Criticism: Does the world really need more Mormon novels?

Finally getting back into the swing of things…

[Okay — not really the swing of things as this goes back to late December, but…]

My assertion that the “world needs more Mormon novels” made in the post on MoNoWriMo generated two interesting responses.

Mark Hansen posts over at Mo’ Boy Blog that his initial response was skeptical, but then reformulates it and in so doing evokes this interesting image that involves a river and a pool and stuff and, naturally, moves it into the realm of Mormon music. You really need to take a look for yourself if you haven’t already. Incidentally, Mark has been doing some great reviews. See, for instance, his review of Return to Nauvoo by the band Fiddlesticks and his reviews of the Mormon films Sons of Provo and Baptists at our Barbeque.

Meanwhile, CW Bass asks “Does the World Need More Mormon Novels? Or, ‘What Kind of Criticism?'” over at Way Off Bass.

Short answer: sure, but the right kind.

Long answer:

“We do need more Mormon novels, but we need a more honest, and more accurate, less overtly polemical or apologetic variety. Simply succeeding in rejecting the notion that that which criticises negatively is ‘literature’ while that which is sympathetic to the gospel is not would, in addition to making discussion about Mormon literature more honest, also begin to open up doors to the outside” (Way Off Bass).

In his post, Bass also quotes liberally from Richard Cracroft’s important essay Attuning the Authentic Mormon Voice: Stemming the Sophic Tide in LDS Literature. The essay is a worthy read by itself, but is is also part of the only Mormon literaturstreit that I’m aware of and thus deserves to be placed in that context. Stay tuned.

5 thoughts on “Criticism: Does the world really need more Mormon novels?”

  1. Nice to see you back at home, WM. Almost thou persuadest me to read my first Mormon novel . . . 

    Posted by Dave

  2. That was a liberal quote, wasn’t it? Most of my readers are not Mormon, so I have this assumption that if I post a Mormon-related link they won’t click it; hence, I make sure they get a good, fat quote and hope they find it interesting enough to click the ol’ link anyway.

    Posted by Cameron

  3. Cameron:

    It sure was. But I don’t think you need to limit your assumption to non-Mormon readers. I would guess that very few Mormon readers would have clicked through and read the essay. I’m all for liberal quoting. It makes posting easier 😉


    Thanks. And no problem.  

    Posted by William Morris

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