Read the complete Q&A here.

Boadicea; the Mormon Wife: Life-Scenes in Utah
Part of The Mormon Image in Literature series
by Alfreda Eva Bell
Edited by Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall

151 Pages
ISBN 978-1-58958-566-9
$15.95 (paperback)
Also available in ebook 

First published in 1855, Boadicea; the Mormon Wife belongs to a sub-genre of crime fiction that flourished in the Eastern United States during the 1850s. Boadicea has become increasingly important to scholars of Mormonism because it gives us a glimpse of the Mormon image in literature immediately after the Church’s public acknowledgement of plural marriage. Over the next half century, this image would be sharpened and refined by writers with different rhetorical goals: to end polygamy, to attack Mormon theology, or just to tell a highly entertaining adventure story. In Boadicea, though, we see these tropes in their infancy, through a prolific author working at break-neck speed to imagine the lives of a strange people for readers willing to pay the “extremely low price of 15 cents” for the privilege of being amazed by stories of polygyny and polyandry, along with generous helpings of adultery, seduction, kidnapping, and no fewer than fourteen untimely but spectacular deaths: people are shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, poisoned, hanged, strangled, and drowned. No other novel of the nineteenth century comes anywhere near Boadicea in portraying Mormon society as violent, chaotic, and dysfunctional.

Preview Boadicea


About the series editors:

Michael Austin is the author or editor of seven books and more than 50 articles, book chapters, and reviews, including Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World’s Greatest Poem. He is currently the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.

Ardis E. Parshall is a historian, freelance researcher specializing in Mormon history, and author. She co-edited with Paul Reeve Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia and is currently writing She Shall Be an Ensign, a history of the LDS Church told through the lives of Mormon women. She blogs at Keepapitchinin.