Adjectivizing Mormon Authors

Tuesday on the NPR program The Takeaway, the question of the day was triggered by the addition of the word Ballardian to dictionaries, referring to the author J. G. Ballard, who died this past weekend. Since they asked “Which authors deserve adjectives?” I thought it might be interesting to ask the question, “Which Mormon Authors deserve adjectives?”

It seems to me that to justify an adjective, the author’s work needs some aspect that is unique or unusual. We know what it means when something is Kafkaesque or Orwellian. The author also needs to be well known enough that using the word has some currency.

There are a few Mormon authors that fit the bill, I think. Here are a few of the adjectives that I will consider using:

  • Andersonian: Relating a story in a straight-forward, plot-driven manner, while embedding a gospel message or discussion into the dialogue of the story, after the manner of Nephi Anderson. [The nice thing about this definition is that it occurs so often today in the stories in LDS Church publications.]
  • Maxwellian: Using repeated alliteration, assonance or consonance throughout a talk, discourse or other work in the manner of Elder Neal A. Maxwell.
  • Monsonian: Including repeated short, minimalist sentences that highlight the resolution of a story, as in the style of President Thomas S. Monson.

There are also a few that I’ve rejected simply because I can’t see any distinctive style that might give rise to using the author’s name as an adjective. For example, I don’t think we’ll be using Snovian (i.e., Eliza R. Snow), even though I love the sound of the word, because I can’t figure anything about her work that would allow me to define Snovian clearly. And try as I have, I don’t know Orson Scott Card‘s work well enough to define Cardian.

No doubt readers here will find holes or errors in the definitions above, and I look forward to the corrections you have. Even better, I look forward to the additional adjectives you come up with.

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10 thoughts on “Adjectivizing Mormon Authors”

  1. Stansfieldian/Nunesian–to be used interchangeably to describe formulaic LDS romance plots. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but rather, for those who like romance, you know you’ll get what you’re after when you pick up one of their books.

    Dashnerian–to describe a sudden meteoric rise in popularity.

  2. I tried to refer to a story as being Cardiac once, but it didn’t catch on.

    Nor did anyone laugh at my pun.

  3. .

    I would say a Cardian work is one defined by an intense moral dilemma.

    Snovian would have to be something that’s nice to sings but impossible to read and the overwhelming rhythm and rhyme take over any subtleties in the text.

    And Lundian could describe lengthy, multi-volume historical epics with a strong moral alignment.

  4. Allredian, a story so near in ficitional tropes and subject matter to other existing fiction that it inspires a sense of deja vu: “Haven’t I read that story Allredian?”


    — Lee Allred

  5. Michael, I’m not 100% certain how the rules for constructing adjectives work, but I’m pretty sure that it is actually “Nibliesque.”

    But, “Niblean” does sound more amusing.

    How would you define “Niblean” anyway?

  6. Karlene (1): “Dashnerian?”

    I assume you mean James Dashner? I hadn’t even heard of him before you mentioned him.

    FWIW, I can’t see including him simply because he isn’t well know enough (at least not yet).

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