Monday, May 17, 2010

Where is the Great Mormon Novel?

I tackle that question for Slate, in light of a new book by Brady Udall:
In 1888, a bishop and one-time newspaper editor spoke to a gathering of young Mormons about literature. “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own,” he told them. It was more prediction than prophecy, but Orson F. Whitney eventually became an apostle of the church, and his words, published in a short-lived Mormon monthly, survived; I first heard them in my teens, quoted by a Sunday school teacher. More than a century after his remarks, bookish Mormons still occasionally get to thinking about those latter-day Miltons and Shakespeares and ask, “Well, where are they?”
Read the rest. And check out Alan Wolfe’s take, also published today by Slate, on the Book of Mormon as a literary text. I wrote about the Book of Mormon myself several years ago, for the London Review of Books.

(Pictured above: Orson F. Whitney.)