The Mormoness; Or, The Trials Of Mary Maverick: A Narrative Of Real Events


by John Russell

Edited and Annotated by Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall
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Part of The Mormon Image in Literature series

Book Description:

Published in 1853, the first American novel about the Mormons is also one of the best. John Russell, an Illinois journalist and educator, witnessed the persecution in Missouri and Illinois and generally sympathized with the Saints. The Mormoness tells the story of Mary Maverick, the heroine of the novel, who joined the Mormon Church when her husband was converted in Illinois. Though not initially a believer, Mary embraces her identity as “the Mormoness” when her husband and son are killed in a Haun’s Mill-like massacre–and at the end of the novel, she must find a way to forgive the killer.

Virtually unavailable until now, Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall's fresh transcription, introduction, notes, and appendices enable readers to rediscover a compassionate and insightful outsider's view of early Mormonism.

Read a Q&A with Michael Austin, co-editor.

Listen to a Kofford Authorcast interview with Michael Austin.

 Praise for The Mormoness:

“Written by a minister/educator/journalist of some note named Professor John Russell, it’s 1853 publication, in serial form, is significant because it’s virtually the only work of Mormon fiction derived from non-church sources that is sympathetic to Mormonism.” — Doug Gibson, The Standard Examiner

“The work that Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall have done in preparing useful critical material allows for any reader to approach and appreciate this text. . . . Highly recommended for those interested in the cultural history of America, the West, and Mormonism.”  Jenny Webb, Association for Mormon Letters

For those interested in how contemporary authors viewed the church of Joe Smith, The Mormoness is worth a look.” — Steve Evans, By Common Consent

“Illustrate[s] . . . the wide variety with which Mormonism itself was received within the early American cultural context. . . . there is a certain Mormon textuality that emerges from these pages: experimental, provocative, heartfelt, and profoundly human.”—Jenny Webb, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 49 No 4

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 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.

More Information:

114 pages
ISBN 978-1-58958-507-2 (paperback)

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