Dime Novel Mormons

$22.95

edited and introduced by Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall
Preview the volume here.

Available March 21, 2017. Pre-order your copy today.


 
Also available in ebook for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple.
Part of The Mormon Image in Literature series

Book Description:

Dime novels probably did more than any other kind of book to turn lower- and middle-class Americans into both book owners and book readers. They were so cheap that almost anyone could afford them, and so exciting that almost everybody wanted to read them. It’s hard to tell just how many of these dime novels featured Mormons, but the way Mormons were portrayed in dime novels was remarkably consistent over many decades and multiple genres. This consistency tells us that dime novelists were playing with common stereotypes that nearly all their readers recognized—indeed, these stereotypes worked their way into much of the more respectable literature of the day and influenced the way American culture has interacted with Mormonism ever since. These tropes were based on three things, perhaps the only three things that most Americans knew about the Mormons in the final decades of the nineteenth century: Danites, polygamy, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Whatever variation occurs in the dime novels comes from mixing these three ingredients into new concoctions.

For this volume, four full-length dime novels have been chosen to represent different aspects of the Mormon image in dime novels: Eagle Plume, the White Avenger. A Tale of the Mormon Trail (1870); The Doomed Dozen; or, Dolores, the Danite’s Daughter (1881); Frank Merriwell Among the Mormons; or, The Lost Tribes of Israel (1897); and The Bradys Among the Mormons; or, Secret Work in Salt Lake City (1903). The often-lurid and scandalous portrayals of Mormons in these dime novels had consequences for the relationship between Mormons and the rest of the United States. They would represent reality for millions of people, and the basic portrayals found their way into more serious literature. Understanding how these stereotypes were created and first employed can help us understand many things about the way that Mormonism has always functioned in American culture.


Read a Q&A with the editors here.


Praise for Dime Novel Mormons:

“Reading these dime novels gives me perspective on why various people have such strange ideas about Mormons. . . if you can suspend a feeling of deep outrage at the gross factual distortions contained in these books, you will likely have a great time reading the tales.”—Meg Stout, The Millennial Star

Kofford has done a remarkable job in reproduction here from the original art to historic typefaces. The editors provide helpful introductions to the now forgotten age of this piece-work for hire. They are just fun to read.”—Bill Smith, By Common Consent

Because of Mormon inspired fiction, like that found in these four dime novels, we have a better understanding of the struggles and strains in the collision of the two worlds of Mormons and Gentiles. We have Michael Austin, Ardis E. Parshall, and Greg Kofford Books to thank for this great gift to our Mormon heritage. A great treasure is preserved for us to read and ponder.”—Gerald Smith, The Millennial Star

“There are a lot of folks that would be interested in reading these novels just for fun. They’re chock-full of colorful dialogue and over-the-top stories about the dastardly acts and aims of the Mormons.That’s just fun. Scholars could [also] pursue a number of projects using the texts.”—Joseph Stuart, Juvenile Instructor

 


About the 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 Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Evansville.

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.


More Information:

254 pages
ISBN 978-1-58958-517-1 (paperback)

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